Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Thunderstone, and what is the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance?
Thunderstone is one of the pioneers of search technology. Since 1981, Thunderstone has provided more than 400,000 licenses of its search software to business, government, NGOs and educational institutions around the world.
Thunderstone's technology powers search applications for the eBay, QVC, Corbis, About.com and ZDNet sites, for example. It is also used in-house for enterprise applications by the Associated Press, GE and many other organizations.
The Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance represents the next generation of Thunderstone search products powered by Thunderstone's TEXIS, a fully integrated SQL RDBMS optimized for full-text search.
The enterprise search industry's most advanced all-in-one (hardware, software and support) search solution in a plug-and-play environment, the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance enables full-text, key word searches combined with a user-selected "filter" on up to 50 data fields. It provides the ability to perform structured, SQL data retrieval simultaneously with full-text search.
How is the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance different from other enterprise search solutions?
The Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance is designed to be easily deployed and maintained, while providing the same level of capabilities typically found in more costly enterprise solutions.
Because the Search Appliance is an all-in-one hardware and software solution, it doesn't take a small army of professional service providers to get it up and running or to keep it operating at peak.
Thunderstone includes a day of consulting as a part of the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance's total solution, further ensuring the success of your information retrieval project.
How does the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance differ from the Thunderstone Search Appliance?
The Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance builds on the proven strengths of both Thunderstone's TEXIS and the Thunderstone Search Appliance. It offers new, advanced, structured query capabilities derived from Thunderstone's TEXIS, along with all the features and functionality of the plug-and-play Thunderstone Search Appliance.
How does the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance integrate with my data to make it searchable?
The Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance provides data integration three ways:
- An XML-based data load API can be used to "push" data to the Appliance's index.
- The Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance can use available Connectors for a variety of popular enterprise content sources (such as MS SharePoint, Lotus Notes, Documentum and many others) to assist with data extraction and population of the attribute-enhanced search index.
- Advanced data extraction functionality is included as part of the crawling and indexing utilities of the Appliance, allowing population of data attributes from anywhere in your content.
Once the index is built, users can take advantage of all the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance's advanced search capabilities.
How does "parametric search" differ from key word, full-text search, and how can it benefit my organization?
Parametric or attribute-enhanced search helps users narrow down their field of search in an attempt to increase the chances of finding relevant information, it provides context to results that are based on unstructured information, and it allows the administrator or user to sort results in the most meaningful way.
For example, you are searching for information on a particular subject but are only interested in results written by a specific author and published within a certain timeframe. The parameters (attributes) of "author" and "publish date" help narrow the search for the information you're interested in. Keyword, full-text search does not offer this opportunity.
Another example would be a search for a particular product item description across the entire enterprise. Keyword, full-text search will certainly provide a good list of results from a variety of documents and content sources. But, what if you were only interested in its occurrence within a specific document type (say, a PO) and one that was issued after a certain date and by a specific purchasing agent? Keyword, full-text search simply cannot provide this context for the information you're pursuing. The Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance can.
Is the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance platform well-suited for e-Commerce and/or auction applications?
Yes, the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance is an ideal platform for both e-Commerce and auction applications. Based on Thunderstone's TEXIS, the technology used to power search for eBay, QVC.com, Corbis.com, Alibris.com, LiveDeal, UBid and many of the Internet's most recognized e-Commerce and auction sites, the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance provides the same level of quality, performance and scalability that these companies count on to power their search.
The Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance supports real-time updating of its index. This means that once an update to the index is performed (updating price, availability, time left to bid, etc.,) the information becomes immediately searchable. You do not have to wait for an index process to run in order for the new information to be available for search.
Since the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance uses standard SQL, can it also perform "sort by" and "group by" functions to display results in a way that will optimize findability for searchers?
Yes, the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance supports "sort by" and "group by" operations. You have the flexibility to decide how you want users to be able to sort and group results by virtually any combination of available attributes in the index. For example, you can display items by product, category and manufacturer and then by price (ascending or descending). Or, you can display auction items by product, price range and bids set to expire within a certain amount of time.
Can the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance search information by geography or location?
Yes, the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance's geographic searching capabilities support "bounded box" searches of a geographical region. Special attribute types containing longitude/latitude information about a location (if populated) can be used as part of an SQL query to perform searches such as: "swimming pool repair within 10 miles of Columbus, Ohio" or "a sales position making at least $100,000 within 50 miles of my home".