Elasticsearch is a RESTful, distributed open-source analytics and full-text search engine. It is written in Java and built using the Apache Lucene engine. It uses a document-based approach which stores entities as JSON documents and indexes fields automatically.
Elasticsearch can help to add advanced search functionality to applications. Real-world examples are a good way to demonstrate what Elasticsearch’s complex processing can achieve.
Elasticsearch as an analytics engine
Elasticsearch can also provide powerful analytics capabilities. For example, it can be used to query structured data. You can also write queries that aggregate data and present the results into charts and graphs.
Some core use-cases include:
- Application Performance Management (APM) – Keep a log of errors or CPU usage of applications and then present data accordingly.
- Send Events – Use aggregations to monitor the amount of sales, for example, from physical stores and compare the figures between each store.
- Forecasting – Use historical data to forecast for the future.
- Anomaly Detection – Receive automatic notifications when something is out of place. For example, if your website of 20,000 visitors a day suddenly dips to 2000, Elasticsearch will notify you.
Aside from these specific use-cases, Elasticsearch is popular for its general functionality:
- High Performance – Can process large amounts of data, and find accurate results for your queries at lightning speed.
- Application Support – Provides compatibility for many languages including PHP, Ruby, Java and many more.
- Real-time monitoring – Can read and write data instantly, and can therefore be used in real time for things like app monitoring and anomaly detection.
- Scalability – Can accommodate thousands of servers and store petabytes of data.
It can be a challenge to know where to start for first-time users looking to implement Elasticsearch. This is where hosted Elasticsearch services come in to play. Some users like to alleviate the headache of manual setup and use Elasticsearch as a cloud service. For example, one well-known service is AWS Elasticsearch. This is Amazon’s hosted version of the software, which is available via Amazon Web Services. It is offered on a pay-as-you-use basis and provides a useful services such as pre-defined templates, automatic updates to the latest patches, integrated security, alerts to data changes and more.
Elasticsearch is open-source but you can pay for the hosted service of the software. Price is calculated according to several different variables. If you wish to use the hosted version, you can understand how the pricing is calculated using Elasticsearch’s pricing calculator. Nevertheless, you can sign up today and get a 14 day free trial. No credit card is required.
See the full Elasticsearch pricing here. On the other hand, the free, open- source version requires you to manage your own deployment and can be found here.
There can be quite a learning curve for those who have yet to encounter Elasticsearch. Therefore, the company offers plenty of training courses to get you up to speed with the program on their training page.
How to use Elasticsearch
- Search – use full-text search with complex filters and parameters
- Analyze – analyze data and gain insights
- Monitor – monitor applications and receive alerts to any changes