Google Search Appliance

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Google appliance as shown at RSA Conference 2008

The Google Search Appliance was a rack-mounted device that provided document indexing functionality. The operating system is based on CentOS. The software is produced by Google and the hardware is manufactured by Dell and the final 2009 version was based on Dell's PowerEdge R710. Google announced the phase out of the appliance in early 2016 and a complete discontinuation by 2019.

The device is supplied in two models: a 2U model (GB-7007) capable of indexing up to 10 million documents, and a 5U (2U plus 3U storage) model (GB-9009) that is capable of indexing up to 30 million documents. Sales are operated on a licensing scheme which starts as a two-year contract for maintenance, support and software updates.


The Google Search Appliance contains Google search technologies and a means of configuring and customizing the appliance. The appliance used to come with a T-shirt, but no longer includes one.


The Google Search Appliance was first introduced in 2002.

Software version 6.0 was released in June, 2009. This software runs on some hardware versions of the GB-1001 model (all units with an "S5" prefix in their "Appliance ID"), and all GB-7007 and GB-9009 models.

Google released version 7.0 on October 9, 2012. Google released version 7.2 on February 11, 2014.


The Google Search Appliance could be purchased in two separate versions based on the number of documents being indexed. Model G100, a 2U appliance, can index up to 20,000,000 documents. The G500 5U appliance[1] can index up to 100,000,000 documents.

The G100 model is a branded version of the Dell PowerEdge R720XD. Its IDRAC BIOS reveals a model name of Dell OEM.R R720XD XL. These models can be easily re-flashed to fully functional Dell-branded BIOS, however they are made with a Google-branded BIOS by default that locks down many features as well as BIOS access.

Discontinued versions[edit]

Older appliances[edit]

Google used to sell a 2U appliance (GB-1001) capable of indexing up to 5,000,000 documents, a half-rack cluster (GB-5005) of five 2U nodes capable of indexing up to 10,000,000 documents, and a full-rack cluster (GB-8008) of eight and later twelve nodes capable of indexing up to 30,000,000 documents. Some models were based on Dell PowerEdge 2950 2U rackmount servers.

Google Mini[edit]

The Google Mini was a smaller and lower-cost solution that occupied 1U of rack space for small and medium-sized businesses to set up a search engine that allowed them to index and search up to 300,000 documents. The hardware was manufactured by Super Micro Computer, Inc. The Google Mini was discontinued beginning July 31, 2012.

Google Search Appliance virtual edition for developers[edit]

For a brief period in 2008 Google offered a virtual version of the Google Search Appliance aimed at developers. The virtual edition could be downloaded free of charge and index up to 50,000 documents. It was soon discontinued for unknown reasons.

Retirement and shutdown[edit]

Early in February 2016, Google sent a confidential letter[2] to its business partners and customers, stating that the GSA will not be available past 2018. It began with the discontinuation of three-year contracts in 2016; in 2017 there will be only one-year renewal contracts and no hardware sales, followed by a complete shutdown in 2018. Customers are expected to migrate to a cloud-based solution, raising privacy and regulatory issues.


  1. ^ "Computerworld - Google Releases New Versions of Its Search Appliance".
  2. ^ "See Ya, Google Search Appliance".

External links[edit]

  • Review at SearchTools Analysis
  • InfoWorld Review of Google Search Appliance, ISYS:web 8
  • Example of an online Google Appliance - At MIT