Definition

Elastic Stack

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Elastic Stack is a group of open source products from Elastic designed to help users take data from any type of source and in any format and search, analyze, and visualize that data in real time. The product group was formerly known as ELK Stack, in which the letters in the name stood for the products in the group: Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana. A fourth product, Beats, was subsequently added to the stack, rendering the potential acronym unpronounceable. Elastic Stack can be deployed on premises or made available as Software as a Service (SaaS).

Elastic Stack components:

  • Elasticsearch is a RESTful distributed search engine built on top of Apache Lucene and released under an Apache license. It is Java-based and can search and index document files in diverse formats.
  • Logstash is a data collection engine that unifies data from disparate sources, normalizes it and distributes it. The product was originally optimized for log data but has expanded the scope to take data from all sources.
  • Beats are “data shippers” that are installed on servers as agents used to send different types of operational data to Elasticsearch either directly or through Logstash, where the data might be enhanced or archived.
  • Kibana is an open source data visualization and exploration tool from that is specialized for large volumes of streaming and real-time data. The software makes huge and complex data streams more easily and quickly understandable through graphic representation.

Elastic Stack presents a steeper learning curve than some comparable products, as well as more set up, owing in part to its open source nature. In return for the extra work, however, the sysadmin is rewarded with a deeper understanding of the software’s underlying structure.

Elastic was founded in Amsterdam in 2012 to support the development of Elasticsearch and related commercial products and services.

This was last updated in September 2016

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