Google Search Appliance

Migrating from Google Search Appliance

Since 2002, Google Search Appliance (GSA) served as the go-to searching and indexing solution for enterprises and other large organizations.  GSA performs as a hardware appliance integrated into an organization’s data center.  The appliance scans and indexes information on corporate websites, intranets and extranets.  Thus, employees looking for files, documents or other pieces of information simply type keywords into their search bar to easily access those resources.

Why Migrate from Google Search Appliance?

In 2016, Google announced that it would cease to sell GSA hardware.  Google also gave a timeline to cease selling licenses and providing support.  Licenses for GSA have been discontinued this year, and support will also cease at the end of 2019.  This phase out of Google Search Appliance is part of Google’s strategy to dive deeper into the cloud market.  Google Cloud spearheads the attempt to take on the major cloud companies such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS).  To elaborate, organizations who utilize GSA must look elsewhere for their internal searching and indexing needs.

Alternatives to Google Search Appliance

Only a handful of companies have a legitimate alternative to replace all the dynamic features GSA provided.  As the 2019 deadline approaches, the market will become more saturated with solution offerings.  The list below details several great alternatives for your GSA migration.


A software solution hosted either on-premise or in the cloud (AWS and Azure).  Like GSA, SearchBlox provides basic and advanced search capabilities.  Also, both integrate into internal and external connectors and utilize autosuggest/related queries.  Unlike GSA, SearchBlox contains a faceted search feature, high availability clusters and API integration capabilities.  In addition, this alternative offers JSON and Javascript frontend integration, as well as featured search results.

AWS Elasticsearch

Amazon Elasticsearch Service makes it easy to deploy, secure, operate, and scale Elasticsearch for log analytics, full text search, application monitoring, and more.  Amazon Elasticsearch Service remains a fully managed service delivering Elasticsearch’s easy-to-use APIs and real-time analytics capabilities alongside the availability, scalability, and security production workloads require. Elasticsearch offers built-in integrations with SearchBlox and AWS services including Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), AWS Key Management Service (KMS), Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose, AWS Lambda, Amazon Cognito and Amazon CloudWatch.

AWS Elasticsearch

SearchBlox and AWS Elasticsearch


Google Cloud Search is not an alternative for GSA

As Google started to phase out GSA, a new cloud-based searching and indexing solution came to life.  Google Cloud Search is powered by machine learning (ML) and integrates with a robust number of SDKs and APIs.  Cloud Search will also make available out-of-the-box connectors for indexing third-party databases like Oracle and MySQL, file systems like Windows file systems, intranet solutions like Microsoft SharePoint, and plugins for popular web crawlers like Nutch and Norconex.

As impressive as Google Cloud Search seems, it remains in late beta stage testing, and only offered to select customers.  In addition, the features of Google Search Cloud do not replace all the functionality of Google Search Appliance.  Even when the next version comes out, it still may not fully replace the features of GSA.


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