November 25, 2021

What is ElasticSearch?

Discovering the ideal search engine for speed and scalability

What is ElasticSearch

What is Elasticsearch?

Elasticsearch is a distributed, free and open search and analysis engine for all types of data, including textual, numeric, geospatial, structured and unstructured. Elasticsearch is based on Apache Lucene and was first released in 2010 by Elasticsearch NV (now known as Elastic).

Known for its simple REST API, the distributed nature, speed and scalability, Elasticsearch is the core component of Elastic Stack, a free and open set of tools for data acquisition, enrichment, archiving, analysis and visualization. Commonly referred to as ELK Stack (after Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana), Elastic Stack now includes a rich collection of light shippers known as Beats for submitting data to Elasticsearch.

It is designed to handle large volumes of data efficiently and deliver high-quality search results quickly. Elasticsearch uses a schema-free approach to data management, which means you don't need to explicitly define a schema for your data before you can load and analyze it.

The heart of Elasticsearch is a cluster of nodes, each of which manages a set of indexes. Indexes are data structures that contain documents and information about how they are stored and analyzed. Documents within an index can be searched, filtered and analyzed using advanced find requests.

Elasticsearch offers a variety of search capabilities, including the ability to perform full-text searches, searches based on specific fields, filtering, faceting, and aggregations. In addition, it also offers data analysis features, such as term analysis, bigram analysis, and cluster analysis.

Elasticsearch is designed to scale out and supports deployment across multiple nodes to handle large volumes of data. It also offers a variety of replication and recovery options to ensure data availability and integrity.

Elasticsearch can be used to search for any type of document and provides a scalable, near real-time search system with support for multitenancy.[5] â€œElasticsearch is distributed; this means that the indices can be divided into shard, each with the possibility of replication. Each node contains one or more shards, and is able to act as a coordinator, delegating the necessary operations to the correct shard (or shards). Routing and rebalancing are done automatically

What is Elasticsearch used for?

Elasticsearch's impressive speed and scalability and its ability to index many types of content mean it can be used for a variety of use cases:

    1. Search for applications: Elasticsearch is able to provide an all-round search within an application. It can handle huge amounts of data and return relevant results in real time. This includes full-text search, fuzzy search, typo-correction search, and relevance-weighted search.
    2. Search the website: Developers can use Elasticsearch to improve the search experience on a website. With Elasticsearch, you can provide your visitors with more relevant, real-time search results.
    3. Corporate research: Elasticsearch can be used to search various corporate databases and documents. This can make it much easier to find important information within an organization.
    4. Registration and analysis of logs: Elasticsearch, along with Logstash and Kibana (known as the ELK stack), is widely used for centralized logging and log analysis. This can help pinpoint problems in your system before they become serious.
    5. Infrastructure metrics and container monitoring: Elasticsearch can be used to collect, track and analyze infrastructure metrics such as CPU usage, memory usage, network response times, etc. This can help understand the performance of an organization's IT infrastructure.
    6. Application performance monitoring: With the use of Application Performance Management (APM) agents, Elasticsearch can track and monitor application performance, identify bottlenecks, and help optimize performance.
    7. Analysis and visualization of geospatial data: Elasticsearch supports geospatial data, which means you can query geographic data and view it in maps. This can be very useful for companies that manage location-specific data.
    8. Security analysis: Elasticsearch can be used to collect and analyze security data. This can help spot potential security threats and attacks in real-time.
    9. Business analysis: Elasticsearch can be used to analyze business data and provide insights. It can handle huge volumes of data and can be used for real-time analytics purposes, such as demand forecasting, trend analysis, and business process optimization.

How does Elasticsearch work?

Elasticsearch operates as a real-time search engine, functioning as the beating heart of a plethora of applications and services. You receive raw data from a variety of different sources: logs, system metrics, web applications, and potentially any other type of structured or unstructured data. This acquisition versatility is one of Elasticsearch's strengths.

This initially raw data goes through a process called data capture, where it is analysed, normalized and enriched. This process may involve removing irrelevant data, unifying disparate data formats, or adding metadata to improve future searches.

Logstash-Use-Case-diagram

Once the data has been cleaned and structured, it is indexed in Elasticsearch. Indexing is the process by which Elasticsearch categorizes data so that it can be retrieved efficiently. It is a key component of the speed and efficiency Elasticsearch is known for.

With the data now indexed, users can leverage the power of Elasticsearch to perform a variety of queries on their data. These aren't just plain text searches; users can run complex queries that query several fields, use conditional logic, and return aggregated data.

In addition, users can take advantage of aggregations, which are a powerful feature for retrieving complex summaries of their data. For example, a user might want to know the average number of site visits per user; this is the kind of information that can be easily obtained with aggregations.

