FAST Launches Enterprise Search Platform

In it first major release since selling its Web search business, FAST builds five function-specific search applications that can sit on top of its core search engine platform.

FAST Search & Transfer ASA on Tuesday launched a platform approach toward enterprise search.

The Oslo, Norway-based company announced the FAST Enterprise Search Platform, or ESP, which is aimed at providing a search engine that cuts across an entire enterprise and can search both structured information from databases and unstructured information from e-mails, documents and the Web, the company said.

FAST ESP is the underlying search technology on which enterprises can build search applications and deploy one or a series of five function-specific search applications that FAST also unveiled. These applications are FAST Data Search for Site Search, FAST Data Search for eCommerce, FAST Data Search for Intranets, FAST Data Search for Compliance and Fast Data Search 360, the full package of applications.

John Rueter, FASTs vice president of global marketing, said that the platform approach is FASTs response to the growing importance of search within an enterprise and the need to use a common search technology across departments and functions.

"We see search as sitting at the core of the IT architecture," Rueter said. "What weve seen and discovered is that there are very specific business problems that can be solved with search."

New features incorporated into FAST ESP include the ability for enterprises to tune more relevancy parameters, tighter database integration, a revamped user interface focused on non-technical users, expanded reporting and monitoring capabilities and support for 77, instead of 52, languages, said Andrew McKay, FASTs vice president of technical sales.

FAST ESP also can integrate with enterprise applications such as CRM, ERP and business intelligence systems.

Pricing for FAST ESP starts at $120,000 and varies depending on the number of functional search applications added. The platform supports Windows 2003 and 2000, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1, Sun Solaris 8, AIX 5.1/5.2 and HP-UX 11.

FASTs last major release in March was FAST Data Search 3.2, which it offered in three versions for both departmental and full enterprise use.

The ESP release is FASTs biggest product launch since it divested itself of its Web search assets. Overture Services, now a subsidiary of Yahoo Inc., completed its purchase of FASTs Internet search properties, including and FAST Web Search, in April 2003.