Elasticsearch Transparent about Failed Jepsen Tests

May 11, 2015

The article on Aphyr titled Call Me Maybe: Elasticsearch 1.5.0 demonstrates the ongoing tendency for Elasticsearch to lose data during network partitions. The author goes through several scenarios and found that users can lose documents if nodes crash, a primary pauses, a network partitions into two intersecting components or into two discrete components. The article explains,

“My recommendations for Elasticsearch users are unchanged: store your data in a database with better safety guarantees, and continuously upsert every document from that database into Elasticsearch. If your search engine is missing a few documents for a day, it’s not a big deal; they’ll be reinserted on the next run and appear in subsequent searches. Not using Elasticsearch as a system of record also insulates you from having to worry about ES downtime during elections.”

The article praises Elasticsearch for their internal approach to documenting the problems, and especially the page they opened in September going into detail on resiliency. The page clarifies the question among users as to what it meant that the ticket closed. The page states pretty clearly that ES failed their Jepsen tests. The article exhorts other vendors to follow a similar regimen of supplying such information to users.

Chelsea Kerwin, May 11, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


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