Apache Solr Overview - Apache Solr

What is Apache Solr?

An open source platform which is used to build the search applications is known as Apache Solr. It is an open source search platform built upon a Java library, Lucene. It enables in indexing and searching multiple sites and return with the recommendations for the content based on the search query’s taxonomy. It is fast and highly scalable enterprise-ready search engine. The applications which are built using Solr are more sophisticated and deliver high performance.

Yonik Seely, in the process of adding search capabilities to the company website of CNET Networks, has created Apache Solr. It was declared as an open-source project under Apache Software Foundation in January 2006. The latest version of Solr 6.0 was released in 2016.

Solr is used along with Hadoop. As large amount of data is handled by Hadoop, Solr enables in getting the required information from the large source. Apart from search, Solr is also used for storage purpose. It is a non-relational data storage and processing technology.

In short, Solr is a scalable, ready to deploy, search/storage engine optimized to search large volumes of text-centric data.

What are the features of Apache Solr?

Apache Solr search platform is built upon a Java library called, Lucene. Hence, all the features of Lucene are leveraged to Solr. Some of the important features of Apache Solr are:

  • Restful APIs − To communicate with Solr, possessing Java programming skills is not mandatory, restful services can also be used to communicate with it. The documents are entered in Solr in file formats like XML, JSON and .CSV and results are obtained in the same format.
  • Full text search − All the capabilities needed for a full text search such as tokens, phrases, spell check, wildcard, and auto-complete are facilitated by Solr.
  • Enterprise ready − According to the need of the organization, Solr can be deployed in any kind of systems (big or small) such as standalone, distributed, cloud, etc.
  • Flexible and Extensible – The components of Solr can be customized by extending the Java classes and accordingly configure.
  • NoSQL database − Solr can also be used as big data scale NOSQL database where the search tasks can be distributed along a cluster.
  • Admin Interface − Solr provides an easy-to-use, user friendly, feature powered, user interface, using which all the possible tasks such as manage logs, add, delete, update and search documents can be performed.
  • Highly Scalable – The capacity can be scaled by adding the replicas while using Solr with Hadoop.
  • Text-Centric and Sorted by Relevance − Solr is mostly used to search text documents and the results are delivered according to the relevance with the user’s query in order.

It is not mandatory to have Java programming skills to work with Apache Solr. An excellent ready-to-deploy service is provided which builts a search box featured with autocomplete, which is not provided by Lucene. Apache Solr is used to scale, distribute, and manage index, for large scale (Big Data) applications.

How Lucene is used in Search Applications?

A simple and powerful Java based search library is known as Lucene. To add the search capabilities, it is used in any of the applications. Lucene is a scalable and high-performance library used to index and search virtually any kind of text. Indexing and Searching, the core operations required by any search application are provided by Lucene library.

A search engine would become mandatory for a web portal with huge volume of data, to extract the relevant information from the huge pool of data. In such cases, Lucene works as a heart of the search application and provides the crucial indexing and searching operations.

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