One of the pain points for companies these days is how difficult it is to find relevant information inside their corporate network. I often hear people complain that it is easier to find any information on the Internet using Google or Bing rather than inside the enterprise.
Well, Google has been selling their Google Search Appliance (GSA) for many years. GSA brings Google superior search technology to a business corporate network. It even has the familiar look and feel that people have been accustomed to when doing a search on the Internet.
GSA can index and serve content located on the internal websites, documents located on file servers, and Microsoft Sharepoint repositories.
I recently replaced an old GSA, and quickly remembered how easy and fast it is to deploy. The hardware of the GSA is a souped up Dell server with a bright yellow casing. Racking the hardware is a snap. It comes with instructions on where to plug the network interfaces. The initial setup is done via a back-to-back network connection to a laptop, where network settings such as the IP address, netmask, gateway, time server, mail server, etc are configured.
Once the GSA is accessible on the network, the only other thing to do is to configure the initial crawl of the web servers and/or file systems, which may take a couple of hours. Once the documents are indexed, the appliance is ready to answer user search requests.
The search appliance has many advanced features and can be customized to your needs. For instance, you can customize the behavior and appearance of the search page. You can turn on or off the auto-completion feature. You can configure security settings, so that content is only available to certain people that are properly authenticated, and many other features.
Internal search engines such as the Google Search Appliance will increase the productivity of corporate employees by helping them save time looking for information.