• OpenSearch
  • Elasticsearch
What is OpenSearch®? An Overview

What is OpenSearch? 

OpenSearch is an open source, distributed search and analytics engine. Developed as an open source, community driven project, OpenSearch helps businesses store, search and analyze massive amounts of data at scale. OpenSearch also includes an integrated visualization tool called OpenSearch Dashboards that allows users to see and explore their data in real time.  

How Does OpenSearch Work? 

Built on top of Apache Lucene™, OpenSearch indexes ingested data from your application and stores it as documents in its database.  

When a search query is performed, OpenSearch only needs to search the index for the desired document, rather than searching through each document one by one. This makes OpenSearch incredibly fast at returning the most relevant search results.   

Features of OpenSearch 

Some of OpenSearch’s key features include: 

  • Integrated search engine: OpenSearch has built-in features such as full text querying, autocomplete, and recommendations based on relationships within the data which helps your users find what they are looking for more effectively.  
  • Built-in security: OpenSearch supports secure authentication and encryption protocols out of the box and includes a security plugin that provides more fine-grained security configurations. 
  • Monitoring: OpenSearch includes a number of monitoring and alerting features which allow you to detect security threats in real time. 
  • Analytics: Analyze your OpenSearch deployment using integrated tools and use OpenSearch Dashboards to visualize data for decision making.  
  • Open source: OpenSearch is entirely open source and supported by a community of contributors, making exciting features available with each new release.  

What Is the Difference Between OpenSearch and Elasticsearch?  

Elasticsearch is a widely used search application that was developed by Elastic NV and  originally distributed under an Apache 2.0 open source license. In early 2021, Elastic NV changed their licensing strategy and decided that they would not release new versions of Elasticsearch under the Apache 2.0 license. Subsequently, in January 2021 Amazon Web Services (AWS), in conjunction with several other companies, decided to fork the open source code of Elasticsearch and develop and maintain a 100% open source solution distributed under the Apache 2.0 license, which they named OpenSearch.  

Are Elasticsearch and Kibana Free and Open? 

Elasticsearch and Kibana are not open source technologies. They are now covered by a dual license under the Server Side Public License (SSPL) and the Elastic License which has restrictions around its use and commercialization. They are also not governed by an open community of contributors; instead, Elasticsearch and Kibana are controlled by Elastic NV, a private organization.  

For the time being you can download a free version of the Elasticsearch software package and run it yourself for internal purposes. However, the free version does not include many of the features and functionality in the privately licensed Elasticsearch offering. The license also prohibits you from various commercial applications such as offering a managed service. 

In comparison, OpenSearch is licensed under the much more permissible Apache 2.0 license which has minimal restrictions.  

What Are Some Elasticsearch and Kibana Features Not Available in the OpenSearch Project? 

As OpenSearch is a fork of Elasticsearch, many of the fundamental features are the same. OpenSearch forked the Elasticsearch codebase at version 7.10.2, which was released on the January 14, 2021. However it is worth noting that we expect some divergence over time, so migrating to OpenSearch sooner rather than later is recommended to avoid getting locked-in to Elasticsearch. Some differences between the 2 technologies currently include: 

  • Logshipping: Elasticsearch’s supported logshipping solution, Logstash and Beats, are no longer compatible with OpenSearch. OpenSearch has developed an equivalent solution called Data Prepper.  
  • Client libraries: While Elasticsearch supports almost any library you can think of, some libraries don’t yet support OpenSearch natively. However, this is changing quickly as OpenSearch gains popularity and users.  
  • Exclusive Elasticsearch add-ons: Since the code fork, Elastic has developed a number of features exclusive to Elasticsearch. However, keep in mind the OpenSearch community is also adding features and functionality with each new release.  

Why Should I Use OpenSearch? 

At the end of the day, whether or not you should use OpenSearch or another solution will depend on your specific needs. We think you should strongly consider OpenSearch if: 

  • Search is critical to your application: If your application requires powerful search functionality that is performant and reliable, OpenSearch is a fantastic open source solution. 
  • You want choice and flexibility: OpenSearch is free and open to use however you want. You can download it and run it yourself or choose from a wide range of service providers to manage your OpenSearch deployments. 
  • You want a scalable cost-effective solution: OpenSearch can support your application’s workloads at any scale, while providing peace of mind that you won’t be subject to licensing fees. 
  • You want innovative new features: OpenSearch’s thriving community of contributors are pushing the software to the leading edge of innovation, pushing out exciting features quickly and regularly.   

If you are unsure if OpenSearch is right for you, feel free to get in touch with us to discuss your needs with our friendly Support team. Alternatively, you can spin up a free test OpenSearch cluster in our console.  

While OpenSearch is one of the leading search engine technologies on the market, it still requires some effort to stand up and maintain at scale. Upgrades, patching, and constant monitoring are all required to keep your OpenSearch cluster available and performant.  

Luckily, you don’t have to do this all by yourself. 

Instaclustr’s Managed Platform will deploy, monitor and maintain your OpenSearch cluster for you – allowing you to build and operate your application at scale. Our experienced Technical Support team are available 24x7x365 to identify and remedy issues on your cluster. 

Ready to get started? Simply reach out to our OpenSearch experts and we’ll get you spinning up a cluster in no time.