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Amazon Web Services announced a new open source distribution of Elasticsearch named Open Distro for Elasticsearch in collaboration with Expedia Group and Netflix.

Open Distro for Elasticsearch will be focused on driving innovation with value-added features to ensure users have a feature-rich option that is fully open source. It provides developers with the freedom to contribute to open source value-added features on top of the Apache 2.0-licensed Elasticsearch upstream project.

The need for Open Distro for Elasticsearch

Elasticsearch’s Apache 2.0 license enabled it to gain adoption quickly and allowed unrestricted use of the software. However, since June 2018, the community witnessed significant intermix of proprietary code into the code base. While an Apache 2.0 licensed download is still available, there is an extreme lack of clarity as to what customers who care about open source are getting and what they can depend on.

“Enterprise developers may inadvertently apply a fix or enhancement to the proprietary source code. This is hard to track and govern, could lead to a breach of license, and could lead to immediate termination of rights (for both proprietary free and paid).”

Individual code commits also increasingly contain both open source and proprietary code, making it difficult for developers who want to only work on open source to contribute and participate. Also, the innovation focus has shifted from furthering the open source distribution to making the proprietary distribution popular. This means that the majority of new Elasticsearch users are now, in fact, running proprietary software.

“We have discussed our concerns with Elastic, the maintainers of Elasticsearch, including offering to dedicate significant resources to help support a community-driven, non-intermingled version of Elasticsearch. They have made it clear that they intend to continue on their current path”, the AWS community states in their blog.

These changes have also created uncertainty about the longevity of the open source project as it is getting less innovation focused. Customers also want the freedom to run the software anywhere and self-support at any point in time if they need to. Thus, this has led to the creation of Open Distro for Elasticsearch.

Features of Open Distro for Elasticsearch

Keeps data security in check

Open Distro for Elasticsearch protects users’ cluster by providing advanced security features, including a number of authentication options such as Active Directory and OpenID, encryption in-flight, fine-grained access control, detailed audit logging, advanced compliance features, and more.

Automatic notifications

Open Distro for Elasticsearch provides a powerful, easy-to-use event monitoring and alerting system. This enables a user to monitor data and send notifications automatically to their stakeholders. It also includes an intuitive Kibana interface and powerful API, which further eases setting up and managing alerts.

Increased SQL query interactions

It also allows users who are already comfortable with SQL to interact with their Elasticsearch cluster and integrate it with other SQL-compliant systems. SQL offers more than 40 functions, data types, and commands including join support and direct export to CSV.

Deep Diagnostic insights with Performance Analyzer

Performance Analyzer provides deep visibility into system bottlenecks by allowing users to query Elasticsearch metrics alongside detailed network, disk, and operating system stats. Performance Analyzer runs independently without any performance impact even when Elasticsearch is under stress.

According to AWS Open Source Blog, “With the first release, our goal is to address many critical features missing from open source Elasticsearch, such as security, event monitoring and alerting, and SQL support.”

Subbu Allamaraju, VP Cloud Architecture at Expedia Group, said, “We are excited about the Open Distro for Elasticsearch initiative, which aims to accelerate the feature set available to open source Elasticsearch users like us. This initiative also helps in reassuring our continued investment in the technology.”

Christian Kaiser, VP Platform Engineering at Netflix, said, “Open Distro for Elasticsearch will allow us to freely contribute to an Elasticsearch distribution, that we can be confident will remain open source and community-driven.”

To know more about Open Distro for Elasticsearch in detail, visit AWS official blog post.

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