The distributed indexing also shortens the time indexed material is made available to users, which paves the way for real-time search. Typically, enterprise search engines only update their indices once a day, or once every few hours. Lucene can now update continuously, even with a data set of billions of documents. "You can now index on a per-second basis," Jarugula said.
As a result, as soon as a document has been entered into a repository, it can be indexed and will start appearing in search results. This feature also reflects the changing needs of the enterprise. Thanks to the influence of Twitter and Facebook, "as I send an email or update a document, I want it to be immediately available to my colleagues," Jarugula said.
Lucene/Solr 4.0 will also offer a number of other features, such as versioning -- in which older versions of data are retained -- and a new Web-based administrative interface.
One organization looking forward to the new edition is deal-of-the-day Internet service Groupon. Groupon uses the open source version of Lucene/Solr and contracts with LucidWorks for engineering support. "Lucene/Solr is highly competitive against other commercial offerings," said Jeff Ayars, who is a Groupon vice president of engineering.
Groupon uses Lucene/Solr to index all the emails it sends to its users, Ayars said. Emails are customized for each user, so as a result, "tens of millions of new documents are indexed daily," Ayers said. When a user calls the company, a representative can search for the specific email that the caller has a question about. The company also uses Lucene/Solr's geospatial indexing capabilities to provide each user information about nearby deals.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Ayers is most looking forward to the new clustering features of Lucene/Solr 4.0. "There's been recipes for clustering with Solr for a very long time. But it's helpful for us to have baked-in support," Ayars said.
The Apache Lucene/Solr project has 37 core committers, nine of whom work for LucidWorks (which was previously called Lucid Imagination). Users of LucidWorks' Lucene/Solr commercial package include AT&T, Ford, Verizon, Cisco, Raytheon, Salesforce.com, Qualcomm and eHarmony.