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SearchStax: Accelerating Digital Transformation With Open Source Search And Cloud Automation

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SearchStax is a rapidly growing open source search software (Apache Solr and Elasticsearch) as a service company focused on delivering on the needs of mid-market to enterprise technology innovators. Below is our recent interview with Bing Gin, VP Product Management and Customer Success at SearchStax.

Bing Gin

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to SearchStax?

A: SearchStax was founded in 2013. We started as a boutique search consulting firm. We had deep expertise in managing, scaling, and optimizing high traffic and high availability search infrastructures. We soon saw an opportunity to create a new product based on two large trends in the IT space: Open Source Software and Cloud Computing.

Open Source Software has really been gathering steam over the last decade or two. Organizations are migrating to open source because they want more control over the direction of the product, transparency into the code base itself, support from a community of developers not to mention avoiding the licensing fees associated with typical proprietary software packages.

Cloud computing takes many of the headaches associated with building out your infrastructure – buying servers, load balancers, networking equipment, building out and configuring the hardware, and installing the latest operating systems and needed software. In addition, moving away from a tradition mechanism of capacity planning and procurement to a more on-demand, pay for use models that accelerate innovation. Now, you can just push a few buttons to deploy cloud compute resources in the cloud of your choice. Much easier, faster, and lower total cost of ownership.

SearchStax takes this a step further by combining these two trends and applying it to the search space. SearchStax Cloud is an Apache Solr or Elasticsearch software-as-a-service platform. We’ve taken all of the best practices we’ve learned over the years and have rolled them into our service so our customers automatically get the benefits each and every time they create a new Solr or Elasticsearch deployment.

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Q: What are the key benefits of your platform?

A: Our key value proposition is really around accelerating our customer’s project timelines and enabling a better usage of their key engineering resources.

1. We accelerate our customer’s timelines by bringing in large amounts of automation into our processes. Setting up a new deployment with all of the latest versions and best practices can take days to months. We can stand up a new deployment in as little as 10 minutes. Engineering teams can spend months building out and ensuring: security, compliance, monitoring, high availability, backups, audit logs, and support for custom plugins and jars. We support all of this out of the box.

2. Better utilization of engineering resources. We enable your engineering resources to work on the problems that are core to your business. In the search world, that’s the search experience, the business logic behind it, and any needed integrations to other systems. All of the other stuff that is needed behind the scenes, SearchStax can take care of. Things like: deployment automation, scaling, high availability, log archiving, backup, recovery, security, monitoring, alerting, upgrades, and disaster recovery. In addition, SearchStax makes available 24x7x365 SLA-backed managed support. This enables full support at both the search and infrastructure layers.

Q: Can you explain the different tools SearchStax is creating and what they do?

A: SearchStax has three primary product suites: SearchStax Cloud, Pulse and Analytics. We also offer Professional Services to our clients. This enables us to provide a complete search solution regardless of custom needs or lack of search expertise on the client’s side.

SearchStax Cloud
SearchStax Cloud provides automation and orchestration of Apache Solr and Elasticsearch deployments in the cloud. All of the things associated with deploying open source search in the cloud, SearchStax automates and builds software around to make it easier, faster and cheaper. SearchStax also offers SearchStax Cloud Private options for those customers who need VPC peering (AWS) or VNet peering (Azure) for additional security and performance.

SearchStax Pulse
SearchStax Pulse provides detailed real-time information on key metrics at the system-level as well as Solr or Elasticsearch specific metrics such as Search, Indexing, Caches & Errors. We are also able to create specific alerting that allows us to proactively manage our client’s search clusters.

SearchStax Analytics
SearchStax Analytics provides end-user search analytics that our clients use to glean actionable insights to optimize engagement, click thru rates, increase revenue, and ultimately increase user satisfaction.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in launching your business and how did you overcome it?

A: Scaling the company. As we’ve grown from the first set of deployments to the hundreds of deployments we manage today, our greatest challenge has been scaling the business to ensure we are providing our customers with the same great service that they have come to expect from us. We’ve done this by creating world class service processes and hiring the best people possible.

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Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: As we look to the future, we’ll continue to be guided by our customers. One of our key differentiators is working closely with our customers in not only providing a service but also partnering and becoming problem solvers. We’re starting to see many of our customers ask for additional security and compliance requirements (GDPR and SOC2 being a couple of the ones most frequently asked about), more focus around automation and workflow – really leveraging our API set to optimize the way our customer’s build and deploy in all of their environments, and finally Analytics. Understanding what their customers are searching for, what they are finding and not finding and how to improve the search experience thru data driven search analytics. We’re excited for what the future holds for us and our customers!

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