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Comparing Server vs. Hosted Search Solutions

September 12, 2019
Comparing Server vs. Hosted Search Solutions

When it’s time to invest in a new search solution, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want to use an in-house server or Cloud hosting. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to decide which is right for your organization.

The Pros and Cons of Servers and Hosted Solutions

Utilizing an in-house file server for your search hardware or software offers several advantages, starting with ownership. Installing the search software on an existing server gives you more control of the application and the hardware you use for that solution. This means that you are in control of any hardware resources and backup schedules, whereas those decisions are left to an outside company when you rely on a hosted solution.

Since your server is in-house, you can make modifications to fit your preferences. Of course, this also depends on your level of comfort in terms of installing, updating, and modifying search software. These changes do require familiarity with your server’s operating systems and configurations. If you’re up to the challenge the level of control offered by an in-house server is an attractive option.

Another advantage of an in-house file server is that your content never leaves your premises. This means that nobody outside of your company has to see your information. With a hosted solution, there will be other people who have access to the cloud, and each person with access increases the risk of an unwanted party dealing with your hosted search solution.

While in-house servers offer control, Cloud Services, also known as Software as a Service (Saas), are a lot less work because you rely on a vendor for server infrastructure, availability, and security. Since an outside vendor hosts your search solution for you, you aren’t always on the hook for making regular updates or maintaining the server. When you use an in-house server, you’re the one in charge of making sure it stays up to date – not to mention maintaining both the physical and online security of you server. If the server fails, it’s up to you to fix it, whereas that responsibility falls on your vendor when you host your search solution.

Another big advantage of Cloud Services is scalability. You decide how much space you pay for and scaling up is quick and easy – just pay for more space. When you use your own server, you’ll need the right technical resources to increase server space.

Invest in the Right Search Solution for Your Needs

There isn’t a bad option between utilizing an in-house file server or opting for a hosted solution, but there is a right one for your organization. At Thunderstone, we can work with you to determine which solution is best suited for your needs and provide reliable, easy-to-use search engine software and hardware that can be customized for your needs.

Thunderstone is ready to help your organization take control of its information. Request a demo today to test out our enterprise search solutions for yourself or contact us to learn more from one of our experts.

How to Prepare and Organize Data and Content for Better Search Through Search Technology

July 23, 2019
How to Prepare and Organize Data and Content for Better Search Through Search Technology

A little organization can make a world of difference for your organization when your users need to access important information. A lack of structure can make it more difficult for your search solution to pull relevant results. For people within your company, bad data organization can result in wasted time and the creation of duplicate files. For external users, it can lead to people leaving your site to find what they need elsewhere.

Finding and accessing your own information shouldn’t be a problem. That’s why it’s important to create some structure for your data and content so that all the information you need is in its right place.

Better Data Organization for Search Solutions

If you have access to structured data, that’s a great place to start. Structured data can make it easy for your organization to find the information you need if you know the correct attributes. While search engine software can crawl unstructured data, the addition of structured data can improve the relevance and precision of results.

An electronic database allows you to create collections of information that are organized and stored for use. The use of a database allows specific users to sort and tag files, text, and other information in a way that improves organization and information retrieval.

One way to prepare and organize your data is to invest in a database management systems (DBMS) based on a relational data model. This setup allows specific users to access and manage relations relation, which are two-dimensional tables that store data about objects, events, and other entities. Relational columns can be organized into certain characteristics, while rows stand for certain files, records, or other data items.

Users with access can then add, update, find, sort, or retrieve data as needed, adding features to the records along the way to improve the relevance of search results or organize files so that they’re only available to certain people. For example, an ecommerce site that sells clothing can organize different items by identifying product characteristics like product color, brand, type of clothing, and other characteristics. These criteria help filter out results that would have appeared from unstructured text. As a result, a user searching for a new pair of shorts won’t be as likely to see results for short sleeve shirts simply because they both use the word “short.”

Structured data also allows you to organize data so that only the right people see certain information. Data items can be tagged with user access so that they don’t end up in results pages for outside users and other people without proper clearance. The right search software can extract structured data from text to enhance the search. Also, the right software can be taught to identify if a file contains specific patterns, for example a credit card number, to constrain the results. As a result, you can set the software to flag those pages to make them more secure. Thanks to this type of advanced logic, it can help you keep your data organized even if a user isn’t there to manually sort something entered into the system.

Invest in Search Engine Software and Appliances That Keep Your Data Organized

Organized data seems like a no brainer, but it does require the right technology to succeed. Text searching and relational database management each rely upon radically different paradigms for organizing and retrieving information, so you need a solution that marries both together.

Thunderstone search engine software and search appliances give you benefits of a SQL relational database (RDBMS) that intelligently queries and manages databases. With our core technology, we can solve even the most complex information retrieval challenges.

Ready to take control of your organization’s information? Request a demo today to test out Thunderstone’s enterprise search solutions for yourself or contact us to talk to one of our experts about we can help you organize your data.

