02 March 2017 Releases

Elastic Cloud Enterprise Beta

By Uri Cohen

When we announced the public alpha of Elastic Cloud Enterprise, I took the opportunity to discuss what it is and who it was for. Today, as we announce beta availability, let’s discuss what problems Elastic Cloud Enterprise can solve for you.

As a reminder, Elastic Cloud Enterprise is our Elastic Cloud product, hosted and managed by you. Multiple clusters of Elasticsearch, Kibana, and all the features of X-Pack are orchestrated from a single console.

But why does this matter?

If you are offering logging, or monitoring, or search as a service to your organization, or if you are managing multiple use cases for the Elastic Stack across your company, you face a few common considerations. There is no time better than a public release to reiterate the value of ECE, the motivation behind it, and answer a few common questions.

How do I streamline operations?

Management, monitoring, and snapshotting are common operational tasks that every person running the Elastic Stack  has to consider. As your cluster count scales, the potential for complexity can scale as well. Automation is helpful but achieving all these tasks through a web based console or a REST API makes the process immensely simpler.

ECE Beta

And, as your project succeeds or your data volumes grow, you can easily scale clusters (up or down) in this same interface. And, as new versions of the Elastic Stack are released you can upgrade clusters to the latest with one-click upgrades.

Where do I host it?

Each organization has an affinity, a preference, for a particular provider or a particular hardware vendor. Elastic Cloud Enterprise lets you choose where you run the Elastic Stack whether on physical hardware, in your private cloud, or in the public cloud. Your organization’s preference or business need can shape your hosting strategy.

What use cases is it best for?

Manage multiple use cases - Simplify how you handle a variety of use cases across your organization. From fraud detection to website search, IT log analysis, and more. Perhaps you have a centralized function that provides and supports all Elastic Stack deployments across the entirety of your organization. Or, perhaps you have one giant cluster that serves multiple teams and use cases. Elastic Cloud Enterprise enables a cluster per team, per app, per use case and simplifies maintenance, ensures security, all while enforcing better tenant isolation.

Offer * as a Service - Logging as a service. Monitoring as a service. Search as a service. You decide. Whatever your users need of Elasticsearch you can deliver. Imagine providing your internal logging or monitoring users and endpoint without the risk of misconfiguration of their application causing issues in other running services.

Service Providers - Elastic Cloud Enterprise takes care of all of the hard work of offering an Elastic Stack service. Provisioning, placement, resource management, security, upgrades, monitoring, remediation, and more enable the deployment of an external (or internal) service offering.

How do I make sure all my clusters are secure?

Elastic Cloud Enterprise automatically turns on X-Pack for every managed cluster, enabling security features like authentication, role-based access control, and encryption to protect your data.

Is it the same software that runs Elastic Cloud?

Put simply, yes. Put slightly more complex, Elastic Cloud predates Elastic Cloud Enterprise. As we treat our cloud offering as a product we continue to converge the code base so that the product you will run is the same that we use in our production environment. It is the majority of the same code with the exclusion of billing, synchronization into our business systems, etc.

How can I use it?

We’ve been actively working on this product for quite a period of time, tested with interested customers, and this is the second public release to experiment with. A poor user experience is a bug. And your feedback about where the bugs lie, what is missing for your desired workflow, and whether it makes you happy are instrumental in ensuring the product is as complete as possible at the time of GA.

You can obtain the software, and start experimenting, by installing now. After install, you will be prompted to accept a EULA and activate a 30 day trial of the software. If you require more time to evaluate, please contact us at cloud-pioneer@elastic.co.

What’s new in the beta release?

If you’ve tried any of our previous alpha releases, you’ve already seen a bit of what Elastic Cloud Enterprise can do first-hand. With our first beta release, we’ve now reached an important milestone: Elastic Cloud Enterprise is very nearly feature complete. We’re not quite there yet, but we’ve come a long way since that first alpha release.

  • An installer that can run with sensible defaults for many installations. Gone are the prompts during installation that had you rifling through our documentation ... but if you do need more control, we now support additional installation parameters, such as custom JVM settings. We’ve also provided more installation examples in our documentation, so you can get your highly available installation up and running more quickly.
  • Installation in air-gapped environments. If your hosts have no internet access or only limited network access, the Elastic Cloud Enterprise installer can now be used in a completely disconnected environment.
  • Centralized monitoring and log aggregation, allowing you to monitor your entire Elastic Cloud Enterprise installation. We use Filebeat and Metricbeat to collect logs and monitoring metrics for Elastic Cloud Enterprise, ship them to a centralized Elasticsearch cluster, and neatly roll them up into Kibana dashboards. Yes, we are drinking our own Champagne here, so that you can monitor your installation and investigate operational issues with familiar tools. Want to know if your proxies are close to being maxed out or where specific user requests are coming from? Or what about detecting that a cluster has exceeded its quotas? We make it easy to find the information.
  • A RESTful API to roll your own automation. Many of you have asked about our API for Elastic Cloud Enterprise and some of you have even gone so far as to macgyver our Cloud UI to get a headstart. Wait no more, the official API is here and we’ve provided enough reference information to get you started on your own automation journey.
  • Support for custom TLS/SSL certificates. If your organization uses custom security certificates, you’ve probably been waiting for this. You can now install your own TLS/SSL  certificates and connect securely to Elastic Cloud Enterprise using the HTTPS protocol.
  • Elasticsearch and Kibana 5.2. Get the latest and greatest release of Elasticsearch and Kibana, with awesome features like heatmap visualizations, date range queries, searchquery profiler, tribe node support in Kibana, and more.

On top of all these new features, we’ve also become more proficient at what hardware and software prerequisites work best. There’s better guidance on what you need to get started and more information about installing Elastic Cloud Enterprise in specific environments, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

How do I get help?

To join the program, just try out the alpha of Elastic Cloud Enterprise, and open issues as you find them in the Elastic Cloud Enterprise forum. While we appreciate the information, duplicate issues won’t enter you into the program.

Note: This is a beta release and is intended for testing purposes only. There is no guarantee that any of the alpha versions will be compatible with other pre-releases, or the GA. We strongly recommend that you keep this far, far away from production. Things will, in fact, change.