One To Watch

ElasticSearch opens for business, with launch of company

Chris Mayer
elasticsearch

After two years of steady development, the distributed, RESTful, open source search server based on Apache Lucene looks set to take on the challenges ahead

One of the brightest open source projects around now has a
public face for their community efforts, after the team behind the
RESTful search server,
ElasticSearch
launched their own company of the same name.

Steven Schuurman, CEO of ElasticSearch announced through a
blogpost, that he and the creator of the project, Shay Banon, were
amongst those part of this new endeavour. ElasticSearch has been
knocking around for two years now, since its first release with
Banon at the helm in February 2010. Numerous releases arrived
after, updating the Java-written RESful search server with new
features every time.

ElasticSearch is an ambitious project based on Apache
Lucene, the high performance indexing and search library
created by Doug Cutting. ElasticSearch is effectively a spinoff of
Banon’s earlier project Compass, after realising the need to start
afresh to create a
distributed, scalable solution
.

Thus ElasticSearch was born – choosing JSON over HTTP to
create a near real-time search server, offering multi-tenancy
support. ElasticSearch attempts to make the majority of its
features available through the JSON and Java API and also has the
‘Gateway’ feature for persistence long-term. Its schema free nature
makes it ideal as a NoSQL solution to source documents.

Schuurman spoke of how pivotal this day was for the project.

Today is the day we launch the company
behind elasticsearch! In practice, this means that as of today,
users and potential users of elasticsearch have a definitive source
for support, education and guidance with respect to developing,
deploying and running elasticsearch in production environments.

He added later that this doesn’t mean the end of contributions
to the larger Apache Lucene project which is great to hear. This
mirrors the trajectory of other similar open source projects,
making sure they got the initial project right before ploughing
cash into an commercial hub of operations. They won’t be shying
away from open source at all, merely making sure those wanting the
highest level of enterprise support get it.

As many will know, there’s a competitor in the space in the
shape of Solr (which is also built on Lucene) and the pro and cons
should be weighed up before selecting which search server for your
needs. One of ElasticSearch’s main stumbling blocks was the fact
that Banon was a one-man band on the project for some time. Now
that ElasticSearch is truly making an enterprise charge, that major
negative for businesses is no longer valid with the foundations in
place to offer more cohesive enterprise support.

ElasticSearch is currently in use at StumbleUpon, Mozilla, Sony
and Klout – a decent industry cross-section to to have on your
side, but with this move, the project is set to grab more. The plan
ahead for ElasticSearch appears to be to refocus their efforts and
get more developers onboard. Having one of the leaders
of the Apache Lucene project, Simon Willnauer, as another
co-founder of the company, as well as technology leader helps
somewhat. New horizons lay ahead with a new team.

The Big Data analytics field just got that more
interesting – Solr or ElasticSearch, which do you pick?

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