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Introduction To Elastic Search

Post created 2013-11-21 08:30 by Gabe Koss.

I became interested in Elastic Search after seeing a talk at the @btvwag NoSQL meetup by Evan Borden. I was really intrigued by the ability to do searching across nested and complex JSON structures.

We had recently evaluated Riak for work and determined that it didn't meet our requirements for various reasons.


I decided to test it out on Crunchbang. I downloaded the .deb from the official download page.

This was installed with sudo dpkg -i elasticsearch-0.90.7.deb. This started the service for me which listened on tcp/9200.

Note on security: This service listens on all interfaces without authentication or encryption by default. To use in production this needs to be secured by the developers. I recommend restricting this to localhost for development or experimentation.

Check that Elastic Search is running as follows:

curl -XGET "http://localhost:9200/"

It should respond with a JSON status hash.

Store or update a record

I wanted to experiment with complex JSON so I decided to dump a variety of fake network host records into a network/host bucket.

I ran several commands as follows with serveral data variants

curl -XPUT "http://localhost:9200/network/host/4" -d '{
  ip: "",
  os: "linux",
  ports: [
    { port:22, service: "ssh"},
    { port:80, service: "http", vulnerable: "very-yes"}

Get a record

Records could easily be retrieved with a simple GET.

curl -XGET "http://localhost:9200/network/host/4"

Query Samples


One of my goals with elastic search was being able to query into the nested objects. I was able to accomplish this with a filtered search like:

curl -XGET 'http://localhost:9200/network/host/_search' -d '{
  "query": {
    "filtered" : {
      "query" : { "query_string" : { "query" : "linux" } },
      "filter" : { "term" : {"ports.vulnerable": "very-yes" } }

Search with Facets

Another of my priority searches was to be able to define facets for a search result so that iterative searching via drill down and filtering can be acomplished.

curl -X POST "http://localhost:9200/network/_search" -d '
    "query" : { "query_string" : {"query" : "*.1.4"} },
    "facets" : { "ports" : { "terms" : {"field" : "ports.port"} } }


In general I have been impressed with the ease of getting started with Elastic Search and its rich query interface. I look forward to experimenting with it more and determining if it meets my production neeeds.

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