AT ORACLE: Interview
Better Enterprise SearchBy Jeff Erickson
Oracle Secure Enterprise Search improves productivity with a Google-like experience.
Typing your query into Google or Yahoo! has become the natural way to find publicly available information. Oracle Secure Enterprise Search offers a similar experience for searching enterprise resources while maintaining the integrity of sensitive information. Oracle Magazine's Jeff Erickson spoke to Vishu Krishnamurthy, Oracle senior director of product management for SQL, text, and XML development, about the latest release of the product. The following is an excerpt from that interview. Download a podcast of the full interview at oracle.com/magcasts.
Oracle Magazine: How is enterprise search different from internet search?
Krishnamurthy: The internet is largely composed of public-facing HTML documents, many of which are hyperlinked, so it's easy for Google search engines and crawlers to get that information and ascertain its popularity.
Enterprise searches are different for several reasons. First, security: it's important to ensure that the user is allowed to access the information returned by the search engine. Second, the search engine has to search across diverse information formats. Third, the search engine has to get at enterprise data that is often hiding behind databases fronted by applications.
Oracle Magazine: What are some of the roadblocks to making information widely available across the enterprise?
Krishnamurthy: In most companies, information is highly protected by its owners. For example, in an HR application system, people go to great lengths to make sure access to that application is audited and tracked, and that security and authorization policies are in place to prevent access by unauthorized users.
Even though a search engine may be secure, the owners of that HR information are still reluctant to give out their information to a search engine managed by a different group.
Oracle Magazine: How does Oracle Secure Enterprise Search make different enterprise datasources available to searchers?
Krishnamurthy: We built the notion of federation into the architecture of Oracle Secure Enterprise Search. For example, the search engine that crawls HR information is married closely to the HR application and can be managed and administered by HR.
We've married these individual search engines closer to the information source, and then we unify them through a single Oracle Secure Enterprise Search instance, which acts as a broker. It federates out the search requests to all of these various search engines, and then rolls the information back to the end user in a unified way.
Oracle Magazine: What are some new features in Oracle Secure Enterprise Search?
Krishnamurthy: In Oracle Secure Enterprise Search 10.1.8.2, a key new feature is clustering, which is a way of presenting categories to complement the search results hit list. We also introduced an Ajax-based user interface, Boolean searches, and metadata-restricted types of searches.
Oracle Magazine: What are Oracle partners doing with the product?
Krishnamurthy: We have partners within Oracle and partners external to Oracle. Our internal Oracle technology and applications partners are working on embedding Oracle Secure Enterprise Search within their Oracle application context. Our external partners add value to the product itself, by building connectors to datasources or adding navigation capabilities on top of Oracle Secure Enterprise Search.
Krishnamurthy: Oracle Secure Enterprise Search offers something very much like the Google experience, and it's secure enough for the enterprise. Within the enterprise, secure search quickly becomes a mission-critical service. People begin to use search engines on a daily basis to access a much wider range of information than they used to. They begin to make better decisions using more complete information. Their productivity increases because they spend less time looking for stuff and stop duplicating efforts. KMWorld acknowledged what we've done in our ability to address enterprise search.
Jeff Erickson is a senior editor with Oracle Publishing.