Hosted Elasticsearch Recommendations
July 13, 2014development
Hosted Elasticsearch provides you with the awesomeness that is Elasticsearch without the headaches of managing the server.
I've blogged about installing Elasticsearch and securing Elasticsearch. But what about hosted Elasticsearch? There are several great options out there if you don't want to deal with managing a server, updates, security, and all the fun that comes along with running your own managed services. Most of these provide fancy management interfaces, one click scaling, SSD options, and built in security.
Qbox.io provides managed cloud hosting for Elasticsearch on dedicated clusters running on EC2, Rackspace, or Softlayer.
Qbox is a dedicated hosting solution for Elasticsearch that aims to be as simple and intuitive as possible for the application developer. Conceptually, what we provide is similar to any other cloud-hosted database. Through our dashboard, you can launch your own Elasticsearch "cluster". A cluster is a collection of servers behaving as "nodes", which can be added/removed on the fly for scale.
Securing elasticsearch can be a pain in your ass. Trust me. But Qbox handles all that for you with free SSL by default, IP whitelisting, and HTTP Basic authentication options. And Qbox works with Elasticsearch sister products Kibana and Logstash. While there is no free pricing tier, they do give you $35 in credits to use upon signing up just to make sure the service fits your needs. For about $32/mo you can run a 512MB RAM and 20GB Disk server on Rackspace. They also offer SSD plans. For what it's worth, of this list of service providers, Qbox is the only one listed as an official Elasticsearch partner.
Found allows you to build your own dedicated hosted Elasticsearch cluster in minutes. Found's infrastructure runs on Amazon's EC2 over several different regions with SSD options and fully configurable specifications. There's also the option to add fault tolerance for spanning your cluster up to 3 data centers. Found also does not provide a free tier, instead offering a 14 day free trial. However unlike Qbox, a credit card is not required to get started. The cheapest plan runs at about $30/mo in a single data center with 256MB RAM and 2GB of storage. But Found only charges for what you actually use.
You only pay for reserved memory and disk, and usage is billed by the hour. This gives you the flexibility to create temporary test and development clusters - when you’re ready to move on, you simply delete them, hence you stop paying for them.
All communication runs over SSL and their clusters run in isolated containers giving you the options to create custom Access Control Lists which gives you fine control over who and what can access your cluster. Additionally, Found will keep a continuos backup of your indices on Amazon S3. Lastly, they maintain a fantastic blog on all things Elasticsearch.
Bonsai is yet another option for hosted Elasticsearch that has similar features to the aforementioned services. It provides easy setup on super fast SSD machines that are replicated in triplicate and backed up daily. All plans include Multi-Zone replication, SSL, secure API access, continuous backups and monitoring. The cheapest plan at Bonsai is $50/mo for 1GB RAM and 10GB of storage.
IndexDepot out of Berlin, Germany has an inexpensive hosted Elasticsearch option to get started. For $15/mo a "Micro" instance includes 1 managed index, 10,000 documents, 1 GB storage with a free 30 day trial. Their infrastructure, like most of the others, runs on Amazon Web Services. They offer similar features to the other solution including access control, monitoring, backups, and more.
Facet Flow is hosted Elasticsearch for Microsoft Azure. Facet flow has similar features as the above service providers although nowhere on their site do they explicitly address security - which I think is one of the more important aspects of choosing a hosted Elasticsearch provider. One thing Facet Flow does offer that's unlike all the other services listed is a "Sandbox" plan giving you free access to an index that can store 5,000 documents, 500MB of storage, 1 shard, and 0 replicas. Not something you'd run in production - but definitely an option to get started.
Aside from Facet Flow's sandbox plan, Searchly provides the cheapest option to get up and running. For $9/mo you can manage 3 indices with 100MB SSD storage, Access Control List, SSL, and complete API access. And they have a free plan where you can run 2 indices and 5MB of storage. Searchly runs on the US data centers of Amazon EC2. FWIW - Searchly provides a pretty slick Elasticsearch plugin for WordPress.
There seems to be new hosted Elasticsearch options popping up all the time. If I've missed any, please let me know in the comments. But I think these are the front runners and all offer similar solutions and level of service. Your choice will likely depend on budget and available features. If I had to choose for you at this point in time, I'd suggest Found or Qbox as they appear to be the clear leaders in the space.