Marcel Krabath

Open Source Elasticsearch Is Not so Open Anymore: Enter Findologic

by | Jun 21, 2021 | 1 comment

The conflict between AWS and Elasticsearch has come to a head, forcing many ecommerce businesses to rethink their offering – but what are the alternatives?

Over the years, Amazon has been criticised by the open source community for taking advantage of the freely available software and the launch of Amazon’s Elasticsearch Service, underpinned by the open source, Elasticsearch was no different. When AWS made the decision to use Elastic’s code on its cloud and profit from it as a managed service, Elastic’s CEO, Shay Banon responded, saying that “some cloud service providers have taken advantage of open source products by providing them as a service, without contributing back.“

Back in January 2021, Elasticsearch acted, changing its licence from the open-source Apache 2.0-license (ALv2) to the non-open-source friendly Server Side Public Licence (SSPL) in order to prevent what they call “big code robbery”. The new licensing states that users do not have the right to sell the software, meaning third parties can not sell the software for a fee or as a product or service.

This had a direct impact on AWS’s Elasticsearch offering, so it comes as no surprise that AWS announced the release of OpenSearch, a fork derived from versions 7.10.2 of Elasticsearch and Kibana and licensed under Elastic’s previous and permissive Apache 2.0 licence. In short, Amazon is able to continue to use the previous version of Elasticsearch, under the same offering and build upon this themselves to continuously enhance its abilities, although they will be unable to pull in future versions of Elasticsearch core code.

So, if you’re an Elasticsearch user you’ve probably asked yourself the question: should I continue using the software under the new licensing or look for an alternative?

Is Elasticsearch still a good choice?

The licence change of  Elasticsearch v2 will no doubt force many retailers to rethink their choice of software. Fundamentally, a majority of online stores will be looking to drive monetary growth with the assistance of Elasticsearch, however the new licence for Elasticsearch v2 has created an air of uncertainty and confusion surrounding the product and the repercussions that may ensue for commercial use.

Licensing aside, Elasticsearch is a complex system and requires extensive maintenance and configuration in order to tailor it to your specific needs. Even as a managed service, such as the one offered by AWS or or Elastic, there is still a high level of technical burden.

    Enter: Findologic

    If you’ve built your own online services on Elasticsearch, the SSPL license is most likely a risk your company will not want to take.

    You might consider AWS new OpenSearch offering as an alternative, however for a majority of retailers today, software is about easy to use solutions with minimal burden – as a bare search API, the retailer would have to integrate OpenSearch into their site manually and manage significant setup to tailor it to their specific needs. Even after this, developers still have to build UI features such as Shopping Guides, Autocomplete and Promotions.

    The closest and most trusted alternative to Elasticsearch within the open source community is Solr – it is a mature product with a broad user community and has no single company controlling contributions.

    Built upon the latest version of Solr, Findologic has created a platform that allows for comprehensive search and navigation optimisation, minus the technical burden. Rather than spending time, resources and money to create, maintain and develop a search solution underpinned by Solr, Findologic does all the hard work, with tried and tested, revenue boosting software including an AI layer without the risk of repercussions.

    By creating a powerful platform that looks beyond traditional search and navigation approaches, innovating every stage of a customer’s journey for usability, inspiration, guidance and personalisation, retailers are able to benefit from sophisticated technology, without the excruciating challenge of developing or maintaining the underlying technology themselves.

    So, if you’re after a quick win and want to leave the licensing headache and internal development battle in the past, the better choice today is another vendor altogether – one who has already done the leg work and created a ready to use platform that can be relied on.

    About Findologic

    Search and navigation are at the epicentre of any user’s path to purchase – Findologic has over 13 years of experience in this and is one of the world’s leading providers today. Bridging the gap between in-store and online retail experience is a requirement for any online retailer – Findologic’s comprehensive set of features supercharges customer journeys, optimising every element of a browser’s pathway to conversion for efficiency and intuitiveness.

    Satisfy your customers and increase revenue: harnessing the latest A.I. technologies, Findologic’s search and navigation platform is more intelligent than ever, drilling into user behaviours to personalise every journey and present users with gold-standard outputs that convert.

    Marcel Krabath

    Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders on a range of marketing initiatives.

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