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FAST Search Will Be a Windows-Only Product

Microsoft plans to eventually discontinue offering its standalone versions of FAST enterprise search products for Linux and Unix.

The decision was announced on Thursday by Bjørn Olstad, a Microsoft distinguished engineer who leads the company's Enterprise Search Group. In a blog post, Olstad explained that Microsoft plans to include the FAST search technology in its 2010-branded products (such as Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010). However, those products "will be the last to include a search core that runs on Linux and UNIX."

The announcement appears to imply that users, in the distant future, will access FAST search through Windows only, although the product will still search across Linux- and Unix-based machines.

"We will always interoperate with non-Windows systems on both the front- and back-end," Olstad wrote. "Our search solutions will crawl and index content stored on Windows, Linux, and UNIX systems, and our UI controls will work with UI frameworks running on any operating system."

Microsoft will support its standalone FAST ESP (Enterprise Search Platform) 5.3 product, which includes the cross-platform search core, throughout its product lifecycle. Extended support for ESP 5.3 will end on July 16, 2018, according to Microsoft's FAST support lifecycle Web page. After that time, users who want to run FAST search on Linux and Unix systems will have the options of either using a Windows-based product or a cloud-based service, Olstad explained.

A customer upgrade program for using the hosted service, or a Windows-based deployment of FAST search, has been started, according to Olstad. He directed Microsoft's customers to their account representatives for the details.

Integrated FAST search products likely will appear in June when Microsoft Office 2010 is released. Back in February of 2009, Microsoft unveiled FAST Search for SharePoint and FAST Search for Internet Business and indicated that FAST Search for SharePoint will be available "with the release of the next version of Microsoft Office" (meaning Office 2010).

Microsoft acquired its FAST enterprise search technology when it bought Oslo, Norway-based Fast Search & Transfer ASA in April of 2008. Olstad is the former chief technology officer of Fast Search & Transfer.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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