Amazon Enterprise Search: Kendra

December 6, 2019

Years ago I worked on a small project for a company connected to the film industry. At one of those Hollywood “lunches”, a person pointed across the restaurant and said, “That’s Kendra.” I had zero idea who or what a Kendra was. It turned out that “Kendra” was famous, a star. She was a Playboy bunny! She looked like most of the other female appearing types in the room.

Amazon’s Kendra is not a Playboy bunny. Kendra is Amazon’s new online enterprise search service. It looks pretty much like all the other online enterprise search services in the room.

There’s a difference. This enterprise search service is mounted on the Amazon platform, and it has open source goodness, some proprietary fashion flair, and hooks into numerous good looking advanced AWS services.

Amazon says in “Amazon Kendra”:

Amazon Kendra is a highly accurate and easy to use enterprise search service that’s powered by machine learning. Kendra delivers powerful natural language search capabilities to your websites and applications so your end users can more easily find the information they need within the vast amount of content spread across your company.

I am not sure what “accurate” means, but it sure differentiates the service from the odd ball results some enterprise search solutions deliver. The “easy” part is also relative and subjective. Which of AWS’s more than 170 functions and services does Kendra get along with? Too soon to tell.

Some observations:

  • The enterprise search vendors who have convinced venture capitalists to invest hundreds of millions in enterprise search and retrieval may be curious about Amazon’s sudden aggressiveness
  • The enterprise search companies themselves now have to decide: Put services on AWS or go elsewhere despite the costs and resources required
  • The AWS customers may want to kick the tires of the AWS service and postpone a procurement of a venture funded old school search engine. (Talking about NLP and machine learning is one thing. Delivering productized services from an AWS dashboard is another.)

Net net: For organizations struggling to federate and provide blockchain centric information access management, Amazon’s Kendra might look quite fetching.

Stephen E Arnold, December 6, 2019

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