What is Apache SOLR?man searching

With large corporations like Google and Microsoft dominating the search industry, SOLR isn’t something that normally comes to mind when you think about search.  So then why are companies such as Netflix and Adobe switching over to the Solr engine?  Here are 5 reasons you should get excited about this powerful search engine:

1. Integration

Here at Systems Alliance, we have begun leveraging Solr in order to power a number of advanced features within SiteExecutive.  Solr can run on a variety of web servers and operating systems making it very easy to package and install.  Also, the entirety of Solr’s querying engine is run through a REST service layer making it extremely easy to update and retrieve items from any external system. REST services receive and transmit information using the HTTP protocol allowing any systems capable of communicating over the web to interact with Solr.

2. Customization

When choosing a search engine for use within SiteExecutive, we needed a system that would provide flexibility in both the storage and retrieval of the data.  Solr paves the way for an adaptable storage environment allowing for complete control in designing how the data is placed into a collection.  Because of this, search relevancy can be heavily optimized based on the exact information that you have in your system.  Users will always find what they are looking for!

3. Performance

Solr was built on the premise of being extremely fast and scalable to large amounts of data.  This is important for both indexing information into the system as well as retrieving it based on a user defined search.  The last thing we want is users waiting for their search results.  By leveraging this in SiteExecutive, we are now able to provide lightning fast searches for content authors looking for objects within the authoring interface.

4. Affordable

Cost certainly sets Solr apart from the other search engines.  Solr is licensed under the Apache License 2.0 which allows for the use and distribution of the engine for free.  This can be quite a savings as compared to the effective, however, costly Google search appliance.  Although, the caveat lies in the initial configuration and start time to get the engine up and running.  Whereas with Google’s search appliance you can simply point it at a site and expect to start seeing results, in Solr you will need to handle the indexing of the data yourself.  However, this isn’t always a bad thing as explained earlier when it comes to tweaking the search engine for the best possible results.

5. Rich Text Document Parsing

Another great advantage of Solr is it’s built in document parsing engine.  It is very easy to automatically have Solr index content from documents like Word and PDFs so that the documents can show up in relevant searches.

You can look forward to all of these advantages in the next version of SiteExecutive, codenamed Trinity.