The Hidden Gem: Search Server 2010 Express

3/26/2011

Many of our customers consider to build their Intranet based on SharePoint Foundation 2010. Some want to avoid the complexity of the full SharePoint server, but for most the key decision point is: SharePoint Foundation is probably the best free Intranet software.

For small to mid-sized organization the expensive SharePoint server provides mainly two important additional features: the overhyped and underdelivered enterprise social networking features and real search.

SharePoint Foundation 2010 delivers only basic search capabilities. All the search features which are essential for a successful Intranet are missing: search suggestions, related searches, best bets, quick filtering/refinements, managed properties, search in PDF files(!!) and search in external content.

So does this mean that a successful, free Intranet can be built with SharePoint Foundation 2010?

Yes and No.

No - if the Intranet will be more than a bunch of pages and a small number of documents the crippled search features of SharePoint Foundation 2010 are by far not sufficient.

Yes - if you know the seemingly well hidden gem: Search Server 2010 Express.

So what is Search Server 2010 Express? The name is a little misleading - Search Server Express is not just a search engine. It is based on SharePoint Foundation 2010 and includes also the advanced search features of the full SharePoint server. The feature comparison matrix at microsoft.com reveals that you get all the essential search features - at the same unbeatable price of SharePoint Foundation: free.

So our tip: ignore SharePoint Foundation 2010 - use always Search Server 2010 Express when starting a new Intranet project.

 

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