Nine Managed Search with OpenSearch and Solr

Elasticsearch/OpenSearch and Solr are among the most popular and powerful open source search servers. The projects are based on Apache Lucene, a programme library which indexes information in a flexible manner and can provide results for even complex searches in a short time.

With OpenSearch and Solr, we are happy to add two new products from the realm of search servers to our managed services portfolio. OpenSearch replaces Elasticsearch, which we can unfortunately no longer offer as a managed service due to changing licence stipulations.

Nine Managed OpenSearch as a Response to New Licence Stipulations

The OpenSearch project was launched as a response to Elasticsearch changing their licence policy. The open-source search engine is supported by organisations such as AWS, RedHat and SAP.

To be able to continue offering powerful search and analytics results as a managed service to our customers, and after a thorough assessment, we have added OpenSearch to our portfolio.

More Features

Just like Elasticsearch, OpenSearch covers a wide range of use cases, such as application monitoring in real time, protocol analysis and website searches. However, it is characterised by a larger set of features. Notable additions are, for example:

  • Extended security: OpenSearch offers functionalities for audits, encryption, authentication and authorisation. This includes integrations with Kerberos, Active Directory, SAML, LDAP, JSON web tokens and other systems. In addition, OpenSearch provides granular, role-based access control for fields, documents and indices.
  • Search support in SQL: Use the SQL query syntax with aggregate functions, such as ‘group by’ and ‘where’, to analyse your data.
  • Anomaly detection: Automatic detection of anomalies based on the random cut forest method (RCF). Combine this with alerting to monitor data and send alerts in near real time.

Compatibility with Elasticsearch and Migