In Comperio we are proud of our history as an advanced solution provider of FAST ESP, and as the world’s largest reseller of FAST ESP software. Comperio have been a partner and solution provider in FAST ESP since 2004, from the version titled FAST Data Search (FDS) 4.0 up to and including the current version FAST ESP 5.3, or FSIA / FSIS (Fast Search for Internal Applications and Fast Search for Internet Applications) as it’s called in the Microsoft suite.
FAST ESP was, and still is, an incredibly flexible and scalable enterprise search platform and is used by customers with sophisticated search needs and a significant requirement for updating the frequency, relevance adjustments, scalability and stability. The platform has very rich semantic and linguistic characteristics, and a wide range of connectors to the underlying systems, and connection points which can search and present relevant content adapted to the users context and device. These features generate revenue and/ or reduce costs for more than 2,600 customers worldwide that use or have used the FAST ESP platform.
FAST Search and Transfer was acquired by Microsoft in 2007. Following the acquisition, it became clear that FAST ESP will not be continuing as an independent cross-platform search engine. FAST ESP will however, exist in mainstream support until 2013 (2015 for customers with a License Grant), and extended support on all OS platforms until 2018 (2020 for License Grant customers).
During this period it is possible and safe to use and even develop new services on the FAST ESP search engine. Our team of Application Management Services (AMS) consultants have extensive experience in the FAST and FAST ESP platform – many of them formerly worked in consultancy, support or services in Fast Search and Transfer / Microsoft.
While Comperio’s AMS services can customise and sustain stable operation of customers on the FAST ESP platform, we also actively advise on search strategy, design, solution architecture and new search technology, as needs and technology evolve.
Our long-term plan with Comperio Front has been making customers less dependent on the underlying search engine, and the situation with FAST ESP shows that this has been a good strategy. For our customers with Comperio Front, we are now able to provide effective transitions to new technology platforms, as well as new corporate business models, and the search engine’s position as an information hub are preserved in Comperio Front.
When it comes to transitions to new technologies post the FAST ESP era, more choices and opportunities are opening up. For many traditional FAST ESP customers in e-commerce, catalog, classified ads and media, FAST for SharePoint is not necessarily a natural choice straight away, especially if they use anything other than Microsoft technology. Comperio has experience and dialogue with several customers on the transition to open source platforms and cloud services such as Solr, Elasticsearch, Amazon Cloud Search and also Google Custom Search – when called for.
That said, Microsoft plans to further use the advanced capabilities of FAST in their products, both in Office/SharePoint/Exchange/Office365, as well as in its search engine on the internet – Bing. Microsoft’s release of FAST Search for SharePoint 2010 is an example of this and the next generation of Microsoft products will show this more clearly. For many FAST ESP customers in the business market, it is natural to follow this path, as long as it is possible to build the solutions they want. And this is also where Comperio Front comes in, as a building block to make it possible to customize the search based solutions in SharePoint in a flexible manner.
Microsoft’s development team for search, or FAST R&D department, is based in Torggata, Oslo, and works closely with both the Bing and the Microsoft Office Division development teams.
With Comperio’s close affiliation from a geographical, historical and technical perspective, we continue to follow the FAST / Microsoft team in their development (and vice-versa) with technical and strategic dialogue constantly held.
But above anything else, we want to help our clients to great search experiences!