At least two are gunning for a piece of the search-appliance market--a sure sign of just how addressable that space really is.
One is ThunderStone Software, which offers a search appliance that's similar to Google's. Another, O-Ya, is officially getting off the ground this week. Its first product? The DeepSearch 100, an appliance that's similar in concept to the Google Mini and will be unveiled at next week's LegalTech show in New York. DeepSearch allows business customers to index specific internal resources. Because the appliance and software can be customized for each customer, O-Ya is billing it as a Private Search Device.
"We index all the desktop PCs and file servers on your local network," says Alan Steinberg, the founder and a principal of O-Ya, Scottsdale, Ariz. "Also, we mount all of the shares within the PCs, as well as the materials and documents associated with them."
Steinberg says O-Ya's go-to-market strategy centers on developing a network of channel partners, the first of which is CompUSA. The move has raised some eyebrows. "Our research says SMBs don't do a huge amount of purchasing gear through retail outlets, but who knows?" says Forrester analyst Matt Brown. "The problem with forecasting this market is there hasn't been a lot of products targeted at this." Among O-Ya's other obstacles, according to Brown, is that it's an unknown company. "Google has plenty of 'air cover'from their brand," he says. "They can experiment and put these products into the market."
But the naysaying isn't stalling O-Ya any. The company has even inked a distribution agreement with Avnet, which declined to comment for this article. O-Ya is funded soley by private-individual high-net-worth investors, most of whom are well-known ccomputer-industry executives who don't wish to be identified. The only who has stepped forward so far is PGA golfer Phil Mickelson.