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Omnifind 9.1 – a brand new search

Admittedly, search hasn’t been IBM’s game for a bit.  Slowly over the years we have seen their search product, Omnifind, come together and now with 9.1 it all changes – for the better.   I have reviewed pretty much every major player in the search market from Autonomy to Google to Endeca to Lucene and previous versions of Omnifind.  Sadly over the years, Omnifind fell off many comparison lists.   It has changed so much I had trouble as to where to start because it is such a huge product change.  So lets start at the beginning: Installation


One day, if you stretch it.  (pause to allow you to pull yourself off the floor).  Yes, no kidding.  The install goes smooth and rather quick.

What’s new for the user?

Improved UI

This is truly one of the better interfaces for the user out of the box.  Yes, anyone can add some slick dojo/JS interactions but Omnifind does an amazing job presenting search to the end user.

Faceted Search


In past versions you have been able to do this but this now is on par with the GSA, Autonomy, Endeca’s of the world.  Adding more functionality is only a few clicks away to really see this feature grow.  A NOTE: faceted search is not something I would recommend leave to OOB settings.  This is one area that needs to be well managed by an administrative team to achieve optimal user experience.

Type Ahead

This is something that is nearly on every checklist of clients looking for a search appliance.  Omnifind does a stellar job with their presentation of this.  Additionally like others in the category, type ahead can be well and easily managed from the backend to optimize the user experience search relevance.

Search Suggestion

This has been a feature in the past but IBM has done a nice job beefing up the capabilities to make this more meaningful to the user with some effort from the admin.

Search Syntax

How much do you love when you search on your phone or web browser and it knows where you are.  Omnifind now supports syntax search that allows for that proximity relevance.  Your Southeast sales reps have difference search needs than you Euro sales reps – why shouldn’t your search appliance know that – now it does.  Pretty cool on a lot of fronts.

Thumbnail Support

Almost commonplace in search reviews, Omnifind now out of the box supports thumbnail presentation of images, docs, PDFs and other files.  Nice addition if you ask me.

Document Preview

This is a handy when you are hooking your search into an ECM or other document rich repository.  Omnifind allows you to preview the document with reaching for the full source for download.  This helps users improve their search completion.

Social Search

Hook into your social software package to provide social equity relevance to your search.  This is a growing requirement as people like to see the trust factor in their search such as when you are search for a document on Sepsis Control, you want to have a doc/nurse who has credibility within the community they specialize in.  This is capable via some available connectors but also users can integrate by building their own connectors.  The open extensibility of the Omnifind platform make this a much easier task for development teams.

What’s new for the administrator?


Incremental Indexing

Historically, an admin would have to wait for the index to complete for them to turn up in search results.  Now with the incremental search support, as the index completes it is immediately made available the search audience.

Query Statistics

Knowing who searches what helps improve the admin’s ability to allow and plan for suggestive searches and other end user experience improvements.  This feature is critical to proving search success not only to the end user but also to the RIO of the search appliance.


An alternative to using SIAPI to create customized search and admin experiences is improved with new RESTful API’s.  This speeds the time to build custom search portlets – a welcome addition to Omnifind.

Search Application Customizer

An easy, interactive and quick way to make changes and customization to the new search UI.  I think this is one of the sleeker features but I am a verified UI snob.  Bottom line is customizations are quick and easy (and immediate) so admins have less development dependencies to rolling out Omnifind.

New native crawlers

Adding some nice and commonly asked for crawlers for FileNet and Sharepoint bring this application into a common-era.  I would look for more to be added either on the IBM-front or from custom developers as this will see increased demand.

Multi Node Configuration

This allows for some of the more used resources document and search nodes to be expanded for better performance.  Out of box, Omnifind performs great for most enterprise uses but for some heavy multimedia and audio/video users this is a welcome upgrade and nearly a reason to buy it alone.

HA Configuration

100% uptime is now available with the 9.1 version with the support of HA.

NAS/SAN share support

You can now have multiple search servers without duplication of indexes.

OEE Migration

You can now easily migrate from OEE 8.5 with their improved migration tool.  Note that some connectors may not work in 9.1 so verify prior to prod migration.

Windows FS Crawler

You can now search Windows FS from a non-Windows machine with ACL.

Disk Space

Once a hog, no longer is.  Indexing now requires significantly less disk space making the footprint and overall cost to Omnifind much more attractive.

Overall, my initial review of Omnifind 9.1 could be classified as ‘very impressed’.  For companies review GSA or other search applicances this should be on your list.  From the significantly improved UI to the ability to customize the UI to search and document index separation for improved performance to customized search recommendation everything just makes this a great improvement.

Search is very something that shouldn’t be taken lightly and each application should be considered in terms of what support is needed.  Omnifind given a normal deployment is estimated that administration should be estimated of 8-12 hours per week and it is assumed that not more than 4 hours would be from a single enterprise resource – which places it in line with some of the more popular search appliances.

Thoughts on “Omnifind 9.1 – a brand new search”

  1. Jonathan,

    how about desktop based search i.e. searching files stored on local hard disks e.g. on laptops.

    Is there now a solution in Omnifind like Google Desktop Search or Windows Search 4.0?

    How about indexing local or server based Notes databases?


  2. Jonathan Distad Post author

    There isn’t something like Google Desktop but most computers have a robust local search tool.

    Re: Notes Dbs, you would just have to list the server Db as a source and yes it would certainly index that.

    Omnifind and most search appliances can hook into any datastore rather easily.

  3. Hello! I just would like to give an enormous thumbs up for the excellent info you’ve got here on this post. I will likely be coming back to your weblog for a lot more soon.

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