Updated: June 11th, 2015

In the past few weeks I've been implementing advanced search at Plaxo, working quite closely with Solr enterprise search server. Today, I saw this relatively detailed comparison between Solr and its main competitor Sphinx (full credit goes to StackOverflow user mausch who had been using Solr for the past 2 years). For those still confused, Solr and Sphinx are similar to MySQL FULLTEXT search, or for those even more confused, think Google (yeah, this is a bit of a stretch, I know).

Similarities

  • Both Solr and Sphinx satisfy all of your requirements. They're fast and designed to index and search large bodies of data efficiently.
  • Both have a long list of high-traffic sites using them (Solr, Sphinx)
  • Both offer commercial support. (Solr, Sphinx)
  • Both offer client API bindings for several platforms/languages (Sphinx, Solr)
  • Both can be distributed to increase speed and capacity (Sphinx, Solr)

Here are some differences

Related questions

Conclusion

In my experience, Solr is very-very fast on the query side. It is also very powerful. The indexing side is very CPU and memory intensive and is an unfortunate side effect of having such a feature-rich, fast application. Nevertheless, I highly recommend Solr.

For disclaimer purposes, I have not had much experience with Sphinx and, again, all credit for this comparison goes to mausch.

By the way, here's a really good resource for Solr 1.4 that just came out: Solr 1.4 Enterprise Search. I have this book and it's quite helpful in explaining such topics as multicore setup, search methods, replication, etc.

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Artem Russakovskii is a San Francisco programmer and blogger. Follow Artem on Twitter (@ArtemR) or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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