Thursday, January 20, 2005

Coveo Enterprise Search

A couple of days ago, I installed Coveo Enterprise Search (Andrew Connell, Angus Logan and Mark Harrisson already blogged about it). Coveo is a search engine which you can incorporate within your own website (These are also the guys who created Copernic).
First the things I like:
  • Very good web based administration interface, very easy to use - I already thought that the one for MondoSearch was good but this one is still a little bit better ...

  • Possible to index file shares, websites and Exchange Server (5.5 and 2000 - I'm going to check with their support to see if also indexes Exchange 2003)
  • When you add a website to be indexed you can tell Coveo to include or exclude certain paths

  • Configure which system fields associated with documents are taken into account when generating the index

  • Define per documenttype if the entire document or only the file information is indexed. To full text index a document a document converter has to be available (Supported File Formats: Adobe PDF Files, HTML Documents, Microsoft Word Documents, Microsoft Excel Worksheets, Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations, Rich Text Format, WordPerfect Documents, Text Documents and Zip Archives). You can also write extra document converters for custom file types. PDFs,HTML, TXT & RTF, Office documents (xls,doc, ppt), WordPerfect documents are fully indexed by default

  • Possible to index XML references - this allows you to index content stored within your database

  • Possible to define top results for certain search queries

  • Possible to fine tune the ranking mechanism

  • Coveo also offers a desktop search engine which you can download separately but the version which is distributed together with the enterprise version allows you to link to the indexes which are created by the Coveo Enterprise Search Crawler

  • This is a very cheap solution for adding search capabilities to your own site, under 5000 documents/html pages is free. If you take a look at a comparable product such as MondoSoft, you will notice that Coveo is a competitive alternative up untill 30000 documents/html pages in the index. MondoSearch uses a per CPU license model, while Coveo uses the number of items in index as differentiator in their pricing model


  • Things I didn't like:
  • There's no .Net interface available for creating your own search user interface. Coveo uses COM components and most of the samples for customizing the search interface are written in classic ASP

  • Coveo becomes very expensive once you start to index a lot of documents, so when you want to index file shares or Exchange servers you are probably better off with a solution such as SharePoint Portal Server which does not only provide you with search capabilities but also with some extra features. If you want to index more then 250000 documents with Coveo, you will have to pay
    34999 USD, this is roughly comparable with a 2 server SharePoint setup with 400 client access licenses (CALs). (For more details about pricing check out http://www.coveo.com/en/enterprise-search/buy.shtml


  • I actually tested it for searching a site created with MS CMS and I think it did a pretty decent job, ... however I don't know if it actually handles all the logic contained within MS CMS (security, workflow,...). At first it seemed that it had problems crawling the resource gallery of MS CMS but once I directed it through a crawlpage that we created for MondoSearch it managed to crawl the resource galleries as well. I guess that if you want actually use the product in one of your own CMS projects you will have to do a thorough evaluation and compare it with other alternatives such as SharePoint and MondoSearch.

    3 comments:

    Euan said...

    I have installed it on my MCMS site and it is very good. Better than dtSearch. I am fairly disappointed with dtSearch actually.

    All the points above I would definately agree with. Especially the web based interface.

    I just wish it had the ability to integrate to MCMS security to filter search results.

    Dan said...

    Note that 2 years later, Coveo for SharePoint is still a homerun, as proven by the household names who now use Coveo to power SharePoint search. Coveo has added .NET support, pricing is very reasonable (especially compared to other search vendors), and Coveo now offers OCR and patented Audio/Video search support.

    This blog comment only scratches the surface of what Coveo offers, so definitely take a closer look if you need alternative search to SharePoint 2003 or MOSS 2007, or of course if you are in the market for full Enterprise Search.

    -Dan
    Coveo

    Anonymous said...

    Hi Euan

    Do you have the original Coveo Enterprise Search for MCMS .exe file? I would appreciate it if you send me a copy please.

    My email address is: urtoasted_oz@yahoo.com.au

    I need to set up a search feature for my mcms website but can't find the free coveo version.

    Thanks for your help.

    Regards,

    Yoshi