The requirements combination Intranet (local index) + small budget + EPiServer-integration leaves very few search engines other than default EPiServer Search and EPiServer Find, really. Personally I would definitively go for Find, unless you require a local index (expensive).
I have worked with a few search engines in various projects and while the products themselves all have their strengths and weakness, there are also project types/environments that they are more or less suited for (IIS or Apache web server? Local or cloud hosted index? Simple page indexing or advanced file/cross-system indexing? etc).
I have previously blogged a bit about how to choose a search solution for EPiServer, but it doesn't cover specific vendors.
A few search products you can research that may be suitable: IntelliSearch, EasySearch, Forward Search, EPiSolr. Also there is a cloud hosted, ElasticSearch-based newcomer called Searchly which is quite reasonably priced.
You can cross Euroling SiteSeeker off the list as they were acquired by EPiServer. Although the product still exists, they will most likely gradually merge with Find (disclaimer: my guess, nothing official on this).
Thanks Arild. I've actually read your blog post about choosing a search solution.
What do you mean when you say that a local index is expensive?
Find is usually licensed as a cloud hosted service with a monthly fee, but is also available as a local installation for a quite expensive one-time price (to compensate for the loss of the monthly license fee). Some companies choose this option if they require that the index isn't transferred outside their network.
If there is a tight budget, you could always setup your own Elastic Search and then use a library like NEST to communicate with it. It needs some more work then setting up Find, but it's a really good alternative.
Searchly as I mentioned above is based on ElasticSearch and uses NEST to communicate with the APIs :-)
Ah, seems neat, still a monthly cost though. Of course, setting up your own ES "requires" the site to be on a dedicated server
What search engine alternatives are there besides EPiServer Search and Find, that are viable for a intranet application and small budgets?