Attivio promises to bridge the gap between DB and enterprise search



Boston based Attivio ( is founded by ex-FAST key people with Ali Riaz in the driver’s seat, and promises to bridge the gap between traditional Enterprise Search and traditional Databases/Information Warehouses.

Being less than two years old, the new company is already making headlines, and time (and customers) will reveal how much is pure product strenght and how much is the usual marketing blabla.

Many with DB background miss the ability to do real JOINs with traditional enterprise search engines, where typically DB tables need to be de-normalized and flattened before being indexed. For most use-cases that doesn’t cause a big problem, but for some applications the amount of redundancy in the engine just grows too big, and/or the flexibility of doing varied queries along other axis than the index was designed for, gets complicated or impossible.

The problem has been that a runtime JOIN is very costly – where RDBMS’s can spend minutes or hours computing a huge JOIN query, you expect from an Enterprise Search Engine that the result be ready in milliseconds. So if Oracle have not succeeded in combining unstructured search with large structured queries in an efficient way, how can a small startup do it? Or can they?

We’ll follow-up once the product, called Active Intelligence EngineTM (AIE) has been prooven a bit more in the market.

And IF Attivio’s claims are correct, then both Oracle and Microsoft/FAST really have something to fear, because this is something the information retrieval world have been waiting for a loong time!

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