Finally, users can use Kibana, a data visualization application, to create detailed and interactive visualizations of their data. Kibana also allows you to share these dashboards with others and manage the entire Elastic Stack, including Elasticsearch, providing a powerful and intuitive user interface for interacting with your data.

What is an Elasticsearch index?

An Elasticsearch index represents a powerful data organization tool: it is a collection of documents that present a relationship to each other, potentially sharing a series of common attributes. Rather than storing data in a rigid, predefined format, Elasticsearch stores information as JSON documents. This flexibility allows you to relate a variable set of keys, which can represent field or property names, to their corresponding values. These values ​​can be of various types: strings, numbers, booleans, dates, arrays of values, geographical coordinates and more.

A central and crucial aspect of data management in Elasticsearch is the use of a data structure called an inverted index. This facility was developed specifically to enable high-speed full-text searches. It works by listing each unique word in a document and associating it with all documents where the word appears. In essence, an inverted index works like a giant "index" in a book, indicating where each word can be found.

Processing and organizing data in this way is part of the indexing process. While indexing, Elasticsearch not only archives documents, but also creates an inverted index to make document data easily searchable. This process is so efficient that the data is available for search in near real-time after being indexed.

Indexing is driven by the Elasticsearch index API, through which you can add or update JSON documents in a specific index. This application programming interface allows developers to interact with the index, adding or changing data as needed. The combination of these features makes Elasticsearch a powerful tool for managing and searching for data.

Why use Elasticsearch?

Elasticsearch is fast. Since Elasticsearch is based on Lucene, it excels at full-text search. Elasticsearch is also a near real-time search platform, which means that the latency from the time a document is indexed until it becomes searchable is very short, typically a second. Consequently, Elasticsearch is suitable for time-sensitive use cases such as security analysis and infrastructure monitoring.

Elasticsearch is distributed by nature. Documents stored in Elasticsearch are spread across several containers known as shard , which are duplicated to provide redundant copies of data in the event of a hardware failure. The distributed nature of Elasticsearch allows you to scale up to hundreds (or even thousands) of servers and manage petabytes of data.

Elasticsearch comes with a wealth of features. In addition to its speed, scalability and resilience, Elasticsearch has a number of powerful built-in features that make data storage and search even more efficient, such as data rollups and index lifecycle management.

Elastic Stack makes it easy to capture, view and report data. Integration with Beats and Logstash simplifies data processing before indexing in Elasticsearch. And Kibana provides real-time visualization of Elasticsearch data and user interfaces to quickly access application performance monitoring (APM), logs and infrastructure metrics data.

What programming languages ​​does Elasticsearch support?

Elasticsearch supports a variety of languages ​​and the official clients are available for:

  • Java
  • JavaScript (Node.js)
  • Go
  • .NET (C #)
  • PHP
  • Perl
  • Python
  • Ruby

Elasticsearch and the main CMS.

The inclusion of Elasticsearch in content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress, WooCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop and Joomla, can make a number of significant improvements. These benefits can extend into various areas, from site research to scalability, passing through data analysis.

First of all, Elasticsearch can significantly elevate the quality of site search capabilities. Relying on the Lucene search algorithm, known for its accuracy and speed, Elasticsearch is able to return accurate and fast results, even when dealing with huge volumes of data. Furthermore, with its ability to handle full-text search, filtering, faceting and aggregations, Elasticsearch can enrich the users' search experience, making it more effective and intuitive.

Second, Elasticsearch can enhance the site's analytics capabilities. Thanks to its advanced features, such as term analysis, bigram analysis and cluster analysis, Elasticsearch allows you to deepen your understanding of site data. This type of analysis can prove to be of fundamental importance for optimizing SEO, for personalizing content and for refining the personalization of advertisements.

Third, Elasticsearch can significantly improve site scalability. Given its being a distributed search and analysis system, Elasticsearch can be easily scaled out to handle a huge volume of data. It also offers support for replication and recovery options, thus ensuring data availability and integrity even under high load conditions.

Fourth, the integration of Elasticsearch with the most popular CMS is made accessible thanks to the existence of dedicated plugins or modules. This means that you don't need to heavily modify your site's existing code to implement Elasticsearch. These plugins or modules act as a bridge between Elasticsearch and the CMS, allowing for simple and painless implementation, thus providing users and developers with an easy and straightforward way to leverage Elasticsearch's powerful features.

Integrate Elasticsearch into WordPress

Integrating Elasticsearch into WordPress can be done efficiently through the use of dedicated plugins. There are several solutions, each with its own peculiarities, which allow you to connect the powerful search engine to a WordPress platform. Among these options, here are some of the more popular plugins:

ElasticPress: This plugin is a powerful search tool that uses Elasticsearch to significantly increase search performance on your site. Not only does it offer advanced features, such as full-text search, filtering, faceting and aggregations, but it also allows you to create custom indexes for specific needs. For a more detailed discussion of ElasticPress, you may be interested in reading our post “ElasticSearch Hosting. WordPress hosting with ElasticPress".

