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Microsoft Announces FAST Search Roadmap


Microsoft Announces FAST Search Roadmap

Last April, Microsoft completed its acquisition of the Norwegian search developer, FAST Search and Transfer. Since then, teams from both companies have been working to further integrate the two products. Last week, at the FASTforward’09 event, Microsoft revealed some of the vision for FAST technologies moving forward.

First, two products were announced: FAST Search for SharePoint and FAST Search for Internet Business. The first product will bring the high-end search capabilities of FAST to SharePoint Server's collaboration, portal, and content management workloads. The second will be focused on providing search for sophisticated web applications. Both products will be released in beta later this year, which means their final form will be part of the 2010 wave of SharePoint products and technologies.

In the meantime, Enterprise CAL customers can take advantage of the third announcement made last week: ESP for SharePoint. This offering is not a new product, per se, but rather a licensing path that enables customers to take advantage of FAST ESP with existing Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) implementations, with a defined licensing path to FAST Search for SharePoint when it is released.

It's interesting to me that this roadmap suggests that Microsoft is keeping FAST as a completely separate, though complementary, set of product offerings, rather than integrating them into out-of-box offerings or "premium" versions of SharePoint Server. I expect this has much to do with the timing of the acquisition and integration activities, which occurred well into the SharePoint 14 development cycle. It will be interesting to see if any of the FAST capabilities manage to sneak into the core search functionality of SharePoint. Without a doubt, FAST brings powerful enhancements to SharePoint, and further moves SharePoint into the "no brainer" category for enterprise search.

Tobias Zimmergren on Microsoft Online

Swedish SharePoint MVP Tobias Zimmergren posted a fantastic article about Microsoft Online Services. The blog posting provides an overview of MOS functionality and administration. I would reprint it here in its entirety, but it's so detailed that, instead, I recommend you check it out directly.

Windows Connections: Wearing more than just a SharePoint hat?

Next month, I'll be delivering several SharePoint sessions, along with my colleague and fellow MVP Randy Williams, at Windows Connections in Orlando. I really love the Windows Connections event, because it delivers really excellent sessions that go beyond the "Microsoft spin" and shares real-world, down and dirty information that could only come from experienced consultants. Another reason I love Windows Connections is that it is the perfect event for IT Pros who wear more than one hat. In one event, you can jump between best-of-class speakers in the Exchange/Unified Communications track, the Windows track (which covers Active Directory, security, Vista, Server 2008, and virtualization), the Green IT and IT Management sessions, and of course the SharePoint workshops. Few of us are "lucky" enough to wear only one hat, and keeping up with the technology is so tough. This event is the right one for experienced IT professionals who are responsible for one or more Microsoft technologies.

If you're coming to Connections, look for me! I'll guide a full-day preconference that is designed to jump start your SharePoint implementation, with particular focus on the collaboration scenario. You'll learn everything you need to maximize the out-of-box and code-free customized functionality of Windows SharePoint Services and MOSS and Office 2007. I'll also host a SharePoint Governance session, which goes beyond the typical Microsoft white papers to dig into exactly how you can design and support a governed SharePoint service, and how to "sell" governance in your organization. My other session will expose the intermediate and advanced tricks to implementing and managing document libraries, to get away from traditional file shares. Randy will dive into the SharePoint "engine," talk about what you as an IT Pro need to know about SharePoint development, and how to fit SharePoint into your disaster recovery plans.

Join me at Windows Connections, March 15-18 at the Hyatt Grand Cypress in Orlando! There are some killer discounts and "freebies" so check it out today!

SharePoint Connections: All SharePoint - Dev and IT Pro

The following week, SharePoint Connections features several tracks of content for developers and IT pros. The event has a rich set of sessions for IT pros supporting SharePoint, and is particularly great for devs, since it is co-located with the DevConnections events covering ASP.NET, Visual Studio, SQL, and other topics. SharePoint Connections runs March 22-25 at the JW Marriott in Orlando.

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