FAQ on Elastic License 2.0 (ELv2)

We are moving our Apache 2.0-licensed source code in Elasticsearch and Kibana to be dual licensed under the Elastic License and Server Side Public License (SSPL), giving users the choice of which license to apply. We are also simplifying the Elastic License (Elastic License v2, or ELv2) and making it substantially more permissive. This license change ensures our community and customers have free and open access to use, modify, redistribute, and collaborate on the code. It also protects our continued investment in developing products that we distribute for free and in the open by restricting cloud service providers from offering Elasticsearch and Kibana as a service without contributing back. This will apply to all maintained branches of these two products starting with the 7.11 release. Our default distribution will continue to be under the Elastic License.

Can you summarize what is allowed with the Elastic License 2.0?

The Elastic License 2.0 applies to our distribution and the source code of all of the free and paid features of Elasticsearch and Kibana. Our goal with ELv2 is to be as permissive as possible, while protecting against abuse. The license allows the free right to use, modify, create derivative works, and redistribute, with three simple limitations:

  • You may not provide the products to others as a managed service 
  • You may not circumvent the license key functionality or remove/obscure features protected by license keys
  • You may not remove or obscure any licensing, copyright, or other notices

We tried to minimize the limitations just to those that protect our products and brand from abuse.

I use Elasticsearch and Kibana internally at my company, how does ELv2 work for me?

You may continue to use the default distribution of Elasticsearch and Kibana for free. ELv2 grants additional rights, but your use has been clearly permitted under the Elastic License since it was created. For access to our Gold, Platinum, and Enterprise features, a subscription is required.

I am building an application on top of Elasticsearch, how does ELv2 work for me?

You may freely use Elasticsearch inside your SaaS or self-managed application, and redistribute it with your application, provided you follow the three limitations outlined above.

I’m customizing Elasticsearch or Kibana inside my application, how does ELv2 work for me?

The Elastic License 2.0 allows use, modification and redistribution, with the three restrictions summarized above.

If you are following these simple rules, you are good to continue using our default distribution under the Elastic License. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at elastic_license@elastic.co.

How is Elastic License 2.0 different from Elastic License 1.0?

With Elastic License 2.0, we listened to the feedback from our community, combined with our experience over the last few years and what we’ve seen from companies like MongoDB, CockroachDB, RedisLabs, TimescaleDB, Graylog. As a result, we started by saying “let’s allow everything, and focus on adding the smallest number of protections against abuse,” and created the license with that in mind.

The Elastic License 2.0 allows free use, modification, and redistribution, with only 3 simple limitations to protect our products and brand from abuse, as outlined above.

Can you provide some examples around what qualifies as "providing the software to third parties as a hosted or managed Service" or not?

I'm using Elasticsearch to put a search box on my cat-picture SaaS product.
This is permitted under ELv2. Meow!

I'm a contractor setting up Elasticsearch and Kibana for my clients to use internally.
This is permitted under ELv2, because you are not providing the software as a managed service.

My cat-picture SaaS product shows view-only Kibana dashboards of analytics on searches and views.
This is permitted under ELv2. The use of Kibana in this case is limited and this does not represent access to a substantial portion of the functionality of Kibana.

I am a Managed Service Provider (MSP) running Elasticsearch and Kibana for my customers.
If your customers do not access Elasticsearch and Kibana, this is permitted under ELv2. If your customers do have access to substantial portions of the functionality of either Elasticsearch and Kibana as part of your service, this may not be permitted.

I provide Elasticsearch and Kibana as a service, where my customers have direct access to substantial portions of the Elasticsearch APIs and Kibana UI.
This use is not permitted under the ELv2. Please reach out to us to discuss your options.

If you have questions about your specific scenario, please reach out to us at elastic_license@elastic.co.