Last week I had my first my first encounter with a potential client that changed their policy on open source search because of a recent event.
They were in the middle of a RFI (request for information) to see what options there are for their demands regarding enterprise search, when Google announced the end-of-life for their flag ship enterprise search product: the Google Search Appliance.
This has led them to think about this: “What if we choose a commercial or closed source product for our enterprise search solution and the vendor decides to discontinue it?”.
The news from Google has gotten a lot of attention on the internet, through blog posts and tweets. Of course there are commercial vendors trying to step into this “gap” like Mindbreeze and SearchBlox.
I have seen this happen before, in the time of the “great enterprise search take-overs”. Remember HP and Autonomy, IBM and Vivisimo, Oracle and Endeca, Microsoft and FAST ESP?
At that time organizations also started wondering what would happen to their investments in these high-class, high-priced “pure search” solutions.
In the case of the mentioned potential client the GSA was on their list of possible solutions (especially because of the needed connectors ánd the “document preview” feature). Now it’s gone.
Because of this, they started to embrace the strenght of the open source alternatives, like Elasticsearch and Solr. It’s even becoming a policy.
Surely open source will take some effort in getting all the required functionalities up and running, and they will need an implementation party. But… they will own every piece of software that is developed for them.
I wonder if there are other examples out there of companies switching to open source search solutions, like Apache Solr, because of this kind of unexptected “turn” of a commercial / closed source vendor.
Has Google unwillingly set the enterprise search world on the path of open source search solutions like Apache Solr or Elasticsearch?