Feeds

Microsoft drops open-source birthday gift with FAST

Lucidly imaginative?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Closed Google

While Google might have brand recognition its appliance falls down because it's closed - you can't tamper with it. Also, Google charges increase as you add more documents, which hurts organizations that want to grow. Among Lucid's customers who've dumped GSA for Solr are investor's web site The Motley Fool.

As for Oracle's Secure Enterprise Search, you're again locked into a single vendor offering a closed product. And then there's the money: Oracle's list price is $34,500 per processor. Gries, meanwhile, called Sphinx more "generic" search that's designed to work on multiple databases.

If there's a niggling concern in all of this, it's the fact Microsoft felt confident enough to cut ESP's Unix and Linux users in the first place. Microsoft dropped a cool $1.2bn on FAST in 2008, making it one of just four acquisitions in Microsoft's 30-odd-year history to break the billion-dollar mark. Only Visio on $1.3bn in 2000, Navision on $1.3bn in 2002, and aQuantive for $6.3bn in 2007 beat FAST.

That's a lot of money to feel you could gamble on converting Linux and Unix users to Windows or simply throw away by dumping a large proportion of the customer base, if Gries' 80-per-cent number is correct. Even the politics of putting Windows first would make little business sense.

In 2007, the year before Microsoft's acquisition, FAST was hit with revenue recognition problems that challenged its previous claims of 60 per cent year-on-year growth. Prior to acquisition, FAST reported net losses on revenue that was falling - this before the sub-prime bubble that everyone agrees helped kill IT spending in 2008 and 2009 was far from bursting.

Empty promise

The figures suggest that maybe the Unix and Linux business wasn't paying so well for FAST, that Microsoft is justified in doubling down on Windows, and that Microsoft bought FAST purely for its search technology capabilities instead of its customer base.

This means potential trouble for Lucid, which is faced with the classic problem of persuading users of open-source code to pay it for those value-added consulting and support services. But Gries is confident users leaving Microsoft and eschewing Google and Oracle will want the proven capabilities of Lucene and Solr and find their way to Lucid.

Gries claimed one reason Lucid has done well and is able to beat Google among coders building search - and why it will attract former FAST users - is because Lucene and Solr are 10-year-old, proven technologies. "The largest install based in enterprise search is Lucerne," Gries said

Lucid imagination, meanwhile, brings the confidence of a support partner - especially if search is important to the customers' commodity and without it, they risk losing money.

"We don't have to persuade people - we have a number of leads coming into us," Gries said. "The basis is the fact this software is not easy. A lot of things can go wrong, like the query passer.

"You have many, many ways to cause trouble, but when you're in a contract with a commercial company there's somebody to talk to. When it's a project there's nobody to talk to," Gries said. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?