In mid-2011, Lucid Imagination released LucidWorks for the enterprise, a subscription-based, enterprise-ready package with support from experts in open-source search. Today, 100 enterprise customers use the product. Lucid also released a cloud-based, search-as-a-service version in February.
Lucid CEO Paul Doscher sees three types of needs driving organizations to use enterprise open-source search. First, "people want to use effective search to power their websites, but they don't want to be bothered with the infrastructure, management and maintenance of it," he says. LucidWorks connects to their websites, crawls the data and creates the response in the search box, "in a much higher capability than what they have right now," Doscher adds.
Second, large enterprises are turning to open-source search when they want to have a sandbox to develop prototype applications -- but don't have the developer expertise, infrastructure or hardware to do so.
Third, companies may embrace the open-source option if they're trying to extend the value of the data that they currently have. The search-as-a-service application is likely to appeal to these users, says Doscher. Similar to what Salesforce.com provides, Lucid's cloud application allows users to crawl information in their SaaS applications and then search it more effectively or integrate it with other information inside the enterprise or out on the Web. "You can use it as an application development platform to develop richer and more effective information applications," Doscher says.
Lucid's chief scientist, Grant Ingersoll, also sees some hybrid uses for open-source search. "You provision your own application internally in your data centers, but then you spill over excess capacity to the cloud-supported [version]," he says.
To stay ahead of competitors, Lucid Imagination plans to move into the business intelligence and data warehousing spaces and enable integration with big-data technologies, Doscher says. "If you put traditional data warehouse or business intelligence-type applications on top of Hadoop, in some instances, it's almost like trying to take this manhole cover of opportunity and shove it through a garden hose," he says. Applying open-source search technologies to these areas will alleviate the pressure built up from too much data and inadequate indexing and search capabilities.
The volume of information stored by enterprises going forward "is going to be scary," Doscher says. Open-source search technology will address this deluge.