A few other players offer lighter-weight search tools based on the same Lucene open-source technology. For instance, online retailer Zappos.com uses Lucene Solr to power its 63 million customer inquiries each month. But internally, the company deploys open-source search engine Elasticsearch, for "non-website-critical systems or non-performance-bound types of services," says Aye Thu, search team lead.
Many other search application vendors have recently been acquired by software giants, creating questions about their future direction. open-sourceMicrosoft acquired search application Fast Search & Transfer in 2008 and made it consumable through SharePoint. In August 2011, HP acquired U.K-based Autonomy, and two months later Oracle announced plans to acquire Endeca, which provides unstructured data management, Web commerce and business intelligence solutions.
While none of these software giants has yet indicated that it will stop supporting its newly acquired search engine, "any time your tech provider is bought, it makes you nervous -- [especially] if you're another technology provider," Andrews says.
For now, that leaves Lucene Solr as the leading independent enterprise search platform. Lucid reports that 200,000 to 300,000 copies of Lucene Solr are downloaded every month.
EMC is using Lucene Solr to build a text analytics add-on for its relational database offering. "If you look at the enterprise search industry, most of the old-school players have either been acquired or gone by the wayside," says George Chitouras, senior director of research and development at EMC. "From my perspective, the technology with the most momentum behind it and the one maturing most quickly is the Lucene Solr technology."
While EMC hasn't moved open-source search capabilities inside its own enterprise yet, Chitouras says he sees myriad uses for the technology in almost any industry. "Any large company has use for information retrieval, whether it's doing call-center processing, customer relationship management, even innovation management," he says.