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Monitoring Technology Pick: Week of April 7th – Elasticsearch

By Jonah Kowall | April 13, 2014 | 5 Comments

Pick of The WeekOLMMonitoringLogfileIT OperationsAnalyticsData and Analytics Strategies

Continuing the blogs topics from last week we are profiling yet another log search and index technology which has begun to emerge as yet another alternative for this necessary technology when troubleshooting today’s complex environments. As the vendor we profiles last week, which utilizes several open source technologies and brings a unique user interface and ingest model the vendor this week leverages much of the same technologies.

Elasticsearch Los Altos, California

Elasticsearch has recently raised a good amount of venture funding to propel open source index and search into the enterprise spotlight. Elasticsearch is the company behind the ELK stack, with a growing set of use cases and products being built upon it. The stack consists of the following open source projects:

  • Elasticsearch is a distributed indexing and storage technology written in Java, the project is designed to scale out with modular systems sharing data storage, indexing, and search responsibilities. The project is complex to setup, maintain, and tune accordingly.
  • Logstash is the data ingest layer, messages are parsed off the hosts or a centralized logging infrastructure and forwarded into the Elasticsearch cluster (or other technologies). Logstash has a complex configuration file with many options for tuning the forwarder and configuring the parsing. The project is based on Java and can have a much larger memory footprint on the hosts than competing forwarder technologies.
  • Kibana is a graphical front end for querying Elasticsearch housed data and deriving insight (think of it as the UI). Kibana has a nice modern UI, but lacks much of the alerting, and administration needed for enterprise log indexing.

The company itself, ElasticSearch is run by a combination of technologists and entrepreneurs. Important technical members include co-founder Shay Banon, the creator of Elasticsearch. Simon Willnauer and Uri Boness who are core members of the Apache Lucene team, another highly visible Java indexing open source project. They have hired Jordan Sissel the creator of Logstash, as well as Rashid Khan the creator of the Kibana project. Matched with the marketing skill of Jen Grant who was a critical member at Box during the rise to enterprise adoption, and has had similar success at Google previously. These products will begin evolving much more quickly with a commercial entity driving the development, and solid marketing and positioning behind them. The first product released was marvel, a commercial management platform for ElasticSearch clusters. This new offering include administrative capabilities such as monitoring, root cause analysis, capacity planning, and is a paid offering, but it’s free for development use. With these innovations the product suite will evolve considerably more quickly and become a commercial alternative to other indexing and search technologies. We expect the company to begin launching commercial products later this year, and be thrust into the spotlight.

Next week, we will be highlighting yet another player in the log index and search market, before moving on to other interesting emerging technologies.

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  • David Mytton says:

    ElasticSearch + Logstash is a great combination, if you can get it set up. The docs are really not very good and when I tried setting it up a few months ago, all the guides were wrong and/or out of date.

    Kibana also had a lot of problems, particularly because it requires direct access from the browser to the ES cluster i.e. direct browser access to your production environment. That is never a good idea so you have to set up complex proxies to give it the access it needs.

    It’s a powerful set of tools once you figure it all out, but it is very difficult to get up and running.

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