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Network Search

October 6th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve been thinking quite a lot about search at work recently. Search rules the on-line world. You only need to look at the size of Google and also the $100 million marketing campaign Microsoft just launched for Bing to see that. And I think that one of the reasons the Internet has been such a massive success, is the ability to type a few words into a search engine, and have a wealth of knowledge and information in front of you. Can you imagine trying to find the information you needed if you had to type in the correct web address every time? Impossible. I use Google to find everything on the Internet, even websites I know the address of, and I know I’m not the only one.

Another example is that of web mail. One of the reasons GMail is so popular (and one of my favourite things about it), is its fantastic search capabilities (if you’ve ever used Outlook without Instant Search enabled you’ll know why this is so important).

Despite the success of on-line search, desktop search has been very slow to catch up. It’s still not common even now. (I know there are a lot of solutions around now but this isn’t the focus of this post). Which brings me around to network search. Or lack thereof. Both companies I have been a network admin for have no network search solution whatsoever. None.

When you really stop and think about that, it’s incredible. How on earth does anyone ever find anything? With great difficulty I’m guessing. The problem is that it’s rather costly to get a search server. Google sell one, and I bet it’s amazing, but it costs a bomb too. Microsoft sell their own Search Server software, which is also included in Sharepoint Server.

Microsoft also do a Search Server Express. Now this is free, which is always good, all you need is a Windows server with enough free resources to run it. It works as a Intranet site and actually looks pretty nice. I haven’t been able to install it and try it out yet but I’m definately going to. When I have, I’ll be sure to post about it here.

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