Amazon OpenSearch and Search Guard
By Claudia Kressin
Amazon recently announced the introduction of OpenSearch, a true Open Source fork of Elasticsearch and Kibana, which is entirely community-driven. The complete codebase is released under the Apache 2.0 license. Floragunn fully supports OpenSearch, and we are happy to contribute our year-long experience regarding security and alerting in the Elasticsearch ecosystem to OpenSearch. As a Search Guard user, you will have the option to run either the Elastic Stack or OpenSearch.

What is OpenSearch?

OpenSearch is a fork of the last Apache2 licensed Elasticsearch and Kibana versions. The project contains OpenSearch (derived from the OSS version of Elasticsearch 7.10.2) and OpenSearch Dashboards (derived from the OSS version of Kibana 7.10.2). The source code of OpenSearch and OpenSearch Dashboards is licensed completely under Apache2. The code is available on GitHub for anyone to download, inspect, modify, build and run.
While AWS is the primary steward and maintainer of OpenSearch today, other major companies like Red Hat, SAP, Capital One, and have already joined the OpenSearch project. In our opinion, this shows that OpenSearch has more than enough momentum to become a significant project in the FOSS space. AWS has also posted a community site including the "OpenSearch project's principles for development".
We applaud the arrival of OpenSearch and are happy to provide our year-long experience in the areas of security and alerting.

Why forking - Elasticsearch license changes

According to AWS, the main reason for forking the projects is the recent license changes for Elasticsearch and Kibana. In January 2021, Elastic decided to break with its tradition of providing Elasticsearch and Kibana versions under the Apache2 license. Instead, from version 7.11 onwards, the code was dual licensed under the Server Side Public License (SSPL) and the Elastic License. Users could choose which license to apply.
In February 2021, four weeks after the license change, Elastic announced the introduction of the Elastic license v2 (ELv2), which replaced the older Elastic license.
At the time of writing, the most recent versions of Elasticsearch and Kibana are dual-licensed under SSPL and ELv2. The Open Source Initiative has not accepted either license as meeting its Open Source Definition. This means that OpenSearch and OpenSearch Dashboards are the only option for those who believe in the principles espoused by the Open Source Initiative

Search Guard users have the options

As firm believers in Open Source, especially concerning security, we see a clear need for secure, high-quality, fully Open Source search and analytics software.
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Search Guard users will have the full range of options to choose from
We have always been committed to supporting the community. Since the initial release of Search Guard, a free Community Edition has always been available. This version is licensed under Apache2, covering all major security features required to run Elasticsearch in production safely. Besides the no-cost option, we offer the commercial Enterprise Edition for users that need more.
In the future, Search Guard users will have the full range of options to choose from.
We continue to provide Search Guard versions for the dual-licensed Elastic stack. We have already released Search Guard for Elasticsearch 7.11 and 7.12. There are no changes in the usage or license terms of Search Guard. If you are in doubt whether your usage of Elasticsearch is still permitted by either the SSPL or the ELv2 license, you may want to seek legal advice.
At the same time we are looking into a possible alpha/beta release for an OpenSearch Search Guard product for Autumn 2021.
You can therefore enjoy the full range of options when it comes to security and alerting.
    Our current Search Guard product will remain, and users can continue to enjoy Search Guard as it stands
    An OpenSearch Search Guard product is planned with an estimated alpha/beta release for Autumn 2021
    Users can also choose from any of the Elastic Subscription plans.
We are excited to see all the activity in the community with such great players as Red Hat, SAP, Capital One, and The Search Guard team strongly believes in Open Source and this community and looks forward to this summer.
Claudia Kressin and the Search Guard team
Published: 2021-04-20
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