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Lucid Imagination has announced the latest version of its commercially supported Lucene/Solr distribution, LucidWorks Platform 2.0. The release is squarely focused on putting open-source search inside the enterprise, and despite what you may have heard, Lucid Imagination wants to make it clear it is not an enterprise search vendor.

LucidWorks Is Not Enterprise Search

In the decade since its creation, Lucene/Solr has become one of the most popular open-source projects and made implementing search accessible to organizations of all sizes. Despite the features and large number of installs, some enterprises still hesitate to adopt an open source solution -- no vendor to call if things go horribly wrong, limited features for operational support and lack of pre-built integrations -- it does not give cautious technology leaders a warm fuzzy feeling. There are options.

Lucid Imagination offers a fully commercially supported distribution of Lucene/Solr, Lucid Works Platform, and the latest release makes using open source search an even more viable option for enterprise customers. The enhancements in LucidWorks 2.0 focus on three core themes:

  • operational support for enterprise environments
  • big data support
  • value added enhancements to Apache Lucene/Solr 4

Peter Tait, Chief Marketing Officer, and Grant Ingersoll, Chief Scientist, for Lucid Imagination provided details on how the company is positioning LucidWorks and what’s new in the latest release.

One of the most unexpected facts Tait had regarding LucidWorks was not related to feature enhancements – LucidWorks is not an enterprise search product. According to Tait,

With this release we no longer refer to ourselves as enterprise search. We have always been a platform for people building search or search-based applications, which is fundamentally different from what has been traditionally perceived as the enterprise search market. With that said, if you look at the Lucene/Solr features and market footprint of thousands of installations already, it would be a very significant market player.”

Huh? Luckily, I speak fluent marketing, so I will translate. Lucid Imagination wants to position its product as more flexible, extensible and suitable for building search applications than the usual monolithic enterprise search solution. This will be an attractive approach for organizations that have struggled customizing or extending a search solution.

No Need to Be Nervous About Open Source Search

Lucid Imagination has been committed to making open source search enterprise option since its inception. The latest release of LucidWorks demonstrates that continued commitment. The company implemented several enhancements designed to make it easier to adopt and manage Lucene/Solr-based LucidWorks in an enterprise environment. Version 2.0 features a new administrative console that allows administrators to more efficiently configure the environment and reduces the likelihood of error due to editing configuration files manually.

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In addition, the release includes:

  • improved security
  • built-in upgrade tools
  • pre-built connectors to connect for common enterprise data sources such as SharePoint
  • a standardized monitoring interface and instrumentation to allow integration with enterprise management and monitoring tools
  • built-in log search and indexing tools

It is also now possible to deploy LucidWorks platform to the cloud, which is an increasingly important requirement in many organizations.

Beyond operational improvements, LucidWorks 2.0 also tackles another enterprise concern -- growing data sizes. As organizations accumulate large volumes of diverse data, many are exploring search to act as an interface to that data. LucidWork 2.0 provides pre-built connectors for databases, filesystems, Microsoft Sharepoint CMS Search, Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) and Amazon EC2 S3 cloud storage. The platform also includes a standard connector framework that allows organizations or vendors to create their own integrations.

Lucid Imagination has also introduced a number of value-added features in Lucid Works 2.0 that do not exist in the core Lucene/Solr platform such as REST API, which allows you to automate many integration, configuration and operations tasks. A detailed list of capabilities in LucidWorks that are not available in the standard Apache Lucene/Solr distribution is available.

LucidWorks Platform 2.0 is available now for download. Have you had an opportunity to evaluate the software? Are you planning on upgrading an existing implementation? Let us know your thoughts.