Open source enterprise search software can compete with the leading commercial offerings.
This is the finding of a new report from analyst firm Ovum.
Mike Davis, Ovum analyst and author of the report, said: "Free-to-use open source enterprise search and retrieval (ESR) solutions are now ready for the enterprise. We believe enterprises should start with open source options when looking for a search solution and only go to the big players if open source is unable to deliver what they need.
"This shouldn't be an issue, however, as there is now a range of mature open source products that have functionality that is sufficient for most organisational needs."
In 2010 it was estimated that 985 exabytes (985 billion gigabytes) of digital information was created, often referred to as the "data tsunami". ESR solutions are specialised tools to allow enterprises to search this volume of information.
According to the report, software from ESR leader Autonomy performed better than the competition, but only by a narrow margin. It added that Apache Software Foundation's open source Solr 1.4 software could stand with the market leaders in terms of features and functionality.
"Autonomy's IDOL platform has consistently achieved the greatest share of mind in the enterprise search arena but in terms of the capabilities on offer, there are mere nuances between those ranked. The key message for enterprises is that they should be aware that there is a raft of available products, including credible open source options, and not just look at the ‘usual suspects'," Davis concluded.