I am happy to say the Microsoft has again been ranked as a top Enterprise Search provider in the marketplace - http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1835DKL&ct=111123&st=sb. You will see that some Enterprise Search providers dropped in rankings and some were removed.
As you can see, FAST is not slowing down and we have an extremely strong roadmap for it. It is a very fiscally responsible Enterprise Search solution when you consider it as part of your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) when investing with SharePoint Enterprise. FAST provides tons of added features and capabilities to solutions such as Portals, Sites, ECM, Document Management, BI, Social, Composites, Platform Development, etc. Plus if you know how to configure SharePoint Search; FAST search is configured and managed through the same screens and procedures thus requiring less ramp up time.
Even if an organization just needs a pure Enterprise Search solution, FAST is a great Enterprise Search platform. Having SharePoint in the mix, is great value additive because many other Enterprise Search ends provide you no user interfaces. Yes FAST does have services so that other applications tiers can tap into it. However having a web portal like SharePoint immediately available with numerous web parts to start building search screens and search applications is a huge time and money saver. Plus, when Enterprise Search is made accessible through SharePoint, you get to take advantage of all the other SharePoint features to deliver a more engaging user experience. For instance:
- You can create blogs from the search team to the users
- Wikis to explain to users how to do advanced search
- Stream training videos
- Maintain documents and FAQs
- Create a Search Knowledge Base
- Create support forums
- Manage technical specifications about line of business data that is index