Vivisimo search product simplifies index replication

Velocity melds a search engine, content integrator and clustering engine, report says

Enterprise search vendor Vivisimo is launching this week a version of its application that can more easily replicate indexes across servers, allowing users to complete searches even when one machine crashes, company officials say.

The new version of the search engine, Velocity 5.5, allows administrators to copy an instance of an index onto additional servers through a simple point-and-click interface. This can be done in minutes, while accomplishing the task with application programming interface configurations can take days, according to Vivisimo.

"The novelty here is you can do it without having to do any kind of API work," says Jerome Pesenti, chief scientist and co-founder of the company, which is in Pittsburgh, and introduced its search product in 2004. "You don't have to go deep down in the software and figure out how things are organized and write some code to do that."

Velocity 5.5 also enhances some user features. The product can suggest alternative queries for misspellings, word stemming (reducing words to their stem or root form), alternative translations and synonyms. Sometimes, names have many spellings if they are transliterated from foreign languages, and Velocity 5.5 can expand a query to include all spellings.

The new version also supports natural-language queries and searches involving word proximity or date ranges.

Vivisimo says its search application can be fully deployed in enterprises within 90 days, less time than it takes with some other vendors.

Customers include Cisco Systems, Eli Lilly , the National Library of Medicine , Pfizer , the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Social Security Administration.

U.S. News & World Report began using Velocity in October and was able to fully deploy the application within a week, with one exception: Velocity is still unable to effectively search LexisNexis, says Jill Konieczko, director of information and research services for the magazine in Washington, D.C. She expects that problem to be resolved soon.

"We're still refining it. It's not entirely perfect. Part of it is because LexisNexis is kind of new to this," says Konieczko, who is a former LexisNexis employee. "The way they store their data in a legacy system made it that much harder for Vivisimo to crawl it."

Konieczko said her staff expects that queries should be answered within two seconds, but often they are answered much faster. The ability to replicate an index across multiple servers should improve speed, she says.

"The response time is quite significant," she says. "Right now we have seven [data] sources. I can imagine for other clients who have even more resources it will be an even more obvious [improvement in] response time."

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