As many of you may know Microsoft acquired FAST Search and Transfer in 2008 for a sizable sum of money ($1.2 billion). For those of you that aren’t familiar with FAST, there were a fairly successful search and indexing company that was used by Enterprise end user companies. From the onset there seemed to be a real desire to marry FAST with Microsoft SharePoint and after some twists and turns that is still the strategy – see this Beyond Search blog entry for more insights.
Certainly it makes sense for Microsoft to integrate FAST with SharePoint but what about the rest of the Enterprise? Yes, Microsoft wants to have all unstructured content be stored in SharePoint but since that hasn’t happened yet and it may never be a fully realized goal – it is important to have Enterprise search be heterogeneous.
One thing that many readers may not know is that FAST did a great job partnering with storage vendors including EMC and HDS – just to name two of the biggest. It is uncertain what is going to happen with these relationships based on the fact that Microsoft seems to be focused on making FAST work only with Microsoft products.
It appears that Microsoft still really doesn’t know what to do with its consumer or Enterprise search strategy. They have a ton of smart people, lots of resources at their finger tips, etc, etc. However, search software seems to be a perpetual stumbling block.