Solr: a High-level Overview for Managers and Executives

Solr is a powerful open-source search server which can be used to power:

  • Vertical search engines
  • Searching within a website
  • Intranet and document management applications
  • Database-driven e-commerce websites

In general, Solr can be used in any kind of web application which requires search functionality.

Free and Open-Source

Solr is released under the Apache Public License, and the source code is freely available for download.


Solr can integrate with pretty much any application or website because it communicates using standard formats such as HTTP, XML and JSON.

It can also be deployed on both Microsoft and Linux-based operating systems.

Java expertise not required

Although Solr is built in Java, your inhouse development team does not need to be well-versed in Java.

Solr's REST-like HTTP/XML and JSON APIs make it easy to use from virtually any programming language.

Solr's powerful XML-based configuration allows it to be customized without Java coding, and it has an extensive plugin architecture when more advanced customization is required.


Solr's search features include support for:

  • boolean query syntax (AND, OR, NOT)
  • phrase, date and numeric range searches
  • search result highlighting
  • faceted search
  • database integration
  • searching of binary documents such as Word and PDF
  • spatial search
  • distributed search and index replication

What Solr is NOT

Solr is NOT a relational database like MySQL, Oracle or Postgresql. Rather, it can work in tandem with databases to power web applications.

How long does a vanilla deployment of Solr take?

Typically less than a week, depending on the complexity of data and queries.