AWS Releases Elasticsearch Distro in a Bid to ‘Keep Open Source Open’


Open Distro for Elasticsearch includes a set of advanced security, event monitoring & alerting, performance analysis, and SQL query features

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has partnered with companies such as Expedia Group and Netflix to create a separate library of open-source code for Elasticsearch named ‘Open Distro for Elasticsearch,’ in a bid to “keep open source open”.

Elasticsearch is a distributed, document-oriented search and analytics engine. It is often used for web-scale log analytics, real-time application monitoring, and clickstream analytics.

Announcing the launch of Open Distro for Elasticsearch, AWS’ Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog, “This is a value-added distribution of Elasticsearch that is 100 per cent open source (Apache 2.0 license) and supported by AWS. Open Distro for Elasticsearch leverages the open source code for Elasticsearch and Kibana. This is not a fork; we will continue to send our contributions and patches upstream to advance these projects.”

In addition to Elasticsearch and Kibana, the first release also includes a set of advanced security, event monitoring & alerting, performance analysis, and SQL query features.

Reason behind the new project

VP Cloud Architecture Strategy at AWS Adrian Cockcroft explained Amazon’s move to create a separate Elasticsearch code library in an extensive blog post on Monday.

He wrote that AWS decided to act because Elastic was adding more and more proprietary code to the Elasticsearch code base, which led to a “lack of clarity as to what customers who care about open source are getting and what they can depend on”.

“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,” he said.

The new advanced features of Open Distro for Elasticsearch are all Apache 2.0 licensed. According to Cockcroft, the first release addresses many critical features missing from open source Elasticsearch, such as security, event monitoring and alerting, and SQL support.

“Our aim for Open Distro for Elasticsearch is to provide developers with the freedom to contribute to open source value-added features on top of the Apache 2.0-licensed Elasticsearch upstream project,” he added.


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