Google Search Appliance, ISYS:web 8 deliver inclusive search results without grief
Updated versions of popular tools prove enterprise search can be quick, secure, and economic
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The Google Search Appliance provides a solid range of security and access control, omitting documents from search results if users aren’t entitled to see them. The system indexes both public and restricted information — and enforces document-level security policies at search time. Google also serves secure results with x509 client certificates, a common requirement in government agencies.
Search results were consistently top-quality. At the basic level, I searched information protected by basic HTTP authentication, and I integrated the appliance with Lotus Notes to crawl a Lotus Domino server. Best pages were shown first, with similar results grouped into one cluster. New conveniences include number and date ranges that users can specify to narrow down results.
I also examined several third-party OneBox for Enterprise solutions, which are quickly loaded through the appliance’s admin interface. The OneBox technology creates a trigger that determines whether the search is relevant to a OneBox module, such as finding customer information within your Salesforce.com account. Google then passes appropriate security credentials to the provider, gets the results in XML, transforms the data into HTML based on an XSL template, and presents the results to the user in line with their other search results.
This type of mashup is one of the more important developments in enterprise search. Users get relevant information from document management systems, Oracle purchase requisitions, SAS reports, and others within the featured area of the search results — all without any special steps.
It may not have the consumer name-recognition of Google, but ISYS nonetheless has a strong following in midsize enterprises and governments. That’s because this solution is very easy to implement and use; it runs on common Windows hardware and doesn’t have any per-document charges or lease terms.
Along with adding many new features — including automatic entity extraction, SharePoint support, Search and Site Designers, and Best Bets — ISYS improved some of the top items from 2005’s Version 7. These include a menu-assisted system for constructing complex Boolean queries and Quick View, which extracts and displays relevant portions of large documents to eliminate some downloading and opening of, say, large Acrobat or Word files.