AWS implements security features in its Elasticsearch distribution

This week Amazon announced that it had added a number of new security features to the Open Distro for Elasticsearch launched last spring. They include the ability to use roles to define granular permissions for indexes, documents, and fields. Furthermore, the Kibana analysis platform based on Elasticsearch can now be expanded to include read-only views and dashboards and visualizations at the tenant level.

The current version of Open Distro supports authentication via AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM). The AWS Cognito, which is also used, also offers user-level authentication in Kibana, as well as a new database that is intended to facilitate the configuration of users with support for simple authentication from Kibana. Further security functions are to follow soon. The search engine and analytics engine Elasticsearch, on the other hand, has hardly any security functions.

The security functions included in the AWS Elasticsearch distribution were developed in cooperation with the German software company floragunn, which specializes in security. This is the developer of Search Guard, a security plug-in for Elasticsearch, which provides encryption functions, authentication and authorization as well as compliance functions. The tool can be seen as a competitive offer for the commercial security functions that Elastic, the leading developer of Elasticsearch, has followed over the years.

This competitive situation may also be the reason that Elastic filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against floragunn last September. AWS is now also addressing this in its announcement, The cloud group notes that before the partnership with floragunn, an in-depth review was carried out and no evidence was found that copyrighted material had been used for Search Guard. In addition, the entire code specified by Elastic in the legal dispute has probably been evaluated with external experts, with the result that there is no basis for Elastic's claims.

As the reason for developing its own Elasticsearch distribution when it announced last March, AWS stated that proprietary code had gradually been incorporated into the open source project since mid-2018. Its effects and Elastic's future plans would be difficult for users to predict, it said.

Therefore, AWS decided to offer its own distribution, which is and should remain completely open source. The adapted distribution is licensed under the Apache 2 license, which also applies to parts of Elasticsearch, which, however, uses a mixed license. The platform provider had also announced that it would develop additional functions. At the time, the intention was not to explicitly create a fork, but to provide the innovations for the original project.


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. (tagsToTranslate) Amazon Web Services (t) Elastic (t) ElasticSearch (t) floragunn