Reflections on Three Years in the Elastic Public Sector

I’ve been with Elastic since 2015, and since then, a lot has changed. Three years ago, we hosted our first ever Elastic public sector event in DC as part of Elastic{ON} Tour. We had 283 attendees at the Mellon Auditorium. It was an intimate gathering where I knew everyone’s name. Most of our user talks were from folks in the private sector whose use cases overlapped with what our public sector users might be starting to do with Elastic.

On October 25 of this year, we hosted our fourth annual Elastic{ON} Tour event at the Marriott Marquis in Washington DC for US public sector partners, users, and contractors. When the dust settled, we had over 1200 registrants with folks left on the waitlist (sorry!). Attendees came from all sectors of the government and integrator community. This was the first year we split into two tracks for the second half of the day, and both the security/cyber and search/analytics tracks were equally well attended. It was exciting to see such active engagement around both communities.

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We had technical talks from public sector users, including Hill Enterprise Data Center, who shared how they use Elastic to monitor and secure a geo-dispersed data center. ORNL showed us how they do log monitoring and anomaly detection at scale. Army Research Labs (CERDEC/ARL) walked the audience through how they’re using Elastic Cloud Enterprise to detect policy violations and unmonitored cloud use and keep sensitive data secure. And McQueen Solutions shared how they optimize Elastic for search.

We also had Elastic experts fly in from around the country to talk about everything from building an end-to-end security analytics platform to what’s new in geo for the Elastic Stack. And just before the event, nearly forty folks attend our Elastic Security Analytics and Elasticsearch Engineer I training courses. And, as always, there was a packed AMA booth where our Elastic experts where peppered with question ranging from technical (how?) to theoretical (why?). Overall, it was the biggest, broadest Elastic public sector event ever.

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Some things never change

While this year's event was quite different than that first one back in 2015, some things haven’t changed at all. Shay was at our first public sector event back in 2015 to talk about his vision for the Elastic Stack (ELK Stack in those days), and he was back in DC again this year just as excited about the future. In 2015 we spent the day talking about new features and use cases; this year, multiple attendees told me "there is so much new stuff you announced I'm not sure I can find the time to try out all that I want to try!” Some things change, but the important things have stayed the same.

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The biggest thing that hasn’t changed — and the most exciting part for me at this event every year —  is the opportunity to connect members our community with each other. Working with Elastic means you also become part of our huge community of users who share ideas, code, and best pactices. The amount of collaboration that takes place inside the government between Elastic users is something I've never witnessed in my years in this field, but I see it over and over again at Elastic public sector events.

Thanks to all of you from our team for making this such a great event over the years and especially this year. If you weren’t able to join us in person, be sure to check out the videos and sign up to get notified about future events. We’re already looking for a venue with a lot more space!