Why and How to Monitor Amazon OpenSearch Service

Some time ago, AWS forked ElasticSearch, the most popular search engine on the planet. They had some struggles with the maintainer of ElasticSearch and decided it was time to part ways. So, with OpenSearch, there is now a new kid in town. Well, not new, but at least some kind of alternative. 

What is Amazon OpenSearch Service?

With OpenSearch Service (OSS), AWS released a new service to manage their forked search engine. It can still run older versions of Elasticsearch, but it will focus on OpenSearch releases in the future. 

The setup and scaling of Elasticsearch were tricky, and this hasn’t changed much with OpenSearch. OSS is here to help with that by handling the laborious tasks of running a service. Managing infrastructure, updating software, and so on.

The nice part is, with its t2.search and t3.search EC2 instances, OSS is even qualified for the AWS free tier.

Why Monitor Amazon OpenSearch Service?

Before the internet, getting information on any topic was the main issue people faced back in the day. In today’s world, where everyone has access to all of human knowledge, the new problem is to find the information you need in that vast sea of data. 

Finding and filtering information is crucial for any business; sooner or later, you will find a search engine like OpenSearch at the heart of your operation. A central system lets customers and co-workers locate all the information they need to do their job.

Since a search engine can be mission-critical, monitoring it is a must. Like any service you’re operating, getting insight into it is essential; otherwise, you’ll have many issues. It could cost you more than necessary, or it couldn’t keep up with rising traffic, and you wouldn’t notice. And, of course, if a system as vital as a search engine experiences errors, it’s good to get notified before your users start calling you.

What and How to Monitor in Amazon OpenSearch Service?

Different facets of an OpenSearch cluster can be interesting. Sometimes it’s performance; sometimes, it’s security. Let’s look at what AWS offers in terms of monitoring.

Metrics

One of the most vital aspects to monitor is the metrics. You should know how your cluster performs and if it can keep up with the traffic. Also, how the number of queries varies over time and if you got enough space left to index data.

You can get answers to all these questions with CloudWatch. OSS will automatically send metrics to CloudWatch, so you know how OpenSearch behaves from a technical perspective.

Query Logs

If you see performance issues, you need a way to find out what is causing them. Nobody likes slow queries! You should monitor your errors and slow queries, indexed or not. 

You can find these logs in CloudWatch Logs, which automatically gathers this data. Is your memory filled up? Check out if a query is causing it. Your error metrics are rising? It might be one bug that throws frequently. 

Audit Logs

Another crucial part is the audit logs. They give you a list of actions different users have taken on your OpenSearch cluster, so if things start going awry one day, you can check which change caused it.

Audit logs are also suitable for legal reasons. Sometimes it’s essential to know if someone had some information at a specific time in the past, and if you have fine-grained access control, you see who accessed what and when.

You can find them in CloudTrail; another monitoring service automatically set up by AWS for you. 

Monitoring Amazon OpenSearch Service with Dashbird

Some time ago, Dashbird added support to monitor OSS. This means you can get all the information we discussed above in one place, plus some extras!

With Dashbird’s Well-Architected Insights, you get helpful notifications about OSS. This includes information about misconfigurations and tips to optimize your deployments to save money, improve reliability, and secure your systems in the cloud.

With this info, you can be sure to react quickly to changes and make informed decisions about things that might go wrong in the future. 

Summary

OpenSearch is the tool that answers your user’s questions in a central location, and with OSS, you can save time and money on setup and maintenance. Downtime will directly impact your users, and you will end with a swash of complaints quickly. That’s why monitoring OSS is crucial.

With the recent addition of OSS to Dashbird, you can now sleep well again because all vital information is located in one place to ensure everything is configured correctly and things are going well.


Further reading:

[Infographic] OpenSearch from a serverless perspective

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