Google isn't waiting for Microsoft to scramble to improve its Fast enterprise search software.
Google has retooled the architecture of its GSA (Google Search Appliance), making hardware and software changes that enable the enterprise search appliance to index as many as 10 million documents in one box.
This is crucial at a time when businesses are increasingly turning to enterprise search as a means to retrieve their Web-based documents, another example of how corporations are using the Internet to improve their business processes.
Previously, a single GSA could index only two million documents and the company would sell them in five-nose clusters to serve 10 million documents.
This isn't chump change, but Google's plan is to make GSA the most powerful, all-encompassing enterprise search server in the world and the first choice over Microsoft and products from Vivisimo, Endeca and Autonomy.
Most enterprise search implementations require many front-end Web servers, index servers and database servers to effectively run. But, as Matt Glotzbach, product management director of enterprise for Google, told me, corporate content continues to grow at an exponential rate.
The content glut challenges hardware and software costs because increased content loads call for more servers and software, along with the additional personnel to manage and configure them.
This pinch makes it challenging for businesses to maintain their investment. Google itself has felt this pressure to keep customers happy, which is why the more expansive GSA should assuage these growth pains.
By indexing more files on an appliance, Google is risking selling fewer boxes at $30,000 a pop. The company has a couple things going for it to support this strategy.
One, given the content explosion (thank you, video), there is an opportunity to take GSA upstream into larger enterprises that want to index billions of files, which would require them to deploy more servers from Google.
Two, Google's search advertising business makes billions of dollars a year. Google's Enterprise group can afford the risk until a bear market or a rival proves otherwise.
Indeed, the new GSA now follows Google's Universal Search template for the company's consumer search service. This means GSA lets workers search text, video and blog posts in Web servers, portals, file shares, databases.