the number five reflected in a cylinder
These top five questions and answers about Google Search Appliance can serve as a guide for your future planning. PHOTO: chintermeyer

Just about a year ago, Google announced plans to retire its popular Google Search Appliance (GSA).

No new systems can be purchased. Renewals will end in 2018 and Google will end support for the well-known yellow search box in March 2019. 

With no firm replacement options from Google, this decision has left many customers wondering – “What now?” 

Next Steps for GSA Customers

I’ve been hearing quite a lot of chatter at industry events, on social media, and through surveys and other communications indicating that there are still a lot of GSA customers in limbo with lingering questions.  

To have a successful GSA migration, it is vital that customers fully understand the situation and have all of their questions answered.  So let's address the top five in hopes it will serve as a guide for your future planning.

1. How long can I renew my current GSA?

As of right now, current customers with GSAs that are eligible for renewal during the 2017 calendar year will be able to renew for a final one-year period. It’s important to note Google has not indicated if there will be an early renewal option before the end of 2017 for renewals due in early 2018 (for coverage through December 31, 2018). Once your final license expires, your GSA will soon cease to work. The critical date for a GSA customer is the license expiration date.

2. When should I start migration planning?

Start early so you can avoid unexpected delays and focus on new search initiatives beyond the GSA. Based on a survey we conducted of hundreds of GSA customers last summer, 78 percent said they either had migration plan yet or would like to plan but are not sure where to start.

3. Is Google Springboard the GSA’s cloud replacement?

According to an official Google blog, Springboard is a set of apps that “searches quickly and easily across all of your information in Google Apps including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, Contacts and more.” This is a natural extension of Google’s decision to integrate the GSA's search into its G-Suite universe of enterprise products. Google has not made any further announcements about its GSA’s cloud replacement.

4. Is there a search engine that can replicate all of my GSA features?

Most of today's search engines support nearly all of the features supported by the GSA. The GSA directly supports more methods of authentication (AuthN) and authorization (AuthZ) than most proprietary and open source search engines.

However, virtually all search engines can be configured for document-level security with some additional component integration. Other GSA features like KeyMatches and Suggested Queries are actually independent of the search engine. Other search engines either support these ancillary features directly or they can be implemented within a search application itself.

Most customers buy the GSA because they want their enterprise search to work “just like Google” and we believe that's where enterprise search is heading today.  And most often, regardless of the search engine used, a combination of proper implementation, optimal configurations, and continuous tuning are required to achieve that goal.  

5. What are my options for migrating from the GSA?

There are many search products on the market promising a simple migration from the GSA. So what’s right for you? 

Well, every organization is using the GSA differently so there is no one-size-fits-all answer. As explained in this past article, it’s best to thoroughly assess all of your requirements and from there prepare a solid roadmap for selecting and implementing the optimal replacement solution. But, the clock is ticking, so make sure you do it soon.

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