What happens to FAST ESP?

After the Microsoft takeover of FAST almost three years ago, it’s been silent and no new updates of ESP. We all know that MS discontinued Linux support, and that the major focus with the FAST technology has been to power the high-end search for Sharepoint 2010. ESP was forked and heavily modified to integrate smoothly with Windows, SQL server, AD, PowerShell and more, and it made the leap to 64 bit – finally!

But what about non Sharepoint users? MS has an offering to them as well, called FAST Search for Internet Sites. Read Comperio’s excellent blog article about it. A bit disappointing that the core is still the more than three year old ESP5.3 wrapped in new MS APIs, but cool that you can still hack the ESP internals..

This figure from the book “Professional Microsoft Search” shows an overview of where the ESP  based offerings fit into the overall product offerings from MS:

20©10 Wrox publishing

Question is; what is the long term outlook for FSIS? It can obviously not stay on the aging ESP5.3 core forever. Will Microsoft upgrade this product or just put it on the last page of the price sheet to have an answer if someone asks? Can the SP version be adapted to work standalone? Perhaps. But it too is in desperate need of a new modern search core. I guess we can assume that since a new book pops up mentioning FAST ESP explicitly, we can expect it to stick around for some while… Give your thoughts about the future of non-sharepoint search from Microsoft.

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