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Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Search 2015

Supplemental Insight on A Few Technologies Not Mentioned

Gartner recently released the 2015 edition of its Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Search, authored by Whit Andrews and Hans Koehler-Kruener.  The report is paid content which you can buy on the Gartner site, although if you search online for the report, you can also find several vendors willing to give you access in exchange for your contact information.

As with any Magic Quadrant (MQ) release, there is always a combination of elation and gnashing of teeth from various vendors – about their positioning, about which direction they are heading, etc.  The reality is – and even Gartner will admit this – they don’t recommend that anyone make a buying decision simply on what an MQ looks like.  You still have to do due diligence – something echoed by most technology buyers that I’ve talked to.  For many, the MQ is just one way to come up with a “short list” of solutions to investigate. So agree or disagree with the placements, but the MQ is not something you can just ignore.

At the same time, for a complex and evolving space like enterprise search, there are some solutions that don’t make the list but offer impactful value in the market.  So we thought we’d round up some internal and external commentary about some notable omissions to supplement the MQ.

Notable among the omissions (at least form the viewpoint of long-time search veterans) are MarkLogicEndeca (Oracle),FAST (Microsoft), and Elasticsearch.

When we reached out to Whit Andrews for clarification, he made it clear that the omissions were much more about the primary positioning and packaging of these products, and not a reflection of their technical worth.  So I’ve included Whit’s pretty straightforward response below.

“Oracle Endeca does not have an enterprise search product any longer. As you say, Microsoft no longer offers a standalone product, so does not qualify. Elasticsearch does not really market an enterprise search product. We’re redefining enterprise search, though, with the possibility of a new name and description, so they may qualify next year.” 

 

MarkLogic

Someone on a LinkedIn discussion board also blasted Gartner’s omission of MarkLogic, but the reaction from Gartner and other industry commentators was more or less the same: MarkLogic is primarily positioned as much as a database solution with search vs. an enterprise search solution.

To further supplement the commentary for the other omitted solutions, we informally polled our engineering and sales staff to see what additional insight we had to offer.

 

Endeca

One Search Technologies staff member noted that “We still do a considerable amount of work with some customers in the e-commerce space to tune Endeca search results – so you can’t really ignore the role of the technology for this use case.  And even though there are plans or discussions to consider migrating to other solutions, including open-source, often the plans are not imminent.”   

Endeca was a pioneer in faceted search – something that’s almost unthinkable NOT to have on an e-commerce site that offers a large catalog of products.  The question that remains is whether or not Endeca will be able to innovate fast enough to keep up with the pace of innovation now found in open source solutions.  With replatforming top of mind for many e-commerce executives, the next 24 months could be critical for Endeca.

 

Microsoft SharePoint

It’s understandable that Gartner chose to exclude Microsoft – but it’s purely on a technicality.  Microsoft no longer offers FAST Search & Transfer as a standalone solution.  However, it’s hard to ignore the huge install base represented by SharePoint, and the fact that most of that base uses search in some form. Starting in SharePoint 2013, search capability was simply included with SharePoint.  And with some readily available add-on technology, SharePoint certainly can be used for enterprise search. 

In fact, one territory manager at Search Technologies noted “One of my clients is a major IT consulting firm.  They use our Aspire connectors to make SharePoint 2013 their enterprise search solution.”

Search Technologies provides a number of different connectors through our Aspire content processing framework to allow SharePoint to ingest and index content from data stored outside of SharePoint.  This capability enables the enterprise search use case for our customers.

 

Elasticsearch

Right now, there is probably no search technology that has more momentum (from a download and deployment perspective) than Elasticsearch – and open source search solution.  However, Gartner chose to exclude Elasticsearch because it is not primarily positioned as an enterprise search solution.

It is true that if you go to the Elastic website, you won’t see a lot of language about enterprise search.  Instead you’ll see information on search & analytics which is very conducive to log analytics solutions.  Not surprising since Elastic also offers Logstash and Kibana for log ingestion and analytics visualization.

Furthermore, one of our engineers also notes “Elasticsearch does not have document level security yet, so I tend to agree it’s not intended for enterprise search.”

Again, while this is currently technically true, not everyone needs document level security (sometimes index level security is enough).  And for those companies that do need this capability, Search Technologies offers a security plug-in to enable this capability.

Search Technologies has some customers doing exactly this.  So from our perspective, Elastic’s offerings should be considered in the totality of what they offer, and through complementary partner technology.  Elasticsearch is a strong core search engine and when combined with third-party offerings such as connectors, document security plug-in, analysis plug-ins, etc. it is a strong offering for enterprise search.

-- Graham Gillen, VP Marketing

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