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InfoQ Homepage News Amazon Updates Its Elasticsearch Service, Begins Embrace of New Fork

Amazon Updates Its Elasticsearch Service, Begins Embrace of New Fork

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Amazon recently released several enhancements to Amazon Elasticsearch Service. The new capabilities stem from two different sources: Elasticsearch, the project long associated with the service, and Open Distro for Elasticsearch, a new fork. Amazon and others created the fork in response to licensing changes made by Elastic earlier this year.

The most noteworthy update to Amazon Elasticsearch Service is asynchronous search. The API enables users to execute certain queries that would otherwise time out. Product documentation suggests that async search is useful when searching large data sets, and for querying data stored on cheaper hardware. Users performing wildcard searches are also likely to see improved results.

Amazon's new asynchronous search feature is interesting for another reason: its origin. Elastic released the async search API nearly a year ago as part of X-Pack, a group of features distributed under the Elastic license. Since this code wasn't governed by the Apache 2.0 license, Amazon couldn't have easily bundled in this async search code. Instead, the company adopted the API published by Open Distro for Elasticsearch. A comparison of the Open Distro API and the Elastic API for this feature reflects the differences in implementation.

Amazon intends to rename Amazon Elasticsearch Service to Amazon OpenSearch Service.

Elastic includes async search in its commercial offerings. The feature is available for "free and open" use under the Elastic License. Elastic acknowledges that the Elastic License is not an OSI-approved license.

In a separate announcement, Amazon detailed its support for Elasticsearch 7.10. Users can create new domains based on version 7.10, and upgrade existing domains to the new version.

In a blog post announcing the licensing change, Elastic indicated that Elasticsearch version 7.10 is the final release distributed under the Apache 2.0 license. As such, it is highly likely that Amazon will turn to Open Distro for Elasticsearch as the source for future commercial enhancements. Elastic released Elasticsearch version 7.10 in November 2020.

Users have several options for a cloud-managed version of Elasticsearch, beyond the Amazon offering. Elastic offers managed versions of Elasticsearch on AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Here, users can opt to deploy more recent versions of the service, specifically versions 7.12.0, and 7.11.2. A 14-day free trial is available. Practitioners may also deploy Elastic-managed instances via the Azure and Google Cloud marketplaces. There are some caveats to this path, as Elastic documents for both Microsoft and Google customers. Self-managed versions are also available in the marketplaces of all three major clouds.

Update April 29: The article was corrected to reflect the accurate license for the Elastic async search API. We regret the error.

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