5 Notable Digital Trends in the Healthcare Industry

June 25, 2019
5 Notable Digital Trends in the Healthcare Industry

As with many industries, healthcare has made strides to become more digital over the years. This trend has resulted in multiple improvements toward patient care and internal systems, and the push to digitize the healthcare industry isn’t slowing down anytime soon. From new ways to treat patients to improving electronic health records, here are some notable trends in the healthcare industry.

Virtual Care

As technology advances, more healthcare providers have shifted to providing convenient consultations in a virtual or mobile setting. Virtual care offerings like telemedicine and remote patient monitoring devices have led to affordable, effective ways to provide care that’s both convenient to practitioners and patients. As patients and doctors become more tech savvy, virtual care allows doctors and other healthcare professionals to see more patients and give these patients access to experts without having to worry about being in a different location at set times.

Wearables/Internet of Things

Health-based wearable items aren’t a new discovery, but more healthcare organizations are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) and data-sharing devices to help learn more about patients. Wearable devices allow healthcare professionals to track important data in real time whether patients are in a medical facility, at home, or anywhere else. The IoT allows these professionals to then collect that data for and add it to electronic health records and other files that these professionals will need to access to determine treatment methods and make other data-based determinations.

The Cloud

Yahoo Finance estimates that the global healthcare cloud computing market will continue to grow from now through 2026, reaching a $40 billion market value at that time. As the healthcare industry continues to grow, more hospitals and other organizations are turning to move their IT infrastructure off premises and to affordable, scalable hosted search solutions that allow them to free up physical space and cut staffing costs.

Increased Security

As hospitals collect more personal information and invest in more internet connectivity through the internet of things and cloud-based data, the more they need to take cybersecurity seriously. BusinessWire reports that IoT-related data breaches rose from 15 to 26 percent since 2017. As healthcare data becomes more digital – which it will – it’s imperative that the healthcare industry continue to increase security efforts to protect both medical institutions and patients from cyberattacks. As a result, security spending should continue to rise in the healthcare industry.

EHR Optimization

Electronic health record systems are commonplace in the healthcare industry, but more organizations are taking steps to make their data more accessible and interactive. Investments in new data infrastructure, such as databases that can store and retrieve vast amounts of structured data, have allowed organizations to clean up their electronic health records. This shift allows healthcare professionals to easily organize and retrieve information through a database management system – as long as they also have the right search technology to search internal and external information for an entire organization.

Achieve Flexible Data Management Through Enterprise Search Technology

As the medical industry becomes more digital, there will be even more ways to collect and access important information. As a result, it’s increasingly important that healthcare organizations invest in the right search technology so that users always have access to the right information. Not only will this improve interoperability, better access to complete patient information allows healthcare professionals to provide a truly value-based care system for their patients.

For example, flexible data management allows medical practitioners to find what they need right away, whether they’re using a desktop or a mobile device. If a doctor needs to look up drug facts for a patient, they can filter their search to find the right information. Meanwhile, the system can also anonymize information if it recognizes personal information. This allows researchers to reference case information without seeing patient names or other sensitive info in search snippets. It can even block access to certain users to keep your organization compliant with HIPAA.

When you need to achieve flexible data management, Thunderstone can help. Our suite of search engine software and applications features the fully integrated structure of an SQL relational database (RDBMS) that intelligently queries and manages databases of up to hundreds of millions of records. This gives you the ability to store and search massive text documents within standard database table.

Don’t settle for a search solution that doesn’t give you complete access to your data. Request a demo today to test out Thunderstone’s enterprise search solutions for yourself or contact us to talk to one of our experts about we can help your organization control its information.

The Difference Between Search Software, Hardware, and Other Options

June 25, 2019
The Difference Between Search Software, Hardware, and Other Options

While a Search Appliance can be an attractive option in many circumstances there are several possible ways to get a search solution depending on your preferences. The different possible delivery methods include hardware-based appliances, software, and service-based models. We’ll look at the different methods that exist and the pros and cons of each to help you make the right decision.

Hardware-Based Search Appliance

The hardware-based search appliance is a popular approach, and maybe the one you had in mind when you started investigating search solutions.

Some of the main advantages are that it is a self-contained solution that you can install in your data center with little effort. As an appliance from a single vendor, you have a single point of contact for any technical issues you may have, so there won’t be any finger pointing between the hardware vendor, operating system vendor, and application vendor. If something goes wrong, a single support call should resolve the problem. Of course, you should make sure that your vendor is equipped to handle your support calls and know how long it will take to fix any problems.

Another key advantage is that you don’t need to provision additional servers to run the application on or worry about incompatibilities between your hardware and operating system and the application. It just works when you take it out of the box and put it in the rack. The flip side of that is if you already have a uniform hardware environment that you like or are moving towards a virtualization environment a separate hardware appliance does not necessarily fit in well.

Virtual Appliance

If you already have a virtualization program under way, then a virtual appliance may be the right solution for you. What is a virtual appliance? Simply put, it is an image of the appliance that you can load onto a virtual server in your virtualization environment. It has all the same features of the hardware appliance.

