Sponsored By

Search Engine Sneak Preview: X1 Technologies' X1 Enterprise Edition 2.0

This search engine lets admins and users in Windows environments find missing information quickly, no matter where it was misplaced.

Sean Doherty

August 22, 2005

6 Min Read

Lose something? Where did you see it last--on your desktop, in a network share or in your e-mail inbox? X1 Technologies' Enterprise Edition 2.0 can index and search data on the desktop, in message stores or remote file shares, to find missing information quickly.

X1 Enterprise Edition 2.0 has two components: X1 Enterprise Server, for indexing and administering searches, and X1 Enterprise Client, for end-user searches. Within Enterprise Server, Server Manager provides a range of management functions. Deployment Manager, meanwhile, is used for configuring and exporting Enterprise Client.

Windows of Opportunity

I tested Enterprise Server in our Syracuse University Real-World Labs® on a Windows 2003 Server outfitted with dual 1.4-GHz PIII processors, 1,024 MB of RAM and 17 GB of disk space. I could have used Windows 2000 or XP, if it had IIS 5 or 6 available and sufficient disk space to hold an index of the content to be searched. X1 recommends enough space to hold 20 percent of the total data searched.

I made more than 1 GB of local and network information searchable to end users within minutes. Using Active Directory Domain credentials, I locked down the browser search interface so only authorized users could see certain search results. Then I extended X1's search functions to desktops by configuring and exporting X1's Enterprise Client 2.0 (Build 1852dj-bi), a Win32 application. The procedure took less than an hour.

By default, Enterprise Server runs as a Windows service using a local system account. The server acts as a central scanning or indexing engine for Windows shares and interacts with IIS to authenticate and let end users search data stores from a Web browser or the client. The browser allows views of preconfigured network searches only; client users have a wider range of desktop and network search options.

I could have used a local system account to run the service and index local data stores, but I wanted to search all the Windows shares in my Active Directory Domain. I created a Domain user ("X1 user") that would run Enterprise Server as a Windows service, gave "X1 user" access to remote directories targeted for search and enabled Windows shares on those directories.

Good

• Secure results
• Common Web and Win32 GUI
• Easy search mechanisms

Bad

• Only Windows need apply
• Limited indexing controls
• No reports on client searches

X1 Enterprise Edition 2.0, annual license starts at $7,500 per year. X1 Technologies, (866) 918-3241, (626) 585-6900. www.x1.com

Next, I fired up Server Manager, which created a 8,710-KB index of 1 GB of data in less than five minutes. Server Manager couldn't show me how much disk space my index used up. For that, I had to look at the data on disk--a minor annoyance.

Server Manager's index controls let me delete and reset the index in one click. I could set a schedule to index all files in a path; file names, sizes and content for specified file extensions; or file names and sizes only. I also could configure the maximum file size for content indexing.

X1 recommends excluding critical or private content you don't want indexed. It would be better to be able to exclude critical data through the use of "stop" words, just in case a critical file sneaks into a public or shared directory.


X1's Server Manager
Click to Enlarge

Limited Access

End users don't have unfettered access to the index. I had to publish a search to make it available. Using Server Manager, I conducted and saved a search with the same parameters end users would use: keyword, file name, file type, date/time stamp, file size and/or network path. I easily made entire home directories available for searching, but gave each search a unique name and limited access to each one by domain user account. After saving the searches, I dragged them from a preview pane to a public access pane for users to see. Although I found this process annoying at first, it sped searching and protected content.

I accessed the server through Internet Explorer as "X1 user," then searched home directories and other network shares that "X1 user" had rights to view. If "X1 user" did not have access to a search directory, it was not listed in the search options.

Enterprise Edition's desktop search features, accessible through Enterprise Client, are easy to configure and deploy to end users using Enterprise Server's Deployment Manager. Deployment Manager provides a wizard to help you configure Enterprise Client's behavior on desktops. From within the wizard, I launched a client in administration mode, where I made changes to options, menus and toolbars. I set up X1's client to start up with Windows and display in the system tray. I disabled the option to play media files in the results' preview pane, and set the default directory (My Documents) to index files with the same options Server Manager had. I also required clients to upload usage statistics, but there was no interface to view and analyze search reports.

For e-mail, I enabled the Lotus Notes option, but disabled the program's four other choices: Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora and Mozilla. I could have kept copies of e-mail in the index, but I didn't exercise that option, as it would have raised another security concern on the desktop and bloated the index.

I micromanaged the interface and added a toolbar so users could add and remove servers and search selected remote shares by URL. Then I pegged the preview pane to the right of the interface, removed some e-mail client options and exited the X1 Client. Finally, I saved my configuration package to the default FTP and HTTP directories for IIS, to make it available to clients.

X1 Enterprise Edition 2.0's server and client components provide common Web and Win32 interfaces to search desktop and enterprise e-mail and file stores. Although the server could use some more advanced indexing options--in particular, stop words and the ability to monitor the index's size from Server Manager's interface--X1 makes it easy and inexpensive to install, configure and secure a search service in a Windows environment.

Sean Doherty is a senior technology editor and lawyer based at our Syracuse University Real-World Labs®. Write to him at [email protected].

Read more about:

20052005

About the Author(s)

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like


More Insights