One of the first things that come to mind when talking about Information Management is the topic of Search. It has been a source of great innovation and inspiration with success stories like Google and others in the consumer space. However, in the enterprise space it’s also a source of frustration as the amount and complexity of information (both structured and unstructured) and the number of siloed repositories increase at an exponential rate. Often there is too much information with varying levels of sensitivity, making it difficult to find what’s relevant for the right person in the right amount of time from the right content sources within an enterprise. You also need to ensure the utmost security of information, allowing people to see only what they’re allowed to see on a result set– all without compromising performance. These issues become even more acute as business processes require dynamic access to multiple information sources and as business professionals become more dependent on the diversity of content to get new insights.
Against this backdrop, it’s surprising that Oracle has questioned our ability to innovate – especially where Search is perhaps one of the best and most recent testaments of our innovation. As stated in my previous blogs, what’s at issue is not the commitment to innovation, but rather our different strategies to bring innovation forward to the marketplace. While Oracle approaches Search from an “own it all – one size fits all” model, we pursue a best of breed and open innovation approach.
When we looked at developing the next generation Search engine (Documentum xPlore), we studied the success that Open Source players had against the commercial search vendors – whose innovation continues to be hampered by the ongoing cost and complexity of internal development. As a result, we architected xPlore with the Lucene full text search engine, since it allowed us to tap directly into the innovation pipeline of the Open Source community – literally leveraging the skills of thousands of developers worldwide. On top of this foundation, we coupled our high-performance native xML database (xDB), which is far more flexible than relational databases for handling constantly changing data models and schemas. To this we combined our state of the art technologies in linguistic analysis, content intelligence and virtualization (VMware) to deliver what is arguably one of the highest quality, fastest and most flexible Search offerings available. And this innovation is paying off for our customers. We’ve seen tremendous performance improvements over our previous Microsoft FAST offering, including:
- 50% higher query throughput
- 40% higher day-forward indexing throughput
- 50% reduction in latency
xPlore is also best at understanding and leveraging the Documentum data and security model , which continues to be the gold-standard for highly regulated industries – including Pharmaceuticals, Financial Institutions and some of the world’s leading intelligence agencies. xPlore ensures that security policies are respected (only serving up what is allowed to be seen), without compromising search performance and user experience. Furthermore, as consumers we have come to expect faceted search (dynamically filtering on multiple levels) as the new paradigm. Here again, xPlore excels due to its deep understanding of each information element along with its multiple explicit dimensions. And the response has been tremendous with customers (across our entire install base) rapidly adopting xPlore based on its capabilities and future potential, not just to replace FAST.
However, our innovation goes well beyond the Search Engine. We’ve combined xPlore with the full power of our Federated Search Server, allowing broad access to non-EMC sources in a completely unified search model. Our Federated Search provides one of the largest libraries of adapters and extensibility options available, enabling you to access virtually any application and/or repository. The result is a best of breed, battle tested and one of the most innovative Enterprise Search platforms on the market today. When you consider our xCP, Kazeon and Greenplum assets, we have the unique ability to act on search results, not just view them – a critical requirement for enabling the next generation of transformative business applications.
We’ve learned a great deal along our journey with Search, which we’ve translated into a strategy that fosters rapid innovation and ever increasing value for our customers. Hopefully the perspectives I’ve shared will enable you to make the best informed decision, regardless if you subscribe to an “own it all” stack model or a best of breed & open innovation approach. In the end, it comes down to choosing the model that best supports the speed and degree of business transformation you ultimately want to achieve – both now and into the future. Simply put, we’ve taken an industry leading open-source search project and added massive amounts of value on top of it to provide a world class enterprise search solution for our customers.