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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.

Published by

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.