Enterprise Search, Search Server 2008 and Server Express 2008
At the SharePoint Conference during BillG's keynote, Search Server 2008 and Search Server Express 2008 were launched. These 2 products add new capability in the form of federated search that utilizes open search standards. The new Search Servers join a pretty awesome search family which includes MOSS search and the newly announced acquisition of Fast Search & Transfer (I came across an interesting blog post by one of the analysts on the Fast acquisition that is worth checking out). What an awesome lineup for delivering enterprise search. Check out the chart below to compare the features of the family of products and determine which product is best for you.
Why should someone care about the new Search Servers? 1. Anyone who is currently using WSS v3 only (no MOSS) for one. WSS v3 provides site collection search but does not provide cross-site collection capability. Upgrading to Search Server 2008 or the free Express 2008 is a no brainer and provides enterprise level search for your environment. 2. Also, anyone that has deployed a stand-alone ASP.NET Web application and doesn't currently have search capability. Why wouldn't you add a free solution at a minimum? Here are some resources if you're interested.
Search Server Express
Express is a free offering but restricted to a single-server deployment. There is no reason anyone should be without enterprise search capability. Check out the following videos which give a quick introduction and go download Express from here.
Search Server provides essentially the same features and adds the capability of high availability and load balancing for multi-server farm configuration.
MOSS Search Update
As you can see from the chart, the new Search Servers provide federated search and MOSS search doesn't have this capability. Well, take heart, in the up coming months a feature update will be released which will bring the federation and administration enhancements of Search Server to MOSS.
If the OOTB capability is not enough, then extend away. Depending on your requirements, you have different options. First, you should probably check out the Search Community Toolkit. Others may have already started in a direction you need.
The Search Community Toolkit is comprised of a number of tools and code samples that have been contributed to enhance the Microsoft search experience (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) Search, Search Server 2008 and Search Server 2008 Express).
A second option is a Search Connector. These include federated search connectors, indexing connectors, iFilters, etc.
So, what are you waiting for? Go get busy.....