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Aspire is a framework and libraries of extensible components.

Aspire is designed to enable creation of solutions to acquire data from one or more content repositories (such as file systems, relational databases, cloud storage, or content management systems).

  • You can extract metadata and text from the documents.
  • You can analyze, modify and enhance the content and metadata if needed.
  • Then you can publish each document, together with its metadata, to a search engine or other target application.

Aspire uses Apache Felix (an open source implementation of OSGi).

Why Aspire

Aspire is flexible. By pulling data processing pipelines out of the search engine, Aspire uses its power and efficiency to:

  • Manipulate content and metadata.
  • Process that content and metadata in multiple pipelines simultaneously, and over multiple machines, for higher performance.
  • Feed the content and metadata to one or more engines for indexing.

The Aspire framework supports creating Natural Language Processing (NLP), machine learning, and other analytic processing for text through a rich set of basic components.

You can install, start, stop, update, and uninstall Aspire components and applications.

  • You won't need to reboot.
  • You'll enjoy improved up-time and easier system administration.
  • Each piece of Aspire processing functionality is a modular component that you can use by itself, or with other components to create an Aspire application.

Aspire 3

Administrator View

The administrator installs, configures, and maintains Aspire deployments. Manage Aspire deployments using a web-based, point-and-click interface, which is the same one an Aspire developer uses. However, an administrator needs to fill in only configuration information. Depending on your environment, you can use a single Aspire system administrator or several; each responsible for different content sources.

The System Administration UI has the following main functions.

  • Configure properties for Aspire connectors
  • Set up crawling schedules for repositories
  • Manage full and incremental crawls
  • Manage security
  • Monitor system health and performance
  • Monitor crawl statistics and performance
  • Index auditing

Administration UI security

  • Secure the Administration UI

Connection security

  • Secure connections to Aspire

Document level security

  • SOLR document security filtering
  • Google Search Appliance filtering - Use any Aspire connector that provides the document ACLs is enough and normal GSA filtering works.
  • SharePoint 2013 filtering (on premise)

Developer View

Aspire deployments are built dynamically from components and sub-components.

  • Aspire also includes the concept of application bundles, which are groups of pre-packaged components.
  • These perform a specific function and contain embedded files to define their look and feel within the Aspire Administration UI.
  • System developers can combine components easily to process data according to the specific needs of an application.
  • You can mix Standard Aspire components with custom third-party components or with new components.

The high level developer’s view of Aspire processing control is based on three major component types.

  • Component managers
  • Pipeline managers
  • Tokenization manager

Aspire Basic or Enterprise distribution

Aspire Features

Performance and reliability

Ease of administration

  • Makes dynamic (on-the-fly) configuration changes
  • Dynamically adds new components
  • Dynamic refreshs of component code
  • Rich built-in XML processing methods include XPath and XSLT
  • Hierarchical component configuration
  • Rich and comprehensive web-based administration and control interface

Strong developer environment

  • Intuitive workflow interface
  • Supports processing content in diverse languages
  • Easy mapping of document fields to search fields
  • Rich built-in JSON and XML processing methods including XPath and XSLT
  • Use of scripting to build complex processing components
  • Hierarchical component configuration
  • Tightly integrated with Maven repositories to share and load component code
  • Process streams of tokens to  perform text analytics
    • Entity extraction
    • Latent semantic analysis
    • Document vector creation and comparison
    • Topic analysis

Security support

  • Handles Proxy LDAP requests including:
    • Authenticates users
    • Determines user group membership across a multitude of systems

Federate search request support

  • Distributed queries to multiple search engines
  • Merged search results

Hadoop support

  • Writes to HDFS
  • Includes Aspire within map / reduce jobs

Structure of an Aspire Solution

You can divide Aspire deployments into three high-level functional areas: content access, content processing, and publishing.

  • Content access - Fetches the documents and associated metadata from the content repositories.
    • The applications that perform this function are called Aspire Connectors, which support Application Programing Interfaces (APIs) of target repositories.
    • They access content, metadata, and security credentials.
    • Where available, Aspire connectors capture the full directory structure from the repository and support "browsable" enterprise site maps.
  • Content processing - Analyses, augments, and transforms content.
    • Depending on the application, this can involve use of regular expressions or a wide range of complex semantic and statistical processing techniques.
    • Content processing can spawn Hadoop map / reduce jobs for larger processing tasks.
  • Publishing - Components in an Aspire deployment push processed text from the content processing pipelines to a target system in the correct form and, where available, using the search engine’s ingestion API.
    • The target system is typically a search engine or file directory.
    • The applications that perform this function are called Aspire Publishers.
    • XML and JSON output is also available.

Functional Component Hierarchy

  • Component - An atomic piece of Aspire logic.

  • Configurable Component - A single component wrapped with Dynamic XML Forms (DXF) for use with the Admin UI.
  • Application or Application Bundle - Multiple components wrapped with DFX, and optionally, configuration files.

Version Numbering

Aspire Core releases use version numbers to identify which software an Aspire solution is built upon.

  • Left most digit - Contains a major version that is reserved to denote the overall architecture.
  • Second digit - Represents the minor version and denotes a release with new features.
  • Third number - Optionally, represents the stability release version. This denotes a release with multiple bug fixes.
  • Fourth digit - Optionally, represents a release a version with one or only a few bug fixes.

Note: Aspire Connector version numbers match the major and minor releases. Over time, the numbers after the major digit can diverge.

There is no version dependency between Aspire Core and Connectors / Publishers. This allows Search Technologies to release new versions (of Connectors or Publishers) independently of Aspire Core releases. Major version number must always match.