We are often asked why an organization should not renew their Google Search Appliance (GSA). In addition, why it makes sense to just buy a ViaWorks system instead of going down the road of a GSA device. This blog is dedicated to answering these questions using the most widely available facts.
Most importantly, the GSA is sold on a two to three year term. After the term, the organization must repurchase in full the entire solution, give back the old hardware, and acquire new hardware. The device shuts down after the term. With ViaWorks, you use the software product as long as you wish on the server hardware that you choose to deploy it on. We offer an annual maintenance plan which incorporates software updates and support. We never shut down your system and you never have to return it. You can easily renew your maintenance each year. You can add additional document or user capability up to the scalability of the server hardware that you choose.
The GSA software is embedded into pre-determined server hardware. Instead of choosing the hardware for the current steady state needs (total searches per second and new documents per second) of the Search solution, with ViaWorks the customer chooses the server hardware. The hardware can be chosen to accommodate additional future scalability needs. In addition, if there are a large number of documents that need to be initially indexed, more powerful server hardware can be chosen to speed up the initial fetching and indexing elapsed time. This can save a significant amount of project start up time.
The GSA pricing model is based on the number of documents that are indexed. The price is the same whether you have 5 users or 5,000 users. With ViaWorks we can accommodate the GSA pricing model if that is what fits your needs best. However, our mainstream pricing model is an alternative for you that accommodates organizations that have different mixes of documents and users based.
The GSA comes with a limited number of connectors supplied by Google. The GSA relies on connectors built or to be built by 3rd parties for many connectors important for a complete enterprise search solution. An example would be Office 365 connectors including SharePoint Live and OneDrive for Business. With this model, GSA customers must plan on putting their complete Search solution together from multiple vendors. Problem solving becomes problematic because the deployment does not come from a single vendor. This is not a problem with ViaWorks because ViaWorks develops and supports all the connectors including cloud and SaaS connectors like Office 365, SharePoint Live, and OneDrive for Business. If you need indexing of the text in images embedded in documents then the GSA has the same problem because no OCR capability is available from Google. With ViaWorks, the OCR capability is supplied and supported by VirtualWorks.
Finally, another important differentiation is that our product strategy is aimed not only at users performing searches but is also aimed at being a platform for Search Based Applications. Today we document and support APIs that allow different customized Search user interfaces to be built (for embedding into other platforms). These same APIs can be used by applications to perform searches to get information that the application needs to perform its tasks. No user interaction needs to be involved. In the future, additional APIs will be provided for additional Search Based Application functionality.