By Natalya Voskresenskaya
With the evolution of the SharePoint platform, and the ever-growing accumulation of data and information, the SharePoint search offering had to surpass the boundaries of SharePoint as an information container to make SharePoint the “go-to” search solution for all enterprise content, regardless of its format and location, by indexing enterprise data from multiple systems. This included shared data stored in SharePoint, file shares, and websites, as well as line-of-business (LOB) applications such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, and so on.
Microsoft recognized the need to offer a heavy-duty enterprise search platform, and in 2008 completed its acquisition of FAST Search and Transfer. The timely acquisition allowed Microsoft to integrate FAST Search into SharePoint 2010, and offer this search platform as a separate product that provides a superset of functionalities on top of the SharePoint Search offering.
Microsoft has released several search products to fit a wide spectrum of search requirements and possible budget restrictions. This chapter is largely concentrated on SharePoint 2010 Search and FAST Search for SharePoint 2010. The goal here is to help architects make educated decisions for selecting the right product based on the feature offerings, along with deployment guidance based on the real-world architect experiences and business scenarios.