Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Microsoft Announces Search Server Express

Today Microsoft announced that it will be releasing a free search tool for enterprises based on SharePoint and SQL Server. Search Server Express for organizations can be installed on a standalone server and leverages Microsoft's SharePoint search engine.

The engine looks just like WSS and SharePoint Search. The administration console has many of the same options as the current MOSS Shared Service Provider search settings. These include content sources, best bets, and scopes. Alerts and RSS feeds are available on the results.

Some of the neat aspects of the new solution:

  • It supports the OpenSearch standard. This will help integrate Microsoft's search crawl and integrate with a wide variety of applications from other vendors.
  • Federated Security: Authentication against content sources can be done via NTLM, Basic authentication, Forms Based Authentication, Kerberos, and "cookies". Access control lists are applied to the indexes and security trimming is provided on queries.
  • Continuous Propagation Indexing: No need to wait for the whole corpus to be crawled before searching can be performed; the index will now be incrementally updated and searches can be performed on that increment immediately.

The express version can only be installed on one server. Naturally there is an upgrade path to more expensive solutions for those organizations that require scalability.

In 2008 Microsoft will also release some free connectors for Documentum and FileNet.

Microsoft has adopted a similar approach in the past with the releases of Visual Studio 2005 Express and SQL Server Express. In this case Search Server Express will provide a useful, free solution to give customers a taste of some core platform functionality and get developers using it.

The Enterprise Search website is located at http://www.microsoft.com/enterprisesearch/. You can download the release candidate here.

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