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Is Elasticsearch a NoSQL database?

Published March 2023

Yes, Elasticsearch is a NoSQL database. This means that SQL queries are supported but not full-featured.

SQL databases, or relational databases, can be too rigid for some use cases. As an alternative, NoSQL databases provide more scalability and flexibility.  NoSQL stands for “Not only SQL”.

Horizontal Scaling with NoSQL

NoSQL databases are the preferred choice for large data volumes because NoSQL supports horizontal scaling. Horizontal scaling is also referred to as a scale-out architecture.

With horizontal scaling, the database size can be increased by distributing data storage over a cluster of computers.

SQL’s scale-up architecture requires the use of larger computers (evermore CPUs and memory) to meet increased volume.

Flexible Data Storage

NoSQL databases also offer more flexibility for unstructured data than SQL databases. SQL databases store data in structured tables that can require transformation of data away from the form used in applications.

With NoSQL, data can be stored in a way similar to how it is used in applications. This approach requires fewer transformations to store and retrieve data.

If you’re new to Elasticsearch and looking for more resources, then check out our posts on Elasticsearch Basics and Important Elasticsearch Terms and Concepts.

Elastic Stack Consulting Services

If you are interested in 24/7 support, consulting, and/or fully managed Elasticsearch services on your environment, you can find more information on our Elasticsearch consulting page.

Schedule a call with an Elastic Stack engineer.