Cheese and rice the thing sucks...
But on a serious note,
you guys should really implement a independent search index. Lucene (http://lucene.apache.org/core/) is a super powerful/highly optimized solution that I've recently had great luck with.
If your seriously interested in fixing the damn thing, have your developer shoot me an email and I can walk him through the architecture. I'm offering to consult for free because I'm sick of not being able to find anything on this site.