Elasticsearch for WordPress: This plugin allows for a smooth and efficient integration between WordPress and Elasticsearch. It is designed to provide a powerful Elasticsearch search engine directly within your WordPress platform, providing advanced configuration options for indexing content and customizing search results.

Elasticsearch Reindex: This plugin is designed to create and manage Elasticsearch indexes for your site content. It also allows you to perform content re-indexing operations efficiently and quickly, ensuring that your platform always remains at the forefront of search performance.

Advanced Elasticsearch: This plugin offers advanced integration between WordPress and Elasticsearch, with features like creating custom indexes, managing search fields, personalizing search results, and support for searching for posts, pages, and custom post types . It is therefore a great choice if you are looking for a high level of customization and control.

Elasticsearch WP Query: This plugin allows you to use Elasticsearch as a search engine for WordPress queries. It offers advanced configuration options for indexing content and personalizing search results, allowing you to optimize your site's search functionality to meet your specific needs.

Each of these plugins can make dramatic improvements to the search functionality of your WordPress site, thanks to the power and flexibility offered by Elasticsearch.

Integrate Elasticsearch into WooCommerce for shop searches

To implement Elasticsearch in WooCommerce, it is essential to install a specific plugin that provides this functionality. There is a wide variety of options, which includes both free and paid plugins.

Here is a list of WooCommerce plugins that facilitate the integration of Elasticsearch:

  • ElasticPress – This free plugin offers a fundamental integration of Elasticsearch with WooCommerce, enriching your site with an advanced search and speeding up the overall performance.
  • WP Elasticsearch – This other free plugin allows the use of Elasticsearch as a search engine on your WooCommerce site, ensuring more accurate and faster search results.
  • ES Manager – This free plugin facilitates the management of the Elasticsearch index for your WooCommerce site, providing advanced options for customizing the search.
  • WP SOLR extension – This premium plugin allows you to exploit the potential of Elasticsearch to search within vast catalogs of WooCommerce products. Among its advanced features we find the search for facets, the search for suggestions and the personalization of search results.

Using Elasticsearch to search large catalogs of WooCommerce products can lead to dramatic improvements in the speed and accuracy of your search results. Elasticsearch, being a highly scalable open source search engine, is capable of handling large amounts of data and providing search results in real time.

The WP SOLR plugin is a great choice to use Elasticsearch to search large catalogs of WooCommerce products. It offers a number of advanced features, such as faceted search, search suggestions, and personalization of search results, that can help improve user experience and increase conversions. In addition, you can use the "boosting" feature to prioritize the most important or discounted products in the search results.

Integrate Elasticsearch into Magento

Implementing Elasticsearch in Magento 2 is possible in two different ways: through the adoption of dedicated extensions or through the use of the internal features offered by Magento 2 itself.

 

If you opt for the use of additional extensions, there are several solutions available that allow the integration of Elasticsearch in Magento 2. Among these are:

  1. “Elasticsearch for Magento 2” by Wyomind: This extension provides a complete interface between Magento 2 and Elasticsearch. It offers multiple features, including the creation of custom indexes, management of search fields and the ability to customize search results. You can learn more here.
  2. “Elasticsearch” by Mirasvit: This module allows you to use Elasticsearch as a search engine for your Magento 2 site. It offers advanced features such as full-text search, filtering and facets. You can learn more about its features here.
  3. "Elasticsearch" by Amasty: similarly to the Mirasvit module, this extension also allows you to use Elasticsearch as a search engine for Magento 2, providing advanced features such as full-text search, filtering and facets. To find out more visit This Page.

Magento 2 ElasticSearch

However, the integration of Elasticsearch in Magento 2 can also be achieved by exploiting the native features of Magento 2, without the need for additional modules. Starting from version 2.3, Magento 2 offers native support to Elasticsearch, making it configurable as a search engine through the system configuration functions. To use Elasticsearch in Magento 2 in this mode, you need to have an Elasticsearch instance already installed.

Our suggestion, unless there are specific needs that require the use of dedicated modules, is to take advantage of the internal functions of integration and support to Elasticsearch offered by Magento 2. This reduces the complexity of the implementation and ensures smooth interaction between the two platforms.

If you are looking for a professional Magento Hosting with high added value and compliant with the requirements, you can choose ours Magento hosting.

