• United States
by Juan Carlos Perez

Fast’s enterprise search system gets updated

Feb 06, 20063 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

Fast Search & Transfer Monday plans to unveil an upgraded version of its ESP enterprise search system which the Oslo company says features an improved ability to interpret queries and return results.

Fast Search & Transfer unveiled on Monday an upgraded version of its ESP enterprise search system which the Oslo company says features an improved ability to interpret queries and return results.

When dealing with queries, ESP 5 is faster and more precise than the platform’s current version, thanks to a new technology the company calls Contextual Insight designed to improve the relevancy of search results.

With Contextual Insight, ESP 5 can analyze documents in a more granular fashion than the system could before, and extracts a broad variety of metadata information, such as names, phone numbers and geographic locations.

It also detects contextual information that indicates things such as physical locations and query patterns, which it then factors into the query’s resolution, so that it can provide users with the answers they are looking for.

Sharpening the query resolution precision in an enterprise search tool is of utmost importance, said Andrew McKay, vice president of product marketing.

“Imagine litigation protection environments. Litigation protection isn’t about relevant results. It’s about going through hundreds of millions and sometimes billions of documents and finding three e-mails that save you in a court case,” he said.

Fast does well to focus on the product’s precision, an analyst said. This emphasis on precision is a fundamental difference between enterprise search tools and general purpose search engines aimed at consumers, which traditionally have focused on the volume of results, said Matt Brown, a Forrester Research analyst.

“What we’re hearing from enterprise users is that they want both: comprehensive search results, as well as tools that will let them quickly drill into answers,” Brown said.

“People within enterprises working with search-driven applications are looking for facts. They’re not looking for where to buy the latest iPod based on price comparisons,” he added.

Designed for large organizations that have a lot of data stored in a wide variety of disparate repositories, ESP 5 gives users what the company calls “an integrated point of access” to structured, unstructured and multimedia data in its corporate servers.

ESP can scale to search petabytes of data and billions of documents. It is designed to run on low-cost hardware and has load-balancing and fault-tolerance capabilities to maintain consistent levels of availability.

ESP 5 is certified on a variety of operating systems, including Microsoft’s Windows 2000 (SP3) and Windows 2003, Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux 3.0 and 4.0, Novell’s Suse Linux 9, Sun’s Solaris 9 and 10, HP’s HP-UX 11i on PA-RISC and Itanium and IBM’s AIX 5.2 and 5.3.

ESP 5 will be available as of Monday. Price varies depending on the scope and nature of the installation, but an ESP deployment typically starts at about $150,000, according to the company.