Search Appliance Frequently Asked Questions

Why is MaxxCAT™ so much faster than other enterprise search solutions?

MaxxCAT™ is faster than software only search solutions because it executes on specialized hardware tuned to perform rapid search, not on a general purpose computer that was designed to do many other things such as run a display, handle user input, run databases, applications, serve files, etc. MaxxCAT™ is faster than all other hardware only solutions because it has been designed from the ground up to do its one specialized function extremely well. MaxxCAT™ runs on a modified Linux kernel that has been stripped of all of its unessential functions to free up the maximum amount of system resources to run queries. MaxxCAT™ has highly optimized proprietary algorithms for performing search queries and these algorithms interact with proprietary and tuned subsystems that manage the processor cores, the physical memory and the disk I/O. Furthermore, MaxxCAT™ is in a continuous engineering cycle to profile and improve performance of each subsystem of our high performance search appliances.

Why is MaxxCAT™ so much less expensive to purchase than other search appliance solutions?

We beat our competitors on raw price and leave them in the dust on performance/price. MaxxCAT™ uses high quality hardware components to get the maximum performance for commodity pricing. We keep the cost of our software down by keeping things simple. We offer a core set of required features and an open API to allow customers to easily adapt our technology to their requirements. This is contrasted with our competitor's approaches which include overloading their products with little-used and unnecessary features, complicated data structures which slow their solutions down, and stretch out the learning curve.

Why is MaxxCAT™ so much less expensive to own than other enterprise search solutions?

MaxxCAT™ leads the industry with a non-expiring, perpetual license which gives users full and unrestricted use of the search appliances, not some artificial document limit or constrained "licensing period". Furthemore, MaxxCAT™'s products are extremely simple to install and configure -- basic applications can be up in running in 15 minutes. That includes the time to configure the search appliance, set up the data crawls, index the data, and begin searching. MaxxCAT™ also offers a great upgrade path; any customer built solution will run on our entry level SB-255 without modification on any other product in our line. If a customer outgrows their initial configuration, it is a simple matter to add additional MaxxCAT™s to a cluster, or to migrate the solution onto a more powerful unit. And finally, MaxxCAT™ offers first class support and integration services that can get turn-key solutions built for customers at a faction of the costs of learning to integrate competitors products.

Why is a hardware approach to enterprise search better than a software approach?

Hardware search appliances have three major advantages over an enterprise software approach -- performance, simplicity and cost. Unquestionably, MaxxCAT™'s dedicated search hardware will outperform search software because every component in the machine has been designed to work together, as opposed to the software approach of buying a general purpose computer that is built to do many things, none of them optimally, and then applying software to it. A hardware approach is also much simpler. There is no installation, configuration, patching, upgrading, reading manuals, etc. The MaxxCAT™ has two connections -- power and network. Plug them in and you are ready to go. And the total cost of a software-only solution is much greater when factoring in the cost of the hardware to run it, as well as the cost of learning how to run, maintain and operate the software, EVEN IF THE SEARCH SOFTWARE IS FREE.

I've never heard of MaxxCAT™ before, who else is using it for search?

MaxxCAT™ has an international installed base that includes several branches of the US government, the largest pharmaceutical company in Italy, the largest airport management company in the EU, the largest technical publisher in the United States, the largest data center in India, several companies that have web-scale data as well as a wide variety of diverse businesses including retailers, manufacturers, and health care information specialists. Check out the case studies section of our website for some great enterprise search stories.

Why is MaxxCAT™ faster at searching data than SQL Databases?

SQL databases are designed for fast retrieval of small amounts of dynamic, structured data, usually at the granularity of numbers and short words. MaxxCAT™ is designed to handle much larger date elements -- phrases, paragraphs, pages, chapters, books, etc. Most of the free text in an SQL database is not indexed, and requires the database to scan each record to find a match. MaxxCAT™, on the other hand, indexes every word that it sees. That makes it very easy for MaxxCAT™ to quickly find every location of a word with a single scan of 1 record. Furthermore, MaxxCAT™ is focused on text processing, and takes advantage of statistics, pattern matching, compression and proprietary subsystems to maximize performance for it's single function -- rapid data retrieval.

Can we customize what the search appliance does?

Almost every aspect of the search appliance can be quickly customized by the user. MaxxCAT™ allows quick customization to the data collection side of the machine in terms of crawl schedules, crawl lists and database queries through either an API or the administrative screens. And because the standard output format is a basic JSON element, it is extremely easy to integrate the search results into web based applications using JavaScript and HTML. MaxxCAT™ also provides base templates that can get a customer up and running with no effort, and it is just a matter of customizing the template to achieve the desired user interface.

We don't host our own webserver -- how do we use a MaxxCAT™ search appliance?

MaxxCAT™ enterprise search appliances are standard 1U to 8U rack mountable units and can be hosted by any hosting company that offers co-location. Additionally, MaxxCAT™ operates redundant data centers and can provide hosting and managed support of the appliances as well.

We are not very technical -- how do we get MaxxCAT™ search appliances to work?

MaxxCAT™s are very simple to get going, but if you are too busy or don't have the technical expertise to develop an enterprise search solution, MaxxCAT™'s Integration Services Group can fill the void. In many cases, we can build a completely customized search solution for your web site or application in a few hours. Even if you have lots of web development experience, due to their intimate familiarity with MaxxCAT™ search appliances and search solutions, the MaxxCAT™ ISG can provide additional talent to quickly develop complex applications, to configure clusters of MaxxCAT™s or to integrate them into enterprise computing environments.

We are extremely technical -- how do we get the most out of a MaxxCAT™?

If you have a spec and know how to write a web page, you can use the base templates to quickly incorporate the search appliance into your solution. The advanced features of MaxxCAT™ -- faceting, fingerprinting, clustering, high availability etc are all well documented and backed up by MaxxCAT™'s technical support staff.

How good is the search relevancy?

MaxxCAT™ does an excellent job of finding data for which the the user is searching. The relevancy of the search results is computed from a formula that can be customized by the user, and there are a number of ways of tuning search results through meta tags or auto tags. A very large majority of our customers are running our standard relevancy algorithm and have found no need to customize or tweak it.