Alibaba Cloud Elasticsearch provides a fully managed Elasticsearch service and is fully compatible with open source Elasticsearch. Alibaba Cloud Elasticsearch optimizes kernel performance and provides the commercial plug-in X-Pack free of charge. Alibaba Cloud Elasticsearch is out-of-the-box. It features high availability and auto scaling, and supports the pay-as-you-go billing method. This topic describes the comparisons between Alibaba Cloud Elasticsearch clusters and self-managed Elasticsearch clusters in terms of costs, cluster management, supported capabilities, security, and availability.

Table 1. Costs
Item Alibaba Cloud Elasticsearch cluster Self-managed Elasticsearch cluster hosted on an ECS instance
Resource costs
  • Auto scaling is supported, which allows you to change the specifications, number, disk type, and disk space of nodes.
  • Resources may be insufficient during peak hours and may be wasted during off-peak hours.
Network fees
  • You can access a cluster over an internal network free of charge by using an Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instance that resides in the same region as the cluster.
  • You can access a cluster over the Internet free of charge by using an ECS instance that resides in a different region from the cluster. Alibaba Cloud Elasticsearch provides the Public Network Access feature, which is enabled by default. The maximum network bandwidth for access to a cluster over the Internet is 4 GB/s.
  • You can access a cluster over an internal network free of charge by using an ECS instance that resides in the same region as the cluster.
  • You can access a cluster over the Internet by using an ECS instance that resides in a different region from the cluster. However, you are charged for the access. For more information about the billing standards of the access, see Public bandwidth.
Labor and time costs
  • Alibaba Cloud Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana (ELK) are fully managed services. They are out-of-the-box and support the pay-as-you-go billing method.
  • A visual interface is provided for cluster O&M. This reduces O&M costs.
  • You must purchase a machine and manually deploy a cluster. This process requires a long period of time, and the iteration of the cluster is slow.
  • A professional Elasticsearch engineer team is required to manage resources and perform cluster O&M. This results in high labor costs.
Costs for risk reduction Alibaba Cloud Elasticsearch guarantees 99.9% reliability and features few IT risks, and upper-level business risks are controllable. Service reliability is not guaranteed. In this case, technical expertise and a large number of investments are required to reduce business risks.
Feature costs
  • All the advanced features of the commercial plug-in X-Pack are provided free of charge.
  • The OSS-based data backup feature is provided free of charge.
  • You must pay USD 5,000 for the X-Pack plug-in.
  • You must manually back up data, and you are charged for the storage used by backups.
Table 2. Capabilities
Item Alibaba Cloud Elasticsearch cluster Self-managed Elasticsearch cluster hosted on an ECS instance
Usability
  • Clusters are out-of-the-box and support auto scaling. You can modify cluster configurations based on your business requirements with one click.
  • You can upgrade the version of a cluster with one click.
  • The intelligent O&M system EYou is provided. It can detect the health of more than 20 items, such as clusters, nodes, and indexes. It can also diagnose and analyze exceptions.
  • Cluster deployment is complex, and resources must be manually adjusted.
  • Data must be migrated before you upgrade the version of a cluster.
  • Cluster O&M is complex. You must run commands to view the health statuses of clusters, nodes, and indexes.
Capabilities for scenario support
  • All the advanced features of the X-Pack plug-in are provided free of charge.
  • Scenario-based configuration templates are used to provide appropriate parameter configurations.
  • A natural language processing (NLP) plug-in developed by Alibaba DAMO Academy, a vector search plug-in, and a self-developed SQL plug-in are provided. These plug-ins improve the performance of clusters in search scenarios.
  • Cold and hot data separation is supported, and an index compression plug-in is provided. This improves the performance of clusters in logging scenarios.
You must develop the capabilities or integrate the capabilities of open source Elasticsearch on your own.
Performance
  • An enhanced kernel is provided to improve read and write performance.
You must ensure that the cluster performance meets your requirements, which is a complex process.
Availability
  • You must ensure cluster availability on your own and manually back up data.
  • Disaster recovery is difficult to implement.
Security
  • The security of ECS instances is ensured, but clusters have security risks.
  • X-Pack security components must be separately purchased.