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Microsoft kills FAST's Linux and Unix search biz

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Customers of FAST's Enterprise Search Platform (ESP) on Linux or Unix better develop a taste for Windows or look elsewhere for their enterprise search.

Microsoft- which bought FAST in 2008 - has announced it will stop development of FAST's ESP core on Linux and Unix after the release of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 later this year.

FAST is being integrated with Office and SharePoint, and Microsoft will build its FAST core search engine only for Windows.

It's a bold move. Microsoft paid $1.2bn for FAST and has decided it's better to double down on the Windows install base and gamble it can bring over those on Linux or Unix.

Given Microsoft's history of its products on Windows, it was only a matter of time before the change came. It's a decision, though, that could give those customers already running ESP on Linux and Unix incentive to stick with open-source by adopting Apache Software Foundation's Lucene and Solr.

That left FAST chief technology officer Bjørn Olstad, a Microsoft distinguished engineer, to explain the move. He said that by only focusing on Windows, the company can deliver more innovation per release in the future. FAST entered the search business in 1997.

Olstad announced an upgrade program to move customers to a hosted search service or FAST on Windows. He also said Microsoft is "investing in interoperability" between Windows and other operating systems to help ease the transition.

Microsoft will support ESP 5.3 throughout its product lifecycle of five years mainstream support and five years extended support. Extended support for ESP 5.3 will end on July 16, 2018

"We're committed to working with you through the transition and look forward to partnering with you for success now and in the future," Olstad said.

He noted FAST on Windows would continue to search for data held on Linux and Unix systems while its UI controls would work with UI frameworks running on any operating system.

"Many of our customers run FAST ESP on Linux and UNIX today, and we recognize that our future focus on Windows means change.," Olstad wrote.

"To ease the transition, we're investing in interoperability between Windows and other operating systems, reaffirming our commitment to 10 years of support for our non-Windows products, and taking concrete steps to help customers plan for the future." ®

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