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Is Elasticsearch a Database?

Published August 2023

Yes, Elasticsearch can be loosely defined as a database.  But more accurately, it’s a distributed search engine.  Elasticsearch can be used for text-based data, numerical data, geospatial data, vector data, and aggregating data.

Elasticsearch is a NoSQL database, meaning SQL queries are supported but not full-featured. We have two articles on how to query Elasticsearch.  The first is How to Query Elasticsearch Using Boolean Queries.  The other is How to Query Elasticsearch in Kibana.

Elasticsearch was first released in 2010 under the Apache License making it open source.  In 2021, the company announced that starting with version 7.11 the open source Apache Licensing would be replaced with the Server Side Public License or the Elastic License.  Either of these licenses allow users to download and use Elasticsearch at no charge, but they do impose restrictions that make it no longer open source. 

OpenSearch is an Apache Licensed open source alternative to Elasticsearch. It was created as a fork from Elasticsearch 7.10.2 and Kibana 7.10.2 in 2021.  The OpenSearch search engine is simply referred to as OpenSearch, and the dashboard tool is referred to as OpenSearch Dashboards. The Elasticsearch dashboard tool is referred to as Kibana.

For a comparison of OpenSearch and Elasticsearch check out our article OpenSearch vs. Elasticsearch.

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Dattell provides 24×7 support and managed services for OpenSearch and Elasticsearch on our clients’ environments.

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Dattell - Kafka & Elasticsearch Support

Benefit from the experience of our Kafka, Pulsar, Elasticsearch, and OpenSearch expert services to help your team deploy and maintain high-performance platforms that scale. We support Kafka, Elasticsearch, and OpenSearch both on-prem and in the cloud, whether on stand alone clusters or running within Kubernetes. We’ve saved our clients $100M+ over the past six years. Without our guidance companies tend to overspend on hardware or purchase unnecessary licenses. We typically save clients multiples more money than our fees cost in addition to building, optimizing, and supporting fault-tolerant, highly available architectures.