Google Search Appliance: Like Glass It Broke

February 8, 2016

I read “So Long Google Search Appliance.” Farewell, happy yellow and blue boxes. So long integrators who have been supporting these wildebeests for a decade. Au revoir easy-as-pie search.

According to the write up:

The tech giant told its reseller and consulting partners the news via email on Thursday, noting that they can continue to sell one-year license renewals for existing hardware customers through 2017, but that they will be unable to sell new hardware. Renewals will end in 2018.

I recall writing about the Google Search Appliance when I was reporting about enterprise search for specialist publications. I was the first or one of the first to run down the pricing for the wonky boxes. I pointed out that a redundant multi million document system would ring the Google cash register in the high six figures with seven figures not out of sight. I thought I mentioned that the number of engineeers supporting the GSA had dwindled to a couple of folks. I thought I pointed out that the assumption a Web search system would work like a champ on corporate content was a wild and crazy notion.l

Like so many others who assumed enterprise search was not a tough problem, the Alphabet Google thing has bailed. Google essentially failed to revolutionize enterprise search. Cheaper and more usable appliances are available, including products from Maxxcat and Thunderstone. There are reasonable cloud solutions. And there is a cornucopia of outfits offering repackaged open source systems. Heck, if one pokes around long enough, a bold enterprise can license a system from companies with proprietary information access systems; 3RDi, Fabasoft, Lexmark, etc.

What will organizations do without the Google Search Appliance? Yard sale, Goodwill?

Stephen E Arnold, February 8, 2016

Index Engines: Search a Utility

March 18, 2015

Index Engines started life as a search system for archives. If my memory serves me, Index Engines was an appliance vendor. During a recent visit to the company’s Web site (, I learned that the firm has relegated search to a utility function. The company has a data sheets page that explains the company’s products and services. These range from “data profiling” to “preservation” and information governance.

I found this shift fascinating. Like the open source search vendor, Elastic (né Elasticsearch), search is no longer the main event. This trend has been evident in the cyber OSINT vendor landscape as well.

The shift underscores that the sales friction for “search and retrieval” is increasing. Savvy outfits are finding new ways to generate revenue with search a baked in component. “Information governance” is sufficiently general and important sounding to create an opportunity for a sales pitch. When many people consider themselves experts in “search,” different positioning is required.

Index Engines, for instance, offers “intelligent disposition,” “litigation readiness,” and “octane collection.”

Search? Too tough to sell. Watch for other vendors of search crafting ingenious ways to derive revenue from information retrieval and access.

Stephen E Arnold, March 18,2015.

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at

Has Lightning Struck for MaxxCat?

February 10, 2015

Have you ever heard of MaxxCat? It has played around in the back of our RSS feed every now and then when they have accomplished a major breakthrough. The company skipped to the forefront of enterprise search news this morning with one of their products. Before we discuss what wonders MaxxCat plans to do for enterprise search, here is a little more about the company.

MaxxCat was established in 2007 to take advantage of the growing enterprise search solutions market. The company specializes in low cost search and storage as well as integration and managed hosting services. MaxxCat creates well-regarded hardware with an emphasis that their clients should be able to concentrate on more important things than storage. The company’s search appliance hosting page explains a bit more about what MaxxCat offers:

“MaxxCAT can provide complete managed platforms using your MaxxCAT appliances in one or more of our data centers. Our managed platforms allow you to focus on your business, and allow us to focus on getting the maximum performance and uptime from your enterprise search appliances. Nobody can host, tune or manage MaxxCAT appliances as well as the people who invented them.”

Enterprise search appliances without a headache? It is a new and interesting concept that MaxxCat seems to have a handle on it.

Whitney Grace, February 10, 2015
Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

MaxxCAT Reveals New Model and Adjusted Pricing

May 23, 2014

The article titled MaxxCAT Anmounces New Hardware, Pricing in Preparation for New OS on ICT Procurement came with a disclaimer that seemed aimed at other tech giants like Apple. Burt LeFay, hardware manager for Maxxcat, wanted to assure customers that the new hardware would be compatible with the old. There is nothing more annoying than downloading a new version of, say, ITunes, only to learn moments after that it is no longer compatible with your old Macbook. The article states,

““We know how it feels to purchase your hardware and a week later the company announces something new,” said Burt LeFay… “We began testing the new hardware several months ago and developed a special release of our earlier OS to work with the new hardware. That way we could begin shipping the new hardware while we finalized the latest OS.” Customers who have purchased their appliance recently have received the new hardware and can contact MaxxCAT support to schedule an update.”

