Endeca announced the McKinley release of its Information Access Platform yesterday, Monday, March 23. The company says the new platform is an enterprise search innovation based on a fundamentally new architecture for building standards-based search applications. The new platform wasn’t the only release, though. The company separately announced the release of the Endeca Commerce Suite and the Endeca Publishing Suite.
This release is a big deal for Endeca. Paul Sonderegger, Endeca’s chief strategist, says, "This is two years in the making for us."
"We saw our customers working with larger and larger volumes of content… We needed to build larger search applications but with sub-second response time," says Sonderegger. The new platform is built for rapid development and maintenance of search applications that offer the interactive Guided Navigation user experience across the full range of structured and unstructured enterprise data.
Sonderegger says Endeca was able to get a pre-release of hardware from Intel, which he says gave the company an advantage in being able to develop its new platform for the next generation of processing power. Endeca redesigned the core data storage architecture of the engine, exploiting 64-bit memory architectures to access large amounts of data quickly. The redesigned engine is optimized to unlock the scale and performance made possible by the disruptive computing power available from today’s rapidly evolving multi-core CPU platforms.
One of Endeca’s customers has been putting the McKinley release of Information Access Platform to use for a while now. Endeca stepped in to help Financial Time’s NewsSift.com get up and running. Financial Times was looking to create a differentiated site that would pull from about 8,000 different semi-structured feeds, and throw in semantic web content. The company had attempted to get the site up and running with two other vendors and failed. That was where Endeca stepped in. NewsSift is now in its first few weeks of operation, and so far things seem to be going well, allowing users and analysts to "cut, sort, filter, slice, and dice" information as Sonderegger puts it.
Among the many things Endeca hoped to achieve with the McKinley release was to provide a product that allowed the company’s partners to build plug-ins, and help create an even better product. Basically, Sonderegger says Endeca’s mission with the Information Access Platform can be summed up this way: "A platform for building bigger, faster search applications at a lower cost with an open framework."
Even with the massive amount of time and money that has gone into the McKinley release, it isn’t the only big release this week. Accompanying the IAP are the Endeca Commerce and Publishing Suites. The two suites were designed with many of the same ideas in mind, for separate customer bases. The Commerce Suite is for customers with goods to sell online. The Publishing Suite is aimed at media customers.
John Andrews, Endeca’s vice president of industry solutions, says using the Endeca Publishing Suite’s Workbench will "put the power into the hands of the publisher or the editor" to build the site. The same goes for the Commerce Suite, which aims to let the decision makers at companies control their own sites, rather than be subject to the IT department’s schedule. "If the changes on your site respond to the IT department’s schedule and not the market forces, that’ a disadvantage," says Andrews.
Andrews says there are a number of advantages to using the Commerce or Publishing Suite. "The seamless integration with our search engine marketing module" is one way Endeca hopes to set itself apart from its competitions. "It’s important for [customers’] content to be found," he adds, which Endeca hopes to help with by using a sitemap generator and SEO functionality.
The McKinley Release of Endeca’s IAP represents a hefty investment on the company’s part, but will also cost customers no insignificant amount of money. The IAP’s price structure starts in the low six-figures, and goes well into the seven-figure range, depending on factors like the amount of traffic at a site. As Sonderegger says, companies looking for a new tool for their public facing websites are hoping to increase revenue, and he thinks the McKinley release can help companies do just that with a lower overall cost of ownership, and with a responsive, customizable experience.