How to make indexing faster
Here are some things to try to speed up the indexing speed of your Lucene application. Please see ImproveSearchingSpeed for how to speed up searching.
Be sure you really need to speed things up. Many of the ideas here are simple to try, but others will necessarily add some complexity to your application. So be sure your indexing speed is indeed too slow and the slowness is indeed within Lucene.
Make sure you are using the latest version of Lucene.
Use a local filesystem. Remote filesystems are typically quite a bit slower for indexing. If your index needs to be on the remote fileysystem, consider building it first on the local filesystem and then copying it up to the remote filesystem.
Get faster hardware, especially a faster IO system.
Open a single writer and re-use it for the duration of your indexing session.
Flush by RAM usage instead of document count.
Call [http://lucene.apache.org/java/docs/api/org/apache/lucene/index/IndexWriter.html#ramSizeInBytes() writer.ramSizeInBytes()] after every added doc then call [http://lucene.apache.org/java/docs/api/org/apache/lucene/index/IndexWriter.html#flush() flush()] when it's using too much RAM. This is especially good if you have small docs or highly variable doc sizes. You need to first set [http://lucene.apache.org/java/docs/api/org/apache/lucene/index/IndexWriter.html#setMaxBufferedDocs(int) maxBufferedDocs] large enough to prevent the writer from flushing based on document count. However, don't set it too large otherwise you may hit [http://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LUCENE-845 LUCENE-845]. Somewhere around 2-3X your "typical" flush count should be OK.
Use as much RAM as you can afford.
More RAM before flushing means Lucene writes larger segments to begin with which means less merging later. Testing in [http://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LUCENE-843 LUCENE-843] found that around 48 MB is the sweet spot for that content set, but, your application could have a different sweet spot.
Increase [http://lucene.apache.org/java/docs/api/org/apache/lucene/index/IndexWriter.html#setMergeFactor(int) mergeFactor], but not too much.
Larger [http://lucene.apache.org/java/docs/api/org/apache/lucene/index/IndexWriter.html#setMergeFactor(int) mergeFactors] defers merging of segments until later, thus speeding up indexing because merging is a large part of indexing. However, this will slow down searching, and, you will run out of file descriptors if you make it too large. Values that are too large may even slow down indexing since merging more segments at once means much more seeking for the hard drives.
Turn off compound file format.
Call [http://lucene.apache.org/java/docs/api/org/apache/lucene/index/IndexWriter.html#setUseCompoundFile(boolean) setUseCompoundFile(false)]. Building the compound file format takes time during indexing (7-33% in testing for [http://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LUCENE-888 LUCENE-888]). However, note that doing this will greatly increase the number of file descriptors used by indexing and by searching, so you could run out of file descriptors if mergeFactor is also large.
Instead of indexing many small text fields, aggregate the text into a single "contents" field and index only that (you can still store the other fields).
Turn off any features you are not in fact using. If you are storing fields but not using them at query time, don't store them. Likewise for term vectors. If you are indexing many fields, turning off norms for those fields may help performance.
Use a faster analyzer.
Sometimes analysis of a document takes alot of time. For example, StandardAnalyzer is quite time consuming. If you can get by with a simpler analyzer, then try it.
Speed up document construction. Often the process of retrieving a document from somewhere external (database, filesystem, crawled from a Web site, etc.) is very time consuming.
Don't optimize unless you really need to (for faster searching).
Use multiple threads with one IndexWriter. Modern hardware is highly concurrent (multi-core CPUs, multi-channel memory architectures, native command queuing in hard drives, etc.) so using more than one thread to add documents can give good gains overall. Even on older machines there is often still concurrency to be gained between IO and CPU. Test the number of threads to find the best performance point.
Index into separate indices then merge. If you have a very large amount of content to index then you can break your content into N "silos", index each silo on a separate machine, then use the writer.addIndexesNoOptimize to merge them all into one final index.
Run a Java profiler.
If all else fails, profile your application to figure out where the time is going. I've had success with a very simple profiler called [http://www.khelekore.org/jmp JMP]. There are many others. Often you will be pleasantly surprised to find some silly, unexpected method is taking far too much time.