This is the first post from a planned series on the FAST ESP platform to increase product awareness in the SharePoint community. This post builds on the basic FAST information I shared in my blog post – “FAST and SharePoint 2007” last month.
The enterprise search market is broken down into three major segments: high-end, infrastructure, and entry-level. Microsoft offers a comprehensive portfolio of search solutions: at the entry-level, Search Server Express delivers enterprise-class search capabilities as a free download; in the mid-tier, SharePoint offers search integrated with other core workloads; and at the high-end, FAST ESP (Enterprise Search Platform) provides best-in-class capabilities for the most demanding search applications in both internal and customer-facing scenarios. Each of the three offerings targets a specific set of customer needs, and each is an important part of Microsoft’s enterprise search product portfolio.
The FAST ESP platform supports linear scalability, real-time characteristics and high result relevance without compromising performance. The system provides sub-second responses to an extremely large number of simultaneous queries through an easy to deploy and maintain, web-based architecture that uses low-cost, high performance computers to deliver a linearly scalable solution. Main competitors of FAST ESP are Autonomy and Endeca.
What makes FAST ESP Unique?
FAST ESP is unique because of its strength in three core areas:
FAST ESP allows you to create unique user experiences, enabling people to explore and assimilate vast amounts of information.
In rest of the FAST ESP post series, I will attempt to drill down points mentioned above and would help you differentiate it from search in SharePoint 2007. You can refer to the FAST ESP product page for more details on the product, data sheet and links to case studies.
FAST powers search in many of the well known Internet websites like: CareerBuilder, Best Buy, Financial Times, Times Archive.You can go to these websites and experience its power.
Typical FAST ESP Applications
Leveraging on its features, FAST ESP can power lot of unique solution scenario for customers which are very different from what you would build using SharePoint 2007. Customers who buy these solutions value the configurability required to tune these applications to meet very specific requirements.
Internal (Intranet) applications might include:
Customer facing (Internet) applications include:
What are FAST ESP Add-Ons?
FAST ESP add-ons extend and enrich the capabilities of the FAST enterprise search platform.
Where to learn more?
FAST Knowledge Center – lot of white papers, analyst reports, podcasts, videos and glossary
FAST University - structured learning service that provides technical training for customers and partners who want to gain an in-depth understanding of FAST search technology.
Enterprise Search Roadmap Updates
During the Fast Forward ’09 summit in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced an update to its enterprise search products portfolio. 2 new products have been introduced:
Quoting the Microsoft Press Release, Microsoft Unveils New Enterprise Search Road Map - “... FAST Search for SharePoint, a new search server that will add the high-end search capabilities of FAST ESP into Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, will be available as a part of the next release of the Microsoft Office system. For customers who are interested in the product, Microsoft also announced ESP for SharePoint, a special offering that allows customers to purchase high-end search capabilities today, with a defined licensing path to FAST Search for SharePoint when it becomes available. …”
For more details, refer to following links:
FAST Froward Blog - Microsoft Announces Plans for New FAST Products
TrendWatch Blog - Microsoft discloses plans for FAST ESP
Enterprise Search Blog - Roadmap for FAST products inside of Microsoft - FAST Forward '09 Coverage
Michael Gannotti’s Blog - ESP For SharePoint Announced!!! One More Reason For SharePoint Enterprise
In addition to these updates, Microsoft continues to innovate FAST ESP as a high-end enterprise search platform for use on Unix and Linux operating systems also.
Analyst Speak - Current
Given below are some links to current analyst reports on Enterprise search technology vendors including Microsoft/FAST.
Gartner - Microsoft Plan Establishes Likely Path to Generalist Search Strength [February 2009]
Gartner - Magic Quadrant for Information Access Technology [September 2008]
Forrester- Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Search, Q2 2008 [May 2008]
CMSWatch - Enterprise Search Vendor Landscape, Circa 2008 [Feb 2008]
Excellent Article. How can i get a copy of FAST ESP Server?
For evaluations, contact your FAST Sales Representative or FAST Sales Engineer or send e-mail to the Sales email address.
Please refer to the "Contact Us" section on Page 3 of FAST ESP Product Overview Guide
You can get Free evaluation software if you are one of the FAST X10 partners. Refer to following link:
What are the benefits of the FAST X10 Partner Program?
Can FAST Search be used without a SharePoint server installation?