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Goodbye, Yellow Box Road

Replacing Google Search Appliance

Two years after its upcoming end-of-life date was announced, the final countdown is on for the venerable Google Search Appliance.

Introduced in 2002, the rack-mounted document indexing solution was Google’s first foray into business products. For years, it served as the default enterprise search platform for businesses large and small, providing some semblance of the “Google experience” for files scattered in internal and cloud systems.

And in less than a year, it will be gone for good.

The last GSA license agreements will wrap up in March 2019, and once the license agreement is done, the appliance no longer functions. In other words, we’re less than 10 months away from the end of the yellow box road.

That’s a fact that’s left many GSA users in the lurch. While the product’s EOL is part of a larger shift toward the cloud for Google, the Mountain View-based behemoth hasn’t released a cloud-based equivalent to GSA. (Google Cloud Search only covers the G Suite.) That means the companies still using GSA for enterprise search need an alternative … and fast.

Replacing Google Search Appliance: Key Requirements

Any viable GSA replacement needs to match the product’s core capabilities. That means a GSA alternative must, at the minimum:

  • Crawl and index Word® documents, emails, PDFs, spreadsheets and more
  • Connect to cloud-based and on-premise systems through a robust set of pre-built connectors
  • Access files inside or outside a company’s firewall
  • Allow users to filter search results to pin down exactly what they’re looking for

Of course, if a company is going through the pain of deploying a new enterprise search solution, they might as well look to upgrade beyond GSA’s relatively rudimentary functionality. For instance, Docxonomy – introduced in 2018 by veterans of Dell EMC enterprise content groups – offers:

  • The ability to identify content and text within video, image and audio files (not just metadata)
  • “Always on” searches, finding content that matches pre-defined patterns or tags and delivering results in a user-specific dashboard
  • The ability to share links to files inside or outside the team
  • Robust machine learning and natural language processing capabilities, ensuring results are contextualized and relevant to the searcher’s intent

What Does It Cost to Replace GSA?

Prices of Google Search Appliances vary wildly. Many are enterprise software deployments, featuring a long-term contract, a one-time fee of $10,000+ for setup and ongoing charges for licensing, maintenance and consulting. Others offer subscription models; Docxonomy, for example, is a low monthly investment, with no minimums, maximums or contracts. The right pricing model ultimately comes down to the depth of the buyer’s pockets and their tolerance for risk. (About 40% of content management projects fail, after all.)

What Do I Need to Do?

If you’re still using Google Search Appliance, you absolutely need to know when your license agreement ends – it won’t renew when it does. Even if you’re at one of the few companies whose GSA will still function into late 2018 or early 2019, the time to look at alternatives is now. Make sure you find a solution that can match everything you’ve gotten from GSA over the years … and ideally, add some new functionality on top of it.

Contact Us
Bryan Reynolds

Bryan Reynolds has over 25 years of experience as a successful entrepreneur, senior executive and managing consultant with core competencies focused on enterprise content management, mobility, business process engineering, imaging, and records management. Currently, Mr. Reynolds is the Founder and CEO of Docxonomy. The breadth of his knowledge includes the architectural design and development as well as project management of numerous global, large-scale document/records management initiatives across multiple industries including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical devices, financial services, insurance, healthcare and public sector.

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