Federated Search for Drupal
Highly available, scalable search services which search an organisation's entire platform of sites for content.
Large organisations often have multiple Drupal sites, so there’s often a need to provide a federated search feature which searches the entire platform of sites for content.
Some features of a federated search solution include:
- Structured content indexing: the search understands content types and their fields
- Support for common taxonomies: Use tags, and terms so similar content across sites can be grouped together.
- Faceted search results: rather than ‘advanced search’, simply allow the search results to be filtered down by multiple content tags (Taxonomy), content types, publication dates etc.
- Document and file indexing: allow PDFs and Word documents to be indexed and searched.
A common architecture for a faceted search is as follows:
We prefer to work with Apache Solr and ElasticSearch as they provide mature APIs and well supported Drupal integration modules. They also support scalable and high availability architectures on Cloud hosting infrastructure. AWS has recently offered ElasticSearch as a service, which means there is one less thing to worry about. This provides a direct alternative to closed platforms like Acquia Search.
Search is often a business critical feature as more and more users use search for navigating an organisation’s platform of sites, so having a highly available, scalable search service helps support this.
Before you spend tens of thousands of dollars on a hosted federated search service for your Drupal site, we’d recommend you start by looking at what you can do with open source alternatives and cutting edge cloud services.