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Exalead Offers a Cloud(y)View of Information Access
by
Posted On October 2, 2008
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Last week, at the Enterprise Search Summit West in San Jose, Calif. (www.enterprisesearchsummit.com/west2008), the French-based search company Exalead announced its official expansion into the North American market, a new corporate website (www.exalead.com) with a lot more information (case studies, white papers, etc.), and a new product line it is calling CloudView. The company says the CloudView family of products is an evolution of its exalead one:enterprise line, with a new architecture designed to better adapt to the scaling requirements of today’s enterprises and high-traffic, consumer-facing websites. The new CloudView family of products will be available starting in 4Q 2008.

Exalead says that companies now have to deal with an "enterprise content cloud" of data. "Data exists locally on a variety of devices, behind the firewall with databases and legacy systems and outside the firewall with SaaS applications and on the Web. That’s a whole lot of data from a whole lot of different sources" (http://corporateblog.exalead.com).

The industrywide shift to housing data in a large number of silos, or "data clouds," has created the demand for information access platforms with better connectivity, better interoperability, and better scalability—just what the new CloudView promises to deliver.

Exalead worked with many existing customers of its exalead one:enterprise 4.6 product, and, based on their input and the kinds of issues encountered, made the decision to completely rearchitect the product for its 5.0 release—now branded CloudView (which was chosen to sound friendly, open, and approachable).

"We are building our new platform from the ground up so that it will also offer our partners, such as systems integrators and value added resellers, the ability to build out high end solutions to their customers," says François Bourdoncle, Exalead co-founder. "Our key objective is to allow developers to extend the reach of business applications to unstructured content."

Exalead plans to continue to serve the B2C, B2B, and OEM markets. The new product lineup will be CloudView 5.0, Desktop Edition; CloudView 5.0, Search Edition; and
CloudView 5.0, OEM Edition.

As for the specifics of what’s new in 5.0, here’s a brief preview of what will be offered: 

  • Unlimited scalability and high performance 
  • Business-level tuning and management of the search experience 
  • Streamlined administration UI 
  • Full traceability within the product 
  • WYSIWYG configuration of indexing and search workflows 
  • Advanced configuration management system (with built-in version control) 
  • Improvements in the relevancy model 
  • Provision for additional connectors with simple and advanced APIs for third-party implementations

Paris-based Exalead, founded in 2000, has seen significant growth, especially over the past 2 years, based on its enterprise search product line. In 2007, Exalead doubled its number of employees and tripled its revenues. Exalead now has 140 employees worldwide in subsidiaries including France, the U.S., U.K./Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. It has 170 customers worldwide.

Exalead plans a dramatic expansion in North America with this launch. Exalead intends to grow the existing North American staff by five times and the revenue by more than 10 times by the end of 2009. Paul Doscher was hired in June 2008 as the new North American CEO of Exalead, tasked with leading the charge into this market and the expansion of the team. Doscher was formerly CEO of open source Business Intelligence (BI) leader JasperSoft and has spent 30 years in the IT industry, including experience with VMware and Oracle.

Earlier this year, search expert Stephen Arnold named Exalead "a company to watch." He says that "The firm has a platform that shares many of the characteristics of low-cost scaling and high performance with Google." And he stresses that this stands out in the industry. "Most enterprise search and content processing systems cannot handle billions of documents—Exalead does. Exalead is one of a very small number of companies with a scalable technology and a robust search and content processing system that delivers millisecond response from commodity hardware. Consequently, Exalead’s search and content processing solutions give the company a technical advantage over vendors whose systems choke when thousands of users simultaneously want access to information."

As evidence of the capabilities of its technology, Exalead says that one of its customers processes almost a petabyte of data and updates 2% of this amount daily in real time. It also claims that 100 million unique visitors a month already access information through Exalead technology.

One large customer in the U.K. can’t say enough good things about the choice of Exalead—its search solution was up and running in just 3 months. "After performing an extensive three-month technical evaluation of the major enterprise search software vendors we found that Exalead had the best technology, vision and ability to fulfill our demanding requirements," says Peter Brooks-Johnson, product director of Rightmove, a fast-growing U.K. real estate website. "Not only does Exalead require minimal hardware to work effectively, but Exalead has a strong, accessible support team and a culture that takes pride in its customer implementations."

If you’d like more details about Rightmove’s implementation, check out the video interview with Brooks-Johnson on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/ExaleadSpotlight).

Doscher says that by early 2009 there will be a fully functional, downloadable version of CloudView available for a 30-day evaluation.

Exalead’s public web search engine is still available at www.exalead.com/search. It has automatic classification and faceted results navigation for 8 billion webpages, 1 billion web images, and 4 million videos. But, unfortunately for news folks like me, it doesn’t offer a special news search feature.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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