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Google announced an upcoming end to its Google Search Appliance (GSA) a little more than a year ago. Support will last for GSA through 2019, but now is the time to start looking at platforms and methods for migrating from the Appliance. Migrating to a different platform takes both time and extensive assessment in order to determine what kind of infrastructure needs your enterprise requires. While using services such as Bravo can make moving from Google Search Appliance easier, here are some of the top challenges to consider when making the transition. 

Finding the Right End Destination

Before any kind of move can take place, identifying the best service for a corporation's enterprise search is necessary. Google always proved a logical choice due to its extensive background in search. However, with other viable end destinations, the first challenge is identifying one with capable of fitting a company's enterprise search needs. 

To begin looking for a new search appliance, a complete assessment is needed. Companies need to determine the kind of search infrastructure required for optimal results, in addition to the hosting method. Identifying desirable features and connector requirements is another point of concern corporations need to consider when assessing its own needs. 

Understanding available enterprise search solutions is critical in identifying the right final destination and service provider. A corporation can typically identify the best replacement service provider by deciding on whether they want scalability, connector configuration features, an available hosting environment and content processing and indexing. They should also consider commercial search engines versus open source along with the relevance of tuning capabilities. By deciding which, if not all of these enterprise search solutions is important should help identify top final migration destination targets. 

To Stay With Google or Not to Stay?

Remaining in the Google ecosystem may prove beneficial in the long run. Google makes it easy to move from one application to the next without much of an issue. At the individual level, one account grants access to dozens of services and accounts, ranging from YouTube to Gmail, Google Play, Dropbox and others. At the corporate level, there are other platforms to consider. Google Cloud Platform is one of the newer services. It provides migration cloud support, which is beneficial. The company also indicated it would support enterprise search, although very little more is known regarding what kind of services a company can expect when Google Cloud Platform fully takes center stage from GSA. 

For corporations already heavily leaning on Google services, staying with Google may be the way to go. The migration to Google Cloud Platform should ensure the smoothest transition as well. However, some companies may not want to completely rely on the services of Google, or they may want to move away from what Google provides and look for another search application, including Amazon CloudSearch, IBM Watson and Microsoft Azure Search. Each has its own benefits and should receive appropriate examination in order to determine the best enterprise search solutions for a company (Search Technologies, 2016)

Checklist of Mission Critical Search Application Requirements

For companies relying on the Google Search Appliance for mission critical applications, it is imperative to follow very specific methods for migrating away from GSA. Failure to transition the applications correctly may result in a potential collapse of search features, at least short term, until the transition is complete and any issues identified and corrected. This is why using a migration device for moving mission critical search applications is vital towards the stability of a company's enterprise search solutions. Attempting to perform this kind of a migration without an experienced  transition team is generally not recommended, even with a high-end IT staff on hand. 

Proper Configuring

Configuration of the new search environment is imperative to a successful migration. This includes the configuring of the new search application in order to replicate the performance and features of GSA. If this is not available, it is necessary to build new search features in order to ensure a company has the best enterprise search solutions possible. 

The transition from one search provider to another may prove time consuming, but it does provide an excellent opportunity to analyze what search feature are important and what are rarely utilized within an enterprise network. It also opens up for the potential of identifying new search features capable of providing additional benefits over what the previous GSA offered. Migrating to a new enterprise search service can have benefits, as long as the move is looked at as an upgrade and not a mandated requirement. Taking advantage of the opportunity can prove helpful to the company's enterprise search solutions long term, but it does all come back to proper planning and proper configuring. If issues arise during either of these steps (typically problems in configuration occur if in-depth planning is not performed). 

Limited Google Support

One of the major challenges with performing the move is the surprising lack of support coming from Google. The company more or less announced the eventual end to GSA, but since the announcement it has provided very little in way of guidelines and the best course of action. Carrying out the comprehensive evaluation of the used and required search technologies while mapping out data from the current GSA to the new search service should help smooth out the transition, but with the extremely limited of information offered by Google, companies not taking advantage of migration services are likely to run into potentially extensive problems during the transition (CMS Wire, 2016). 

Timing

Google announced remaining support for GSA through 2019. However, for many corporations and other users of the search environment, their timeline may be far shorter than the current window indicates. It is vital for users of GSA to check their license agreements and the expiration date. Licenses will not be extended, so in all likelihood, most users of GSA will find they need to migrate over far sooner than the 2019 timeline. This may force an expedited transition process, which in itself can cause problems while data mapping and creating a new search feature designed to replicate that of GSA. Companies need to be aware of what their current license agreement is and make plans to move forward with the transition now before they are out of viable options (CMS Wire, 2016).

It is possible to search for the current license agreement by logging into the Google service as an admin. This provides up to date information about the GSA account, including the current license. In some cases, Google is allowing companies to file a support case in order to extend the license. Google may prove more lenient providing extensions, but it is best to avoid requesting one all together (Google, 2017).

Many corporations at the enterprise level have come to depend on GSA. With the announcement of its eventual end, companies around the globe were left wondering what to do and where to turn to. There are numerous destinations available for potential migration, it just requires appropriate planning to ensure a company's enterprise search solutions are handled properly. By considering these potentially difficult challenges, a corporation has the ability to make as smooth a transition as possible to the new search appliance. 

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