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Architecting the OpenSearch service at CERN

May 11, 2023, 2:30 PM
Marriott Ballroom IV (Norfolk Waterside Marriott)

Marriott Ballroom IV

Norfolk Waterside Marriott

235 East Main Street Norfolk, VA 23510
Oral Track 7 - Facilities and Virtualization Track 7 - Facilities and Virtualization


Papadopoulos, Sokratis (CERN)


The centralised Elasticsearch service has already been running at CERN for over 6 years, providing the search and analytics engine for numerous CERN users. The service has been based on the open-source version of Elasticsearch, surrounded by a set of external open-source plugins offering security, multi-tenancy, extra visualization types and more. The evaluation of OpenDistro for Elasticsearch, also based on the open-source Elasticsearch core, started couple of years ago. It offered similar functionality using a set of different modules, with the main difference being that everything was bundled together, making it easier to deploy new versions. Later on, after a restrictive license change from Elastic, this evaluation became much more critical. The OpenDistro project got re-branded as OpenSearch, having now a forked version of Elasticsearch at core. Motivated by the license change and by the streamlined deployment of the feature-rich OpenSearch project as a 100% open-source environment, the decision was taken to migrate the service at CERN towards it. Adjusting the service to the new modules required the full redesign of the architecture. This had to be achieved while maintaining the high standards of resource-efficiency already in place. In addition to the plethora of new capabilities, the new architecture enables a streamlined service deployment that overcomes long-standing maintainability issues, while covering the ever-rising demand of use-cases. At the time of writing this article, over 30 OpenSearch clusters are in production using our service. This contribution covers the motivation, design and implementation of this change for the diverse use-cases around CERN, as well as the challenges emerged along the road.

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