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Produce Report: FAST Data Search

This is an off-site copy of the corresponding Product report page on the website, and it is designed to allow you to comment on the product and/or the reporting. For more information about the topic of search and tools visit where you can browse many articles, in-depth analysis and overviews of external resources.

FAST Data Search

comes in Professional, Enterprise and SST versions.

Product Information

Platform: Linux, Solaris, Windows, HP-UX and AIX, remote search service available.
Price: contact company, product line starts at $120,000

FAST (Fast Search and Transfer) has purchased the AltaVista Enterprise Search business from Overture, which will retain the Web portal search engine. This move is eerily reminiscent of the breakup of Inktomi, with the Web portal search engine purchased by Yahoo! and the enterprise search engine (Ultraseek) by Verity, and the recent sale of the FAST web portal AllTheWeb to Overture. However in this case, the AltaVista Enterprise Search Engine will be supported but not developed further, and customers will be encouraged to move to the Fast Enterprise Search platform.

February 25, 2003: FAST Selling Web Search to Overture, Concentrating on Enterprise Search

Fast Search and Transfer, a Norwegian search engine company, has announced that it's selling its Internet Business unit to Overture. The assets sold include the webwide search engine, the search portal, and the partner services which provide search to such sites as Lycos. Overture, which recently purchased the search company AltaVista, is a leading pay-for-placement Web search engine. FAST plans to concentrate on enterprise search products, which are currently used on large corporate web sites, government sites and Intranets. See the press release for more details.


  • Distributed search engine architecture
  • Can scale to millions of pages and hundreds of queries per second.
  • High-speed robot crawler
  • Interfaces with standard databases including Oracle
  • Handles XML hierarchies
  • File formats include PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and many others using Stellant (INSO) filters
  • Near-real-time index updating for breaking news and auction sites
  • Includes categorization features
  • Supports fifty languages and many character encodings including Asian double-byte Chinese, Korean, and Japanese
  • Linguistic query features include stemming, and spellchecking
  • Supports synonym lists, manual recommendation and business rules
  • Search reporting and log analysis
  • Extensive APIs provide excellent customization options
  • Browser admin allows search administrators to perform maintenance and some configuration.

Articles and Reviews

  • FAST tunes up enterprise search software InfoWorld, March 24, 2003 by Scarlet Pruitt
    Version 3.2 of the FAST search engine suite adds search engine log analysis in near-real-time, management tools for delegating search adjustments to content editors and business managers, and additional document categorization and clustering. Whit Andrews of Gartner Research is quoted as saying that while the upgrades will not change the market landscape, FAST is "absolutely going in the right direction and has a robust and mature product." He also noted that corporations have had trouble learning about enterprise search , which has hindered the industry "spectacularly".
  • CareerBuilder Passes Google For Another Search Engine InformationWeek, January 22, 2003 by Tony Kontzer
    CareerBuilder, a recruitment and job-finding service, was limited by its original search engine, Microsoft Index Server. After assessing a number of search engines, including the Google Search Appliance, they choose FAST Data Search, mainly so they could adjust search results and provide pay-for-position services. The speed of the FAST search engine, up to 140 searches per second, and near-real-time index updates were other considerations in the choice.
  • eBay to Enhance Site Performance with FAST Data Search Press release, August 16, 2001
    FAST announces that eBay will be installing the FAST search engine, though no details or timetable are given. [note: as of July 2003, this has not happened].

  • FAST Search Targets Enterprise Clients and Mid-Range Webmasters with Site Search Products; June 25, 2001, by Andrew Goodman
    Describes FAST search software features such as language support, technical robustness and scalability. New remote search service provides site search and inclusion in the Lycos index in one package.

  • Leveraging Corporate Information with Plug-and-Play Intranet Search Dell Computer Corp. White Paper, 2001 by Oystein Olsen
    Describes the value of Intranet searching and how the FAST search engine can fit into an Intranet.

  • Links to articles about AllTheWeb and Lycos.

  • Lycos Gets Fast With MP3 Wired News, February 1, 1999 by Ronald Warren Deutsch
    Describes the Lycos MP3 search site built with the FAST Search technology.



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