For a while now i have been working on an addon for SharePoint Portal Server Search that allows you to search other content sources that are not supported out of the box with SPS.

This need arose from a customer who wished to search their iManage DMS system from SharePoint.  They didn't like any of the solutions they had already seen.  Too slow, just another search ... not integrated into SPS, replaced the front the SPS components not integrated into the Search Catalog system etc...

The SPS Extended Indexer (SPS EI) was born.

The SPS EI extends SPS Search to allow ANY content source where the content files are on the file system but where the Meta data for those files is locked away in a proprietary location (read Database in most cases).  Sounds to good to be true?  Well ... it almost is ... there is one catch.  You have to code a small extract tool to pull the meta data out of where ever it sits ... and write it to an XML file, one XML file per content file.  This XML file contains security info and meta data information about the content.

What this means: you can integrate most document management or record management systems straight into SPS Search without modifying the SPS front end.  Content is full text indexed and the Meta data you supply in the XML files is indexed also.  Security in an SPS Search Catalog uses ACLs to secure content and the SPS EI takes the ACL information from the XML Meta data file and applies that security in the SPS Catalog also ... so people will only see results they are allowed to see.

Results: I am using the SPS EI a number of customers with varying DMS systems varying in size from ~150k documents to ~500k documents.  It takes about 4 hours to index ~500k documents.

Why this is so cool!: Now, with very little effort, you can integrate almost any content repository into SharePoint and have it index just like any that come out of the box.

How: I work for Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) in New Zealand ... so i cant just give this away ... as a lot of work has gone into it.  If you are interested in the SPS EI please contact me to discuss further ... or contact your local MCS practice and ask them to get in touch with me.