What are the advantages of the virtual appliance? Similar to the hardware appliance, it is a self-contained image, so you don’t need to worry about operating system or software installs. Since you are providing the hardware for the virtual appliance, you can most likely use existing hardware you have and share it with other services.

In addition, most virtualization environments can also provide fault tolerance, or at least an easy way to restart the image on alternate hardware in the case of hardware failure. If you have sufficient spare capacity, you should not have any down time due to hardware problems. Since you are in control of the hardware, you can allocate as many or as few resources to the search solution to achieve the performance you want.

If you don’t have a current virtualization environment, then the additional learning experience of getting started with one is probably not worth it.

Installed Software

Another option is to install the search software on an existing server. If you are comfortable installing software, then this can be an attractive option, as you get more control of the application. Similar to the virtual appliance, you are in control of the hardware resources you make available to the search solution, as well as the backup schedules.

In addition to being in control of the hardware, you also have more flexibility to modify the solution to meet your needs. The source code to the search application is provided, unlike the appliances which are more of a black box.

The main advantages of the software solution are the control over the application, and the ability to choose the hardware it will run on. The disadvantages are that you do need to be familiar with your server’s operating systems and configurations to choose how to install the software in the most efficient manner possible.

Cloud Services

Cloud Services, also known as Software as a Service (Saas), is one of the hot trends in computing today. Essentially, it means that the vendor is hosting the solution for you, so you only need to worry about integrating the service into your existing infrastructure.

Typically, you can pay on some kind of metered service based on how much you use. This has the advantage of typically being quick and easy to set up and not requiring a lot of technical resources on your end. The downside is that the search data is no longer on your infrastructure, and you are reliant on a third party to keep your service running.

Find the Right Enterprise Search Solution for Your Needs

No matter which type of search solution best fits your criteria, it’s important that whatever you choose makes search simpler – and more powerful – for you and your users. It’s important to pick the right search solution instead of a bad choice at a cheaper price. At Thunderstone, we have decades of experience providing reliable, easy-to-use and maintain search engine software and hardware that can be customized to your specific needs and budget.

Ready to end your search for the right search engine software or hardware? Request a demo today to test out Thunderstone’s enterprise search solutions for yourself or contact us to talk to a Thunderstone expert and your organization’s search needs.

Why Does a Relational Database Matter for Search Engine Software?

May 13, 2019
Why Does a Relational Database Matter for Search Engine Software?

Relational databases and search engines don’t “marry” easily, which can lead some people to think to two can’t work in tandem. However, that doesn’t mean that relational databases don’t matter for search engines. While difficult, there are ways that can allow you to take advantage of relational databases through your search engine solution.

Why is a Relational Database Beneficial for Search Engine Software?

Most recent DBMSs are based on the relational data model, which is great for handling complicated queries and database operations. The fundamental organizational structure for data in the relational model involves something called a relation, which is a two-dimensional table made up of rows and columns that stores data about entities. These entities are objects or events. For example, a healthcare organization could list patients, doctors, insurance carriers, and services as entities that require data collection.

Relational columns represent specific data characteristics, such as specific attributes or data items patient names, home addresses, and other details. The rows signify records or occurrences. In our medical example, these could be services or actions completed by doctor, patients, and other similar data items. Every record in a given table is unique, which allows relational search to pinpoint these exact rows and make it easier for people to access their information.

Thanks to these qualities, relational databases offer many advantages that can improve the overall quality of search results. They help enable better sorting and filtering options, such as being able to search for results based on product color, manufacturer, or other specific details. It also allows the search to see past basic text when pulling these results. For example, a normal search for red shoes may lead Red Wing boots to appear simply because of the name. With a relational database, the color and manufacturer are separate attributes, which allows for more accurate results based on intent on not basic text.

How Relational Databases Can Benefit Search Engine Software

In a basic sense, databases serve as electronic rolodexes while search engines act as the index of a book. In other words, a good database houses all your information while a search engine can access information within that database. The challenge here is that relational search needs to properly and thoroughly crawl a wide variety of data sources, understand the relationships between them, and provide accurate, relevant results.

Another challenge is that databases can store and retrieve a lot of structured data, but search engines typically query unstructured text. As a result, it’s difficult to properly design a relational database for search, but it’s immensely valuable when done right.

That’s where Thunderstone can help. Our Texis search software is a database management system (DBMS) which follows the relational database model and addresses any inclusion of narrative full text. Because Texis is based on the versatility of open standard SQL, it can address complicated search requirements. It also serves as an "intelligent agent," allowing users to quickly and easily access complicated information, allowing you to take full advantage of complicated relational databases without it harming your ability to search within your organization.

Complicated isn’t a bad thing when you have the right solution. Request a demo today to test out Thunderstone’s enterprise search solutions for yourself or contact us to talk to a Thunderstone expert about how we can help you harness the benefits of relational search for your organization.