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Endeca Targets Faster Enterprise Search

Endeca Technologies announced a new version of its enterprise search platform this week that it says is better suited for the demands companies have of finding both structured and unstructured data. Endeca also released two search-based solutions for e-commerce and publishing based on its new McKinley Endeca Information Platform.

"This is a new direction that means we can offer bigger, faster search applications for less cost, not just for us, but for our partners," Paul Sonderegger, Endeca's chief strategist, told InternetNews.com. "The open, standards-based framework of McKinley, lets our partners deploy new types of search applications."

Sonderegger said the new direction for Endeca is as a provider and enabler of search applications. "It's like the difference between Google and Nike.com," he explained. "Can you find sneakers on Google? Sure you can. But if you want a size 9 black running shoe you go to Nike.com for more precise relevant results."

McKinley sports a new "MDEX Engine" technology designed to take advantage of 64-bit memory architectures to access large volumes of data at what Endeca says is "unprecedented speeds" tapping the latest multi-core processors such as Intel's recently announced Nehalem line of multi-core processors. .

Sonderegger said McKinley has been a two year engineering effort and over a hundred early customers have already been using an early version of the software. "We think we've leapfrogged the competition with the first platform for standards-based search applications," he said.

Unlike consumer search, where Google is the clear leader, there is no one dominant enterprise search provider. Endeca is in a battle with the likes of Autonomy, Microsoft's FAST and Google's enterprise Search Appliance for corporate customers.

Wrestling an intractable problem?

"They all have a different architecture," noted IDC enterprise search analyst Sue Feldman. "It's almost an intractable problem to provide information to enterprise users no matter what format it's in be it customized forms, documents or comments in an internal company blog," Feldman told InternetNews.com.

In many cases, Feldman said the challenge company's have is not the search engine's speed, but normalizing or cleaning the data in a way that makes the search engine effective. Endeca and its competitors have made progress. Even in this down economy, Feldman says enterprise search has been a bright spot. "Search becomes a way of automating knowledge work and keeping costs down," she said.

Feldman said Endeca's latest release sounds like it will be easier for developers to use and quicker to deploy new applications. "Endeca's been a leader in highly usable applications and it looks like this release builds on that," she said.

The Endeca Commerce Suite and Publishing Suite are the two new solutions released for McKinley. The Publishing Suite is an extension of Endeca's PageBuilder for McKinley. Sonderegger said company's like the Food Network are using Endeca's technology to power search at its HGTV.com site.

"It lets them offer a search application that give users more guidance," he said. "It's not just searching for a chicken recipe. For example, say you have a jar of capers. You can ask for a chicken recipe that uses capers and that can be prepared in 30 minutes."