One To Watch

ElasticSearch opens for business, with launch of company

Chris Mayer

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?

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments