Elasticsearch is a distributed search and analytics engine built on Apache Lucene. Since its release in 2010, Elasticsearch has quickly become the most popular search engine and is commonly used for log analytics, full-text search, security intelligence, business analytics, and operational intelligence use cases.

On January 21, 2021, Elastic NV announced that they would change their software licensing strategy and not release new versions of Elasticsearch and Kibana under the permissive Apache License, Version 2.0 (ALv2) license. Instead, new versions of the software will be offered under the Elastic license, with source code available under the Elastic License or SSPL. These licenses are not open source and do not offer users the same freedoms. To ensure that the open source community and our customers continue to have a secure, high-quality, fully open source search and analytics suite, we introduced the OpenSearch project, a community-driven, ALv2 licensed fork of open source Elasticsearch and Kibana.

How does Elasticsearch work?

You can send data in the form of JSON documents to Elasticsearch using the API or ingestion tools such as Logstash and Amazon Kinesis Firehose. Elasticsearch automatically stores the original document and adds a searchable reference to the document in the cluster’s index. You can then search and retrieve the document using the Elasticsearch API. You can also use Kibana, a visualization tool, with Elasticsearch to visualize your data and build interactive dashboards.

You can run Apache 2.0 licensed Elasticsearch versions (up until version 7.10.2 & Kibana 7.10.2) on-premises, on Amazon EC2, or on Amazon Elasticsearch Service. With on-premises or Amazon EC2 deployments, you are responsible for installing Elasticsearch and other necessary software, provisioning infrastructure, and managing the cluster. Amazon Elasticsearch Service, on the other hand, is a fully managed service, so you don’t have to worry about time-consuming cluster management tasks such as hardware provisioning, software patching, failure recovery, backups, and monitoring.

Elasticsearch benefits

Fast time-to-value

Elasticsearch offers simple REST based APIs, a simple HTTP interface, and uses schema-free JSON documents, making it easy to get started and quickly build applications for a variety of use-cases.

High performance

The distributed nature of Elasticsearch enables it to process large volumes of data in parallel, quickly finding the best matches for your queries.

Complimentary tooling and plugins

Elasticsearch comes integrated with Kibana, a popular visualization and reporting tool. It also offers integration with Beats and Logstash, while enable you to easily transform source data and load it into your Elasticsearch cluster. You can also use a number of open-source Elasticsearch plugins such as language analyzers and suggesters to add rich functionality to your applications.

Near real-time operations

Elasticsearch operations such as reading or writing data usually take less than a second to complete. This lets you use Elasticsearch for near real-time use cases such as application monitoring and anomaly detection.

Easy application development

Elasticsearch provides support for various languages including Java, Python, PHP, JavaScript, Node.js, Ruby, and many more.

Getting started with Elasticsearch on AWS

Managing and scaling Elasticsearch can be difficult and requires expertise in Elasticsearch setup and configuration. To make it easy for customers to run Elasticsearch, AWS offers Amazon Elasticsearch Service, a fully managed service that delivers 19 versions on open source Elasticsearch with the availability, scalability, and security that production workloads require.

To learn more about OpenSearch and the ways to operationalize it, please click here.

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