When most people think of search, the term Google comes immediately to mind. But while Google is definitely an industry standard on the Web, the adoption of search engines within the enterprise has been anything but stellar.
This is not because there is no demand for enterprise search. There's actually a huge need for it. But deploying enterprise search has proven to be a complex task that requires indexing documents. In addition, many enterprise organizations have found the prospect of paying for search appliances beyond their immediate means.
Given that context, it's interesting to see that Lucid Imagination, a provider of search engine technology based on an open source Solr project that is in turn based on the Lucene Java search library, received $10 million in additional financing today.
While most of the attention in the search engine space has been focused on Google versus Microsoft, more than a few Web sites and enterprise IT organizations have been quietly discovering the merits of Solr. Lucid Imagination is based around the concept of deploying Solr/Lucene technology on behalf of corporate customers using an Apache Web server
According to Lucid Imagination CEO Eric Gries, organizations that use Solr/Lucene search engine technology include Netflix, Sears, Macy's, Cisco, Verizon, AT&T and about 4,000 other companies. He also claims that Lucene/Solr downloads are running at a rate of about 7,000 a day, making it one of the top 15 open source projects in the world. Gries adds that Solr/Lucene search engine technology has come a long way in terms of easing deployment issues.
Given the fact that most companies spend far more time looking for information than actually using it, the need for wider deployment of search engine technology in the enterprise is obvious. In fact, IDC says the search and discovery market is growing at a rate of about 28 percent a year. But big players such as Google, IBM and Microsoft have yet to really come up with the right answer for search within the enterprise. So maybe the time to experiment with something that has minimal up-front costs in order to solve the search problem in the enterprise is finally here.