Integrate Elasticsearch into Joomla

The implementation of Elasticsearch in Joomla can be done through the use of a specific plugin. There are several options available for integrating Elasticsearch into Joomla, each with different features and functionality:

  1. “Elasticsearch for Joomla”: This plugin represents a complete bridge between Joomla and Elasticsearch, offering advanced features such as full-text search, filtering, use of facets and aggregations. It also provides advanced configuration options for indexing content and personalizing search results. Learn more about Elasticsearch for Joomla here.
  2. “Joomla Elasticsearch”: This plugin offers a direct and efficient integration between Joomla and Elasticsearch. It allows you to use Elasticsearch as a search engine for the Joomla site, with the possibility of advanced configurations for content indexing and personalization of search results. You can learn more about Joomla Elasticsearch here.
  3. “Elasticsearch for Smart Search”: with this plugin you can use Elasticsearch as a search engine for the Smart Search function of Joomla. It also offers advanced configuration options for indexing content and personalizing search results. Read more about Elasticsearch for Smart Search here.
  4. “Advanced Elasticsearch”: This plugin provides a more sophisticated integration between Joomla and Elasticsearch. Among its features stand out the creation of custom indexes, the management of search fields, the personalization of search results and the support for searching articles, categories and custom content types. You can learn more about its features here.

It is important to underline that for the use of these plugins it is necessary to have an active Elasticsearch instance and to know the server address. Additionally, some technical expertise may be required to properly configure these plugins. With the right skills and the right tools, implementing Elasticsearch in Joomla can become a powerful ally to improve the user experience on your site.

Integrate Elasticsearch into Drupal

The integration of Elasticsearch into the Drupal content management system can be achieved through the use of a dedicated module. There are several alternatives for this integration, each with specific features that may better suit your needs. Below are some of the most popular modules for integrating Elasticsearch into Drupal:

  1. “Elasticsearch Connector”: This module represents a real bridge between Elasticsearch and Drupal, allowing you to use Elasticsearch as a search engine for your Drupal site. It offers advanced options for indexing content and personalizing search results. This way, users can get more accurate and relevant search results. You can learn more about Elasticsearch Connector here.
  2. “Search API Elasticsearch”: This module allows you to use Elasticsearch as a search engine for Drupal's basic search module, known as Search API. It offers advanced features such as full-text search, filtering and the use of facets. This means you can search for specific words or phrases, filter results based on certain criteria, and use facets to navigate through search results. Read more about Search API Elasticsearch here.
  3. “Elasticsearch integration”: This module offers an efficient and simplified integration between Elasticsearch and Drupal. It allows you to use Elasticsearch as a search engine for your Drupal site, providing advanced options for indexing content and customizing search results. This helps improve user experience by making search results more relevant and accurate. You can learn more about its features here.

Remember that to use these modules you need to have an Elasticsearch instance already installed. This is a fundamental condition to be able to take advantage of the powerful search features of Elasticsearch within your Drupal site.

ElasticSearch Consulting and Implementation

Our company offers a consultancy and implementation service of Elasticsearch solutions, designed to support our customers in improving their data research and analysis operations. With years of experience in Elasticsearch, we are able to offer a wide variety of services, ranging from initial configuration to advanced performance optimization.

We take care of implementing Elasticsearch for searching within large product catalogs, a need that often arises in the e-commerce sector. This involves managing large amounts of data efficiently and ensuring accurate and fast searching for end users.

We also specialize in creating analytical dashboards. These are powerful tools for data analysis and can provide valuable insights for improving business operations and making more informed decisions.

In addition to these services, we also deal with the design and implementation of customized solutions, which meet the specific needs of our customers. We recognize that every business has its own unique needs and are ready to provide a tailored service to meet these requests.

We are convinced that, thanks to our consulting and implementation services, our customers can take full advantage of the powerful features of Elasticsearch. The ultimate goal is to help our clients improve their operations, make their services more efficient, and ultimately move their business forward.

ElasticSearch hosting

With the servers managed by ManagedServer.it, we ensure a versatile and value-rich Elasticsearch hosting experience that powers your every project. We believe your users deserve to experience the full power of your Elasticsearch-powered website, and we're here to help you make it possible.

What makes our service exceptional and unparalleled is the opportunity we offer to install free Elasticsearch instances on all Dedicated Servers, at no extra cost! We are proud to extend this benefit to all of our customers, regardless of their server hardware specifications.

This means that our customers can enjoy the exceptional capabilities of Elasticsearch without incurring extra costs for installation and configuration. Unlike many hosting providers who charge high fees for similar services, we choose to provide this service for free. We strongly support the idea that all our customers should have unrestricted access to the most advanced technologies, in order to offer the best possible experience to their users.

The goal of ManagedServer.it is to provide an incomparable service to its customers, supporting them in every step of their growth and development path. With us, it's not just about hosting: we are committed to building a long-term partnership with our customers, working together to achieve their goals.

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