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The Ongoing Search

Dramatically different approaches show search is an evolving technology

Technology for data classification and search is under the spotlight again, with a flurry of new products aimed at helping organizations identify data that needs to be saved, then organized in specific ways.

But this week's news is more than evidence that companies want this kind of help badly. It also shows the enormous differences between search products, and it highlights the fact that more than one market will form as tools evolve.

Two of the week's news items in particular illustrate these points. Yesterday, Fast Search & Transfer (FAST), whose search technology underlies a range of Web search engines and competes with offerings from Google and Autonomy, announced its entry into the Business Intelligence (BI) market. (See FAST.)

Now FAST will be used not only to deliver sophisticated search capabilities to enterprise and OEM customers, it will also cull analytics from business data like inventories, financials, and sales statistics. FAST claims it will be faster than competing BI wares from Cognos, a FAST partner, or Business Objects.

At the other end of the spectrum, we hear there's a newly enhanced search appliance from Index Engines. (See Index Intros eDiscovery Appliance.) Index Engines' claim to fame has been the ability to retrieve content directly from tapes without having to convert them to disk first. Now, the firm is adding dynamic de-duplication of multiple backed-up files; a method of restoring offline content more quickly and easily once an item has been identified as important; and the ability to tag backed up items and export them to external document management systems.

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