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Posted on October 31, 2022 by

Categories: AWS


Since AWS Elasticsearch, Open Distro, and OpenSearch are commonly used interchangeably to refer to any Amazon-backed distribution of Elasticsearch and Kibana, in this post, we will address some of the most common misconceptions and queries consumers have regarding these services.

Early Times

In 2015, AWS released the initial version of their Open Distro for Elasticsearch, consisting of a patchwork of several repositories that comprised Elasticsearch and Searchguard. Attempts to integrate Elasticsearch with preexisting security measures were still in the works and not quite ready for prime time at this point.

Many customers were dissatisfied that Elasticsearch’s open-source predecessor, the ELK Stack, did not have built-in security capabilities, forcing them to utilize Elastic’s proprietary Xpack.

Many customers have considered Xpack too expensive in the past, which is why Elastic has decided to distribute all future ELK versions under an SSPL license (beginning in 2021).

While users viewed privileged user controls as crucial to protecting their data, accessing them required paying a fee.

Kibana multi-tenancy and role-based access restrictions were not offered by AWS when this project was first started. Thankfully, this is no longer the case, and these capabilities are included right in the latest version of OpenSearch Dashboards on Amazon Web Services.

Differences Between Amazon Elasticsearch, OpenSearch, and Open Distro for Elasticsearch (ODFE)

Since Elastic made the ELK Stack closed-source, several new terminologies have been formed, making it difficult to distinguish between the many Elasticsearch and Kibana deployments provided by AWS and another cloud/SaaS providers.

To sum up;

As a managed Elasticsearch as a service, AWS Elasticsearch Service (Amazon ES) has been available from Amazon since 2015.

The Amazon OpenSearch Service is a managed service that provides the most recent version of OpenSearch. It is the service’s replacement for Amazon Elasticsearch Service. On September 8, 2021, the announcement was made.

OpenSearch was formerly known as Open Distro for Elasticsearch (ODFE). On June 25, 2021, a notice was posted on the ODFE website directing visitors to the new OpenSearch website for news and updates, as the old site bearing the old branding will be gradually phased down.

This rebranding of Open Distro for Elasticsearch, along with the release of the OpenSearch dashboards, was announced on September 8, 2021. The Elastic Stack has now reached its most recent, utterly open-source release.

Because AWS participated in the distribution of Elasticsearch and Kibana, all of the criteria above apply; however, Logstash was left out of the equation.

When Did Amazon’s Elasticsearch Service Change Names?

According to the official AWS open-source blog, the Amazon Elasticsearch Service was rebranded as the Amazon OpenSearch Service as of September 8, 2021.

When did Amazon decide to back not one but two OpenSearch initiatives?

There are two OpenSearch initiatives, one from 2005 and one from 2021, which may cause some users to be confused. In 2005, OpenSearch was used to describe a browser-based format for the syndication and aggregation of search engine results.

While both OpenSearch versions are AWS-driven endeavors, only the latter features the Lucene-based distributed search engine conceived as a result of a fork of Elastic.

As technology from A9 (an ex-Amazon company) was transferred into CloudSearch, developers from CloudSearch now work on OpenSearch, and vice versa; nonetheless, these two projects are now entirely autonomous from one another.

OpenSearch Dashboards are what?

Amazon has rebranded Kibana 7.10.2 as OpenSearch Dashboards to provide enhanced features and more granular security compared to the previous version of Kibana.

OpenSearch dashboards are a perfect alternative to Kibana since they provide a browser-based UI and the choice to employ visualizations and charts, precisely like its Elastic-backed forerunner.

AWS ELK: What Is It?

There’s also the increasingly common AWS ELK acronym to consider. The L of the ELK Stack, the extract, transform, and load (ETL) tool Logstash, is not included in the Amazon Web Services distribution of Elasticsearch and Kibana. Thus the title isn’t totally accurate.

Can OpenSearch be used in a live setting?

Beats may not be able to submit data to Open Distro, OpenSearch, or any versions of Elasticsearch published after 7.10.2, according to Elastic’s warning on breaking changes in version 7.13.

Can OpenSearch Dashboards Make Use of LogTrail?

The LogTrail live tailing plugin for Kibana has not yet been cloned and changed to work with OpenSearch Dashboards, a significant drawback of 2021. Consider adding your ideas to the current roadmap to track whether this functionality is being developed or just to have your voice heard.

How Do I Use Elasticsearch, Open Distro, or OpenSearch on Amazon Web Services?

To use the most recent versions of Elasticsearch and Kibana, available from Amazon, you will need to set up a Docker host to build up a two-node cluster to support OpenSearch and OpenSearch dashboards.

The most outstanding features of OpenSearch and OpenSearch Dashboards may be experienced with no effort and on a platform ready to go live in minutes by joining up for a free trial of frees engineers and technicians from Open-Source tool installation, configuration, and optimization tedium. For some applications, the platform offers pre-edition 7.10.2 versions of the ELK Stack and managed Grafana.

Where Do Elasticsearch’s Current Clients Stand?

The following clients will be forked to provide the same APIs and functionality as in previous versions, according to the AWS update issued on August 4;

  1. elasticsearch-py
  2. elastic search-java
  3. elasticsearch-net
  4. go-elasticsearch
  5. elasticsearch-js
  6. elasticsearch-ruby
  7. eland
  8. elasticsearch-PHP
  9. elasticsearch-rs
  10. elasticsearch-Perl
  11. elasticsearch-specification
  12. elasticsearch-Hadoop

What are the Advantages of Using a Managed Service?

A managed service that hosts OpenSearch, Open Distro, and other older versions of the ELK Stack as ready-to-launch Stacks may be a good alternative if you’d want the flexibility to employ them. To host Open Distro, ELK, and hosted OpenSearch all in one place at a low price, is an excellent choice.

In the aftermath of the original suppliers wanting to monetize essential parts required to guarantee compliance, a managed service supplied on top of open-source software can address numerous security and governance deficiencies.

Your team will likely feel overwhelmed by the thought of managing this sophisticated and rapidly developing technology Stack unless you have substantial expertise in operating enterprise-level ELK.

When attempting to configure, operate, and manage many Elasticsearch instances in addition to their present workload, many teams quickly realize that they don’t have the resources necessary to run their own deployment of OpenSearch or the Elastic Stack.

A managed solution like shines when you need to grow and configure shards effectively but don’t have much experience with Elastic software. allows users to simultaneously launch Open Distro, OpenSearch, and ELK Stacks, which includes Kibana and Grafana, for speedy deployment.

If you liked this piece, you may also want to read our explanation of why you would aggregate a text field in Elasticsearch and Kibana.