Getting data out of SharePoint is not easy, we all know that.
Here is a common situation:
You have a brand new SharePoint implementation, and have just migrated several large sets of documents into it for your employees.
Everybody loves it, but they have an over-arching complaint. No one knows where any of the documents they need are … and they cannot find them.
You know that SharePoint offers excellent search capability to allow users to find documents, but your organization currently operates a well-established search solution. The time and expense of the configuration, training, and maintenance of another search system is just not practical. Management wants to keep what you have.
“The time and expense of the configuration, training, and maintenance of another search system is just not practical”
Although, as I stated above, SharePoint is notorious for its resistance to giving up data for aggregation into external search indexes. Coding a custom solution is possible, but who has time for that?
Enter ACE by Discover Technologies.
ACE is Discover Technologies’ Advanced Connector Engine.
In a nutshell, ACE is a powerful tool for the discovery and extraction of SharePoint content. But what is really special about it, is the framework it provides which allows you to take what it finds in SharePoint, and get it into your existing search solution … no matter what it is.
“…a powerful tool for the discovery and extraction of SharePoint repository content.”
When I say “no matter what”, I mean it. If you use Solr/Lucene, you can search your SharePoint data. If you use HP IDOL, you can search your SharePoint data. Maybe you have a legacy FAST search implementation? Even you, can search your SharePoint data.
“This is all great.” you might say, “But how does it manage to do all of this?”
ACE was developed by some smart people who have a ton of experience in SharePoint, and search technologies. Their intimate knowledge of the structure and workings of SharePoint, enabled them to design a product that is flexible, scalable, and powerful.
ACE runs as a Windows service and has three parts to it.
Discovery starts by finding documents and information in SharePoint using a discover provider to parse through various sites, lists, libraries, etcetera. For lack of a better term, a “list” of your data is then created.
Process then takes over and uses the list created during discovery to call appropriate process providers. These process providers are the parts which connect to SharePoint, extract the data, and prepare it for the next step. They support hundreds of file formats.
Index, this is where the magic happens. Index providers have been designed which take the previously discovered and processed SharePoint data, and format it to conform to the requirements of various search indexes. Index providers currently exist to support HP IDOL, FAST, and Discover Technologies own Discover Search Server.
Extensibility is the beauty of ACE. An API provides developers the ability to create a custom index provider to suit the needs of their search solution.
Using the API, developers can interact with ACE to pull processed data. They can then manipulate and format the data they receive in any way they wish. This allows for the creation of any number of index providers for existing solutions or custom requirements. All of this with relatively low effort.
Administrators and developers can finally stop managing and maintaining both a standalone search solution, and a SharePoint search solution.
ACE can make searching SharePoint data in your existing search solution a reality.