There is a project to build a Catalyst based CPAN search engine, with the idea to make it more hackable and ultimately incorporate some more 'social' features into it. The original effort was started by Brian Cassidy, he created a cpanhq github repository and wrote some initial code, later there were some features added by Shlomi Fish (in his repo) and now I am working on it. In my repo you'll find a version that finally has a search page and it even works. It uses the SQLite FTS3 full text search engine.
The biggest problem for me is that I had to modify the database quite extensively and now the loading scripts don't work any longer. To show something I decided to load the database into the repo - so now it can take awful long time to download the software, but in return right after the download you should be able to try out the searching. It is not at end user quality - you need to know some internals to use if effectively (like using 'me.name desc' in the order field to sort the packages by name), but it should be reasonably fast. Now I am thinking what are the most useful search strategies.