Microsoft Enterprise Search


This weeks FASTForward ’09 conference has brought more news on Microsoft’s Enterprise search plans.

Microsoft have announced that they will integrate the recently acquired technology into Sharepoint 14 (the next release due late 2009/early 2010) to beef up it’s search capabilities.

Fast adds more sophisticated user-interface elements, like thumbnail and preview views; cluster support and more compute-intensive tasks like entity abstraction and the creation of relationships between concepts, explained Jared Spataro, Director Enterprise Search (via Mary Jo Foley).

The new entity will be known as “Fast Search for Sharepoint” and MS have said that customers will existing Sharepoint CALs will be able to use those to access the new Fast Search servers once available, though they’ll of course have to buy the new server licences.

It also seems that current Sharepoint Enterprise customers will be able to purchase “ESP for Sharepoint” licences to gain access to high-end search features before the arrival of Sharepoint 14.

Kirk Koenigsbauer, general manager for Microsoft’s Office business platform group said Sharepoint & FAST together will give customers “50 per cent or greater cost savings over what they pay today…We are going to make the business productivity solution really more cost effective”.

We will also see the release of “Fast Seach for Internet Business”, which is a version specially tuned for web sites. This is slated to beta 2nd half of 2009…

Simplexo Enterprise Search


I had a meeting this week with Simplexo, a new Enterprise Search company and I was very impressed by what I heard.

Although, as a start up, they are classed as an “immature” company the guys they’ve got working there from the CEO down have been involved with companies including Ingram Micro and EMC so have a great track record with tech businesses.

Search is becoming a bigger and bigger issue among businesses, no matter their size and Simplexo appears to bring a real solution to the table. Not only does it have a huge range of features it is also very easy to use from an Information Worker’s perspective.

It eliminates the need for multiple searches as it can work across all types of structured (databases (Oracle, SQl etc), payroll and HR systems, SAP etc) and unstructured data (emails, Word documents, images, spreadsheets etc) with a single click.

simplexo-features

It delivers live, up-to-date results so you always get the most current & relevant information and all data is de-duplicated on the fly. It has been designed to MOD security levels and all search results are tied to users permission levels, helping keep data safe.

Another great feature is it’s image search capability; it doesn’t rely just on the metadata but can actually directly compare the pictures to return similar content! It is planned they they will extend this to streamed video in the future…

A perhaps surprising feature of Simplexo is that it is Open Source, so all it’s features are available to users free of charge; customers need only pay if they require dedicated support rather than the online forum. While I won’t mention specific pricing here I will say that it is very attractive and competitive, particularly against it’s main rival Autonomy. The pricing structure is on a per-server basis so number of users is not taken in to account at all, this helps keep costs down in almost all cases. *UPDATE* Having met with Simplexo a 2nd time, there has been a complete U-turn on the pricing structure…now it IS licensed per user. This makes it a much more expensive proposition around £75 per user, coming down to £50 for over 2000 users.

Although there are a number of big names in the Enterprise Search arena including Google, Microsoft and Autonomy none of them have anything approaching a hold on the market and I think there is a great opportunity for Simplexo to establish themselves here.

Simplexo will easily integrate into your existing environment and can be used from with numerous desktops applications including “MS Office, MS Outlook, Outreach, AutoCAD, Open Office. Star Office, Lotus” and more.

To download the software and check it out, go to the download page here.

To download the Simplexo Technology Audit from the Butler Group-click here. (Will launch PDF download).

Microsoft Office Sharepoint 2007 Licensing


As a follow on to my MOSS 2007 post, here’s some information on the various versions and how they are licensed…hope it helps!

The main and most common edition is:

Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007: This is licenced with a single server version and then 2 editions of Client Access Licences (CAL)-Standard and Enterprise. It is the CALs that determine which features are avilable to the users and they are “additive” meaning you must have both the Standard AND Enterprise CALs to receive the Enterprise features, which include:

  • Line of Business Data Search
  • Business process and forms capabilities (such as Web-based Microsoft Office InfoPath forms)
  • Business intelligence capabilities (including report center sites, the ability to build interactive dashboards, and Excel Services)

 Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Internet sites: This version is licensed per server only and is used for running extranets and internet sites. This means it cannot be accessed by internal employees “creating, sharing, or collaborating on content which is for internal use only”. As there are no CALs required, this edition includes the functionality of both the Standard AND Enterprise editions.

Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007: This licensed via the Server/CAL model so each client accessing the server needs a CAL.

Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 for Internet sites: As with MOSS 2007, this is per server licensing only, cannot be used for internal only projects and includes full Enterprise functionality.

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