The RPC protocol is always used, whether the operations are local or remote. Efficiency isn't my main concern, although I'm sure there is room for improvement in that regard.
An early version of the resource pool architecture had search peers as auto-discovered resource pools, but due to the complexity of dblookups, specifically securely replicating cache from search heads to indexers, we don't have dblookups running on indexers yet.
All lookups, whether scripted or external, only run on indexers when the search is non-transforming (i.e. does not use table, stats, etc), so for transforming searches, you always have to run the lookup on the search head and they will never run on the peer.
As an alternative, you can always dbinput data and make it in to a conventional CSV lookup, which will then be replicated to search peers via normal replication.
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