If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I recently setup an Ubuntu box running Samba with a 2.7TB Raid5 array. Its job is to replace one of our 300GB Dell PowerVault 715N NAS boxes which has become full.

Finding files on our previous 300GB PowerVault was nothing short of a nightmare and, with such a vast amount of data on the new system, we have to ensure that information won’t get ‘lost’ as easily. Obviously proper structuring of directories through a bit of Information Architecture will help, but what we really need is a search facility.

As a small company with a limited budget, the search facility has to be affordable. In addition, it needs to be easily accessible to everyone in the network, preferably without installing extra applications onto client systems…

After a bit of digging around, and discounting the costly Google Appliance and Google Desktop Enterprise (Unfortunately, we don’t run an Active Directory network), I stumbled across IBM’s OmniFind Yahoo! Edition. It’s a free edition of their OmniFind software – which retails for thousands of dollars – and installs on both Linux (with a GUI) and Windows. Key features for us are that:

  1. It’s free.
  2. It’s simple to setup.
  3. It provides a search interface to users through a browser. (http://hostname:8080/)

As my Ubuntu system is purely command line, OmniFind wouldn’t install, so I’ll be reusing the old 300GB PowerVault that this 2.7TB Linux system will replace. I’m playing with it right now and it’s incredibly easy to use. Setting up indexing is a doddle and there’s plenty of customisation options for the web interface that users will see when searching, including:

  • Logo replacement, allowing you to re-inforce corporate branding.
  • Featured links, drawing attention to essential information.
  • Ranking modification

Once it’s indexed all of our data, I’ll play with it, see how it performs, and update the blog 😀