@InvisibleMan78, I already went down the updateindex.sh route and found that it isn't supported anymore. SSD isn't really an option for me, but I'll look into using RAM disk in some way.
@ijabz, memory doesn't seem to be a problem. There was no change after doubling the memory available to the indexing Java process.
@reosarevok would it be possible to share the cron jobs/related scripts for indexing? I couldn't find anything in the chef repo.