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Author Topic: Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express: a (free) hidden gem?  (Read 12992 times)

city_zen

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Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express: a (free) hidden gem?
« on: April 30, 2011, 07:10:30 PM »
A quick search in the forum returned no results about this Microsoft product. I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet here, so I decided to post about it.

Search Server 2010 Express is a standalone search server which is free and easy to deploy. It delivers powerful, web-style search across your corporate intranet sites quickly, easily, and for free. It can search all your content sources, including SharePoint sites, file shares (some file types require additional filters, see below), websites, Exchange Public Folders, and third party repositories.

Quote from Microsoft:
Quote
Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express is an enterprise search solution that is free to download, simple and flexible to configure, and powerful enough to meet your needs.

Full description of features: Microsoft Search Server Express

A feature comparison matrix of SS 2010 Express with its predecessor, Search Server 2008 Express, and also with Sharepoint Server 2010: Microsoft Search Server Express: Compare

And a couple of screenshots:

scrn-search-center-marketing.jpgMicrosoft Search Server 2010 Express: a (free) hidden gem?

scrn-central-administration.JPGMicrosoft Search Server 2010 Express: a (free) hidden gem?


Search Server 2010 Express can be downloaded for free from this page: Download details: Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express
Software and hardware requirements are listed there too.


To complete this post, let me list some additional resources about SS 2010 Express:


So, is it really free? Surprisingly, yes. Of course you need a properly licensed Windows Server 2008 SP2 or Server 2008 R2 to install it on, plus the hardware requirements are hefty, but the software itself is completely free.

So far I have only found one caveat, which is only relevant if you decide to install SS 2010 Express on a domain controller.
There are two modes for installing Search Server 2010 Express:
  • Complete – allows you to specify a SQL Server installation
  • Stand-alone – automatically installs and configures an instance of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express (which is also free)
Of course, the second alternative is the easier (and cheaper!) one. BUT, when you install SS 2010 Express on a domain controller, only the first option is available, which means you already have to have a running SQL Server for SS 2010 Express to use it as its database engine.

All in all, a great free product for LAN search, which should be better known.
I'll have what she's having

Shades

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Re: Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express: a (free) hidden gem?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2011, 11:26:27 PM »
Looks indeed interesting, especially for the amount of items that can be stored in the search database.

However I use the free search engine provided by IBM together with Yahoo. Omnifind Yahoo edition eats a lot less resources and has practically no dependencies, but the free version has a limit of 500.000 items. Go above that amount and you have to pay (dearly) for it.

Now I just visited the website from Omnifind and I see that support is not available anymore after 30 June 2011. That is a bit of a downer. Then again, I never needed support as the installation and maintenance is very easy to do.

So for as long as it runs I will not change, unless the performance of Search Server 2010 Express is dramatically faster. Do you know of any site/blog that did a benchmark test with several of the freely available LAN search engines?

city_zen

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Re: Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express: a (free) hidden gem?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2011, 03:17:19 AM »
I didn't know about the free edition of Omnifind, Shades

Unfortunately, as you mentioned, it has been discontinued:
Quote
  • Effective September 22, 2010, this product is withdrawn from marketing.
  • Effective June 30, 2011, this product will be withdrawn from support.

Besides, its software requirements list give away its age:
Quote
Supported operating systems

    32-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 4, Update 3
    32-bit SUSE Linux Enterprise 10
    32-bit Windows XP SP2
    32-bit Windows 2003 Server SP1

Supported browsers

The administration console and the search page are browser-based. The following browsers are supported:

    Microsoft Internet Explorer 6
    Mozilla Firefox 1.5 and 2.0 (required for Linux installations)

Cookies must be enabled to use the administration console and the search page.

Definitely not cutting edge :)

Anyway, if you're currently using it and experience no issues with it, I would continue using it too. But I certainly wouldn't choose it for a new installation.

Apparently Omnifind Yahoo Edition was a victim of the Microsoft-Yahoo search agreement a couple of years back. It looks like IBM didn't quite like the idea of distributing a product which would have to include Microsoft's search engine (as a result of Yahoo dropping theirs): Yahoo deal puts IBM, Microsoft in enterprise search pickle

Looks indeed interesting, especially for the amount of items that can be stored in the search database.

The 10 million items figure is for the "Complete" installation, which assumes an independent SQL Server installation. The recommended limit for the "Stand alone" installation is about 300,000 items. Keep in mind that these are not hard limits, but recommended ones based on the performance of the database engine. So, in short, it's:
  • Complete installation of SS 2010 Express -> SQL Server -> up to 10 million items (aprox.)
  • Stand-alone installation of SS 2010 Express -> SQL Server Express -> up to 300,000 items (aprox.)

Do you know of any site/blog that did a benchmark test with several of the freely available LAN search engines?

No, I couldn't find benchmarks, but I did find a couple of pages with relevant info:
Bottom line:
Quote
quite simply if you don't want to shell out money Solr/Lucene or Fast (now MSSE) is really about the best you can do

I'll have what she's having