Google Overhauls Enterprise Search Box

The company boosts its search appliance's index capacity and query performance for its enterprise business, which still dwarfs its Web search business.

Google Inc. has overhauled its enterprise search appliance by doubling its size and increasing its capacity and query performance.

The Mountain View, Calif., search company on Wednesday released its first major update of the Google Search Appliance since launching it two years ago. The appliance is targeted to enterprises, universities and organizations wanting to use Googles search technology both for their intranets as well as their public-facing Web sites, said Dave Girouard, general manager of Googles enterprise business.

The newest appliance, now in a 2u form factor, can crawl and index as many as 1.5 million documents from one box, five times more than in the previous version, Girouard said. Google also sped up query processing, supporting 300 queries per minute, compared with 60 in the earlier version.

As far as the crawling itself, the updated appliance continuously spiders documents rather than conduct crawls in daily or weekly batches, Girouard said.

"The result is fresher content and documents that are more up to date in the system," he said.

The constant crawling also helps IT departments by preventing bandwidth usage spikes that could be caused during batch crawls, Girouard said.

Despite Googles lead in the Web search market, it has not gained as much traction in the enterprise search market. The Google Search Appliance remains a small part of Googles overall business. In 2003, revenue from licensing and other non-advertising sources accounted for $45.3 million of Googles $961.9 million in revenue, or about 5 percent, according to the companys S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead more here about Googles recent filing for an initial public offering.

For enterprise search, Google competes with a wide range of companies including FAST Search & Transfer ASA, Verity Inc. and IBM. Its search appliance targets documents exposed via HTTP, commonly through a Web server.

Googles selling point for its enterprise appliance has been the way it mimics Googles overall Web search. Search results, by default, appear in a similar style as those on its popular search site. The appliance also includes the same software and hardware configuration as Google uses in its own data centers, Girouard said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about Googles plans for its enterprise business.

With the newest appliance, Google has added support for single sign-on security and allows enterprises to create an unlimited number of "collections," or discrete search engines, for different departments or set of users.

The Google Search Appliance is available in three models. Pricing for the stand-alone GB-1001 model ranges between $32,000 for a 150,000-document index and $175,000 for a 1.5 million-document index.

The appliance is also available as a five-way cluster, the GB-5005, and as a 12-way cluster, the GB-8008.

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