Why You Need FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint
Published by Peter Cartier on March 15th, 2012
Fpweb.net is hosting FAST Search Server in the SharePoint Cloud
You have a choice in enterprise search. And let me assure any enterprise or mid-sized company, you don’t just need FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint, you want it! When you’re running a company that is powered by outside-the-box thinking, you can’t be limited to “out-of-the-box” features. You need your environment to grow with your business needs.
If the purpose of using SharePoint is to benefit from the productivity and collaboration that it enables, you’ll miss a key business benefit by disregarding FAST Search.
So what is FAST Search Server?
We’ve written a pretty comprehensive look at the features of FAST Search Server 2010 but in the meantime, here’s a brief summary:
Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint takes all of the search and integration capabilities that are baked into SharePoint Server 2010 and then amplifies those capabilities with improved flexibility and scale along with beefing up the content processing to the point that it can index and search over a billion items. Which is a lot.
Never mind a search that scours the internet, this enterprise search peels through your company information at lightning speed, indexing and identifying only the information you need.
The twist with FAST Search is that it makes search work for you. Deep linguistics and text analytics technology tune search results to specific users and areas so the content is qualified and structured for your team’s needs. Intuitive search interface enables better, faster content discovery leading to a simpler, efficient search experience.
Imagine the simplicity and the time saved when a search yields only qualified results. Your company’s productivity will soar as that efficiency spreads throughout every cubicle and office in your business.
You need your company to think FAST! That’s the kind of thinking that places your business outside-the-box with unique features that build on SharePoint search including:
Automatic Metadata – To avoid any confusion or ambiguous Meta tagging, FAST metadata generation occurs while the content is being created. Now you have terms and language that are familiar to your team and often unique to your business.
Relevance Tuning – Relevancy is key. You have a specific topic in mind when you search so why settle for receiving a slew of extra findings? This relevance is subjective among different users and locations in your company so FAST gives you the ability to fine tune your search model to the needs of different applications to benefit each user type or persona.
Contextual Matching – Think comprehensive. FAST highlights the context and intent of the query to give you the best results, all matched with terms and phrases that appear in the context of the matching text. After all, search is only as strong as its context and FAST captures these contextual results with precision to deliver a specific, superior search experience.
Visualizing Search Results – Why not see before you click? This speaks again to the productivity of FAST when you can see a search result before you click. Users can access thumbnails and preview images from search results so they can recognize the correct content quickly and with better context. Admins can add visual banners and apps with Visual Best Bets to pinpoint critical information for their users.
Backbone for Search-Driven Applications – FAST allows you to build search-driven apps for specific roles in your company. The apps gather specific content from defined sources and add structure to unstructured information and, as a result, specific user groups increase their productivity with a more contextual and interactive search experience.
Please see Fpweb.net’s extensive FAST overview for further benefits and features of FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint. It’s a new breed of Enterprise Search, but you won’t just find it anywhere.
It’s been called Google on Steroids. But as Uncle Ben told us ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ (or at least great resources) and it is this complex nature of FAST search that has caused Office 365 to look the other way. Yes, along with the deployment of custom solutions (such as Visual Web Parts), PowerPivot features, SQL Server Reporting, Services integration, Business Connectivity Services, Web Analytics, and site collections exceeding 100GB, Office 365 doesn’t support FAST Search Server.
Microsoft is well aware of how dynamic and essential this product is. That’s why they acquired it from a Norwegian company in early 2008 to bulk up the native SharePoint search features. And they want you to have it. But FAST Search Server 2010 is too much for a shared environment, and a dedicated environment is necessary.
Think of Office365 as a bit like a light switch that gets flipped and isn’t capable of dimming or adjusting. And while that’s sufficient for some smaller companies, enterprises and mid-sized companies need to think outside the box. The complexities of products like FAST Search are a plus because they allow for customizations and can be built upon. That’s why Microsoft has Gold certified partners like Fpweb.net who host dedicated SharePoint Clouds that harness these complexities and simplify the solution as much as possible with FLEXible customization.
A typical FAST Search Server for SharePoint 2010 installation requires multiple dedicated servers in a farm configuration. As the number of indexed items and users develops, the SharePoint server farm can scale to accommodate additional resource requirements. This is especially true when the goal is delivering FAST Search Server for Internet Sites where page load speed is critical. (Some SharePoint farms used to deploy the FAST Search Server product include as many as 40 dedicated servers.)
On top of being the leading provider of cloud hosting for Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Fpweb.net hosts FAST Search in the Cloud. We specialize in SharePoint hosting and deliver unmatched support and service for FAST Search Server hosting needs. With Managed Hosting, you get all the flexibility your business needs to customize servers and devices without having to troubleshoot, patch, monitor, backup or worry about the hardware and network. Our experts do all of that for you.
And your business has some serious benefits to look forward to when utilizing Cloud Hosting for FAST Search Server: Save money with reduced hosting costs and improved ROI; save more money with private cloud dedicated servers that cost less than in-house servers and don’t require you to maintain them; rapid deployment of IT resources means you’re working in no time; the backing of a technologically advanced network offers unmatched speed and resilience; better system performance means less downtime; and, as always, the Fpweb.net SharePoint Cloud comes with a responsive, expert support team.
To learn more about FAST Search Cloud Hosting, contact Fpweb.net and get your company back to thinking outside-the-box!