Maxxcat has been creating high-performance search appliances since 2007, of which they offer a comparison to Google on their website. Demos are available on request. The new model, MaxxCAT 5.0, is touted for its more potent hardware and competitive pricing.

Chelsea Kerwin, May 23, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

New MaxxCAT Search Appliance Supports the Rackless

March 5, 2014

Small businesses that employ desktop servers may want to check out MaxxCAT’s latest offering. Virtual-Strategy Magazine announces that “MaxxCAT Brings Search Appliance to Convenient Desktop Form Factor.” They say the idea came from a customer with a desktop server and no rack space; it is nice when companies respond to customer feedback. The press release elaborates:

“The new line of desktop search appliances features a case that is suited for customers needing high performance search but lacking rack space. It is particularly suited to businesses employing tower servers. The new desktop series retains the price and performance MaxxCAT is known for, starting at $2,995 for the 250GB SB-250d capable of handling 2,500 executed Queries Per Minute(QPM). For larger collections or greater performance requirements, the SB-350d is available for $3,995 and features a 500GB index storage size and is capable of handling 5,000 executed Queries Per Minute. Both appliances will come with MaxxCAT’s standard one year of email support and software updates as well as one-year hardware warranty.”

The company is wisely integrating that higher-capacity version, the SB-350d, into its existing education and non-profit programs. Based in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, MaxxCAT launched in 2007. Though its focus is on specialized, high-performance enterprise search appliances, the company also provides integration services and managed hosting. MaxxCAT also prides itself on providing quick and painless deployments—particularly important for small businesses with limited resources.

Cynthia Murrell, March 05, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Search and Management Appliances from InfoLibrarian

February 18, 2014

Folks looking for affordable data-management and search solutions should check out InfoLibrarian. You can get their Metadata Management Appliance and pair it with their Search Appliance, both for about $3,500. Just to be clear, these are not software applications; they are hardware units you would plug into your network like a hard drive. The description for the Management Appliance tells us:

“The InfoLibrarian Metadata Appliance takes enterprise search and metadata management to a whole new level. Manage and synchronize metadata, documents, files, source code, and virtually any digital asset. You name it… InfoLibrarian catalogs it. Hundreds of Adapters and document crawlers are available to automatically index, categorize and keep history of changes over time. Business friendly search engine/portal to navigate categories; perform search, impact analysis and data lineage analysis across disparate systems.”

The page goes on to emphasize certain features, like centralized, role-based security controls; automation options; simplified collaboration; and classification tools that go beyond those normally found in enterprise indexing products. To search your impeccably managed data, you could choose the corresponding Search Appliance. That description reads:

“The InfoLibrarian Search Appliance is ready to go, just plug it into your network and setup indexing of files, databases and web sites. Almost instantly, you can begin searching. It’s Fast … Powerful and Easy!

Hundreds of document crawlers are available to automatically index, categorize and keep history of changes over time. Bundled with all the features you expect including a simple search interface with integrated spell checking, advanced searching and configurable results.”

The page notes that you can customize this appliance with either templates or API. The highlight for me is InfoLibrarian’s vow that this device provides the “most secure search available.” That’s reason enough to look into it. See each product’s page for the full lists of their features.

Headquartered in Rochester, New York, InfoLibrarian has been helping organizations in a range of industries to manage and analyze data since 1998. The privately held company strives to provide their clients with the best metadata-integrated solutions on the market.

Cynthia Murrell, February 18, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Search Application Perspectives For 2014

January 20, 2014

With 2014 well under way, search experts are trying to predict what will happen for enterprise search. Search Appliance World has an article that takes a look on enterprise search in the past and future called, “The New Search Appliance Landscape: Reflections And Predictions With MaxxCAT.” Basic search commands that come in out-of-the-box system are old school and do not provide the robust solution enterprise systems need.

Search appliances became enterprise users’ favorite toys and everyone had to have the Google Mini Search Appliance, but those days are gone. Other search developers, such as MaxxCat, stepped up to the plate.

The article states:

“ ‘In 2013, we saw a lot of the fallout from that as customers realized they couldn’t replace their Google Mini appliance and went looking for viable alternatives that weren’t $30K. For us, this lead to a huge boost in sales of our entry level appliances and even some additional sales of our enterprise series appliances,’ MaxxCAT Director of Marketing & Sales Chris Whissen told Search Appliance World.”

The MaxxCat developers were interested in exploring new markets their search appliance could expand into. The company is also big on customer service and ensuring that clients know they are valued. The biggest endeavor being made, though, is offering MaxxCat’s clients an efficient solution to solve their search problems and to encourage more competition in the search application market. Google is no longer the small player, but some of its solutions have grown too expensive for its former clients. New companies like MaxxCat keep the market fresh and offer up new ideas.

Whitney Grace, January 20, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Google Search Appliance VS SearchBlox Price and Indexing Limit Comparison

January 16, 2014

The article on SearchBlox titled Google Search Appliance Price Comparison with SearchBlox explains the slippery pricing data available to consumers on Google Search appliances. The article states that for a more limited document storage space Google charges $30,000 while SearchBlox, for unlimited storage, charges only $5,000 (but these numbers are only approximations). SearchBlox also offers more constant support and maintenance than Google, making it a very appealing option in the world of intranet or Web site search.

The article explains:

“SearchBlox provides the option of seamlessly moving away from the Google Search Appliance without skipping a beat. In addition to the cost-savings and feature comparison, scalability of the solution is something to consider given the explosion of content. SearchBlox scales both vertically (by adding more CPU/RAM to the existing setup) and horizontally (by adding more search servers that can be run in a cluster) without disrupting your architecture.”

SearchBlox even allows for Google administrators using XLS with a “faceted search plugin” that promises not to disturb the infrastructure. Allowing users to index unlimited documents certainly beats Google’s 500K indexing limit. A quick check of the GSA Advantage site shows that the Google Search Appliance is a significantly more expensive alternative to the open source based SearchBlox solution.

Chelsea Kerwin, January 16, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Thunderstone Thunders In With An Upgrade

November 18, 2013

While this might not be at the top of anyone’s Black Friday shopping list, it is good to know that ‘Thunderstone Offers Version 9 Of The Thunderstone Search Appliance” according to PR Web. Thunderstone is a little known research and development company that prides itself on providing comprehensive intelligent information and retrieval management solutions. One might recognize their Texis software that provides high-grade text retrieval and publishing.

Thunderstone’s products are used in various fields from multimedia management; help desk support, automated categorization, litigation support, and Web content searching.

The last field is of the greatest interest to us, because the Thunderstone Search Appliance could push the company into a wider range of clients. The upgrade promises to support all of its sister software with improved administrative interface, faster searching, query auto complete, content caching, and a walk log for analysis. Those are just the basic upgraded features.

Thunderstone includes the following benefits with their search software:

· “A one-time, perpetual license that saves customers 40-60 percent (or more) compared to Thunderstone’s closest competitor.

· Two years of included maintenance, easily extended for additional years at affordable annual rates.

· Superior technical support from software engineers readily accessible to customers by phone, email and message board.

· No restrictions on indexing third-party websites for user-empowering applications and for competitive intelligence purposes.

· Ability to fully search targeted repositories (file servers, web servers, intranet/portal servers, database servers, application databases, etc.) and to handle files that exceed 30 MB in size.

·   An attractive Product Investment Protection Program that makes upgrading a breeze, applying 100 percent of the initial Thunderstone product’s purchase price to any desired upgrade.

· Availability as a virtual appliance image to run under a hypervisor to allow for more efficient hardware utilization and manageability.”

These are not bad options. However, having never worked with Thunderstone or even heard of it before this press release we have to question its performance capabilities. Does it really do as advertised or is an extended amount of development needed for implementation?

Whitney Grace, November 18, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

New Marketing Tack for Maxxcat

October 2, 2013

Maxxcat is taking a new approach to marketing, Insurance Technology informs us in, “MaxxCAT Launches Search Appliance Channel on TMCnet.” This “channel” is a news and information site focused on search and data management. This is not an aggregation site; it offers original content from regular and guest contributors. Not surprisingly, many of the stories do endorse MaxxCAT. The write-up reports:

“The Search Appliance channel is designed for decision-makers from enterprises seeking information regarding search solutions. Information on the Search Appliance channel addresses issues important to those interested in enterprise search solutions. Visitors to the Search Appliance channel can find valuable resources such as feature articles, industry news, white papers, free product trials and e-demos. The Search Appliance channel can be found at:”

Launched in 2007, MaxxCAT makes its home in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Though its focus is on specialized, high-performance enterprise search appliances, the company also provides integration services and managed hosting. MaxxCAT is big on incorporating customer input, and prides itself on quick and painless deployments.

TMCnet helps clients in the tech and communications fields who wish to promote their businesses by supplying information that is actually useful. Their Online Community program has been active for more than a decade now, and their own informative page boasts 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

Cynthia Murrell, October 02, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

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