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8 posts from January 2009

January 23, 2009

Lervik resigns from Microsoft

We've learned today that John Marcus Lervik, the founder of FAST Search and Transfer and the architect behind their acquisition by Microsoft last year, has resigned from Microsoft. His duties will be assumed by Bjørn Olstad.

Mr. Lervik has certainly been under pressure over the last months regarding alleged accounting anomalies in FAST's accounting practices in 2006 and 2007 when he ran the public company.  That's certainly been a distraction for him and for his colleagues. Others are speculating that his departure is due to sales or technology issues at Microsoft, which just announced yesterday layoffs of 5000 employees. And there are questions about the integration of FAST ESP into SharePoint, or the competition from the Google Search Appliance.

On the other hand, it's been a year since the Microsoft acquisition - perhaps a coincidence, but the same period key executives need to wait before leaving an acquired company without losing massive bonus payouts. It is possible Markus just wants to go off and start over with a new company, and we'll not know the answer until we see what he chooses to do next.

Lervik did lead FAST through a number of major deals over his tenure, and was responsible for much of what FAST has done right over that period. Let's see what happens next!

January 22, 2009

Autonomy proposes to acquire Interwoven

This morning Autonomy announced that they will acquire California-based interwoven for $16.20 a share, a nice premium over last night's close at $11.84. The deal, expected to close Q2-2009, is subject to the vote of shareholders of both companies. This comes after Interwoven announced that they expected to their most recent quarter pretty much met their previous guidance.

It sounds like a great move. Autonomy continues its evolution from a search leader into compliance leader. Interwoven has been on a buying spree itself over the last several years, and offers solutions in many different areas including Digital Asset Management, eDiscovery/Legal, records management and even enterprise search.

Since FAST's acquisition by Microsoft a year ago, we've wondered if Autonomy would be an interesting target for acquisition by someone like Oracle or even by Google; but it looks like Mike Lynch would rather grow the old-fashioned way - by top line growth and by acquiring companies whose products support and extend their business.

January 20, 2009

Forrester Analyst Leslie Owens on migrating search platforms

We've just learned that Forrester Analyst Leslie Owens will be speaking during a web presentation on Wednesday, January 21 sponsored by Exalead. her talk, "Search Platform Migration: Mitigating Risk with Innovation”, will cover the challenges companies experience in migrating to a new search platform, as well as tips on evaluating your current technology and picking a new vendor. Spencer Shearer, Senior Director of Technical Services at Exalead, will also be speaking.

You can still register for the event.

Exalead CEO Paul Doscher, who writes a blog at http://blog.exalead.com/, has certainly increased his company's visibility in the US market in the last 6 months, and they seem to be gaining strength in both the OEM and direct sales channels.

We think Leslie has an excellent understanding of enterprise search in large companies, having accepted her position at Forrester after being actively involved in search management at a  Global 500 company in the Midwest. We're certainly going to make sure we register for her talk to hear what she has to say.

January 13, 2009

Updated List of Free, Open Source and Low Cost Search Engines

Over at our partner site:

January 12, 2009

Virtualization and Search: Performance Tests Summary

We've been researching Virtualization and Search, and have recently presented on the topic at a couple shows.  We wanted to compare the performance penalty running a spider on virtual machine instead of a physical machine.  This is a summary of our findings. 

What we expected to find in terms of a performance penalty:

  • Estimated 3 to 20% penalty
  • Leaning towards 20% given the heavy disk IO

Actual results:

  • We found an approximate 10% average penalty.
  • There was a pretty wide margin, various tests measured between 0% to 17%, but always under the 20% we had estimated.  (actually less than zero percent in some cases, but we labeled those as outliers)
  • Overall the performance was better than expected, and certainly reasonable for many applications.

The test and environment:

  • HP mid tier workstation, dual core, AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
  • 8 Gigs memory, local SATA disk (non RAID)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 64-bit for both host and client, using MS Hyper-V.
  • Sun's 64-bit JVM v6 set to 1 Gig max (which it did not fully respect)
  • Nutch 0.9 stock distribution
  • Dataset was the Enron public emails, approx half million emails in 1.5 Gigs of source data, served by IIS on separate local machine
  • Email files were mapped to text filter
  • Data was fetched and indexed into Lucene by Nutch
  • Clock time ranged from 31 to 35 minutes for all tests, with the physical tests (non-virtual) giving the widest measured deviation

Drop us an email if you'd like the full PDF when published.

Enterprise Search group on LinkedIn

There is a relatively active Enterprise Search Engine professional group over on LinkedIn - you might consider joining the group if you're there. The discussions have been about Open Source technology, visual search, Microsoft and FAST, federated search and more.

It's interesting that so many 'enterprise search' groups have grown so much in the last year or two including searchdev.org - I guess it reflects both the fact that it's finally being recognized as a mission-critical capability and that there is so few places to go for information. Hopefully we'll see even more discussion and user participation in the coming year!

January 07, 2009

FASTForward09 Conference February 2009

The FAST Search and Transfer subsidiary of Microsoft will hold it's annual users group meeting, FASTForward09, in Las Vegas starting February 9th 2009. The last day to register at a $400 discount is Friday, January 9, 2008.

We've told any number of customers, prospects, and friends that FASTForward is a great show to attend even if you're not a FAST customer or prospect. Unlike so many shows, FASTForward is typically half sales pitch, half industry trade show - and as trade show, it may be the best show to attend to find out what is really going on in enterprise search. Past shows have featured such luminaries as David Weinberger (Everything is Miscellaneous), Chris Anderson (The Long Tail) and Andew McAfee (HBS and The Real Virtual Factory); this year's speakers include former Forrester analyst Charlene Li (Groundswell...), Clay Shirky (Here Comes Everybody) and other visionaries and thought leaders.

Of course, we'll be speaking there as well, and we'll have more to say about the show as the time draws near.

January 05, 2009

Enterprise Search Summit Conference program for May 2009

Information Today has posted the conference agenda for the Enterprise Search Summit 2009 in New York this May. The pre-conference workshops are Monday, May 11th, and the conference runs Tuesday and Wednesday May 12th and 13th.

ESS-East is the premier show for corporate and customer-facing search, and if you want to learn how to get the most out of your enterprise search software, or if you're looking for your first enterprise search application, this is the show to attend.

Tracks this year include "Maximizing Investment", "Applied Search", and "Socializing Search", all hot topics in the search space.

New Idea Engineering will be speaking and exhibiting at the show. Let us know if you're coming!