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August 06, 2012

Exceptions to the 'the search platform you already have' post

Last week I wrote a post suggesting that the least expensive search platform you can purchase is the one you already have - by fixing it up. Since then, I've heard from people as near as Cupertino and as far away as Hungary pointing out a flaw that I will share with you now: What if the search platform you are using no longer has support from the vendor? Maybe FAST ESP, or Verity K2, or Ultraseek, or so many others. Or what if the platform you have now was the wrong one for your search application? What do you do then?

As the bartender says in Jimmy Stewart's movie Harvey, "It depends".

Just because your platform is no longer supported by your vendor doesn't automatically make it a misfit. We have customers who purchased FAST ESP under perpetual license and they are still humming along quite well, thank you. Heck, I even know of a few companies using Verity's K2 - again under perpetual license - and they are doing fine. Are these options ideal? No. For example, they cannot index the latest PDF format which causes some problems. Are there workarounds? Of course - but they really should upgrade when they can.

If the platform just isn't right, then maybe it's time to start looking around. How can you tell? Well, one way is physical limits: your license is good for 5 million docs, and you now have 6 million. Upgrade the count, or switch. What if the nature of your content has changed or you changed content management systems? Maybe time to look around.

In any case, I stand by my assertion that, above a certain level of functionality, just about any search engine can be made to run pretty darn well - although I'm willing to add the caveat "in most situations". There - I've said it. Disagree? Send me an email or leave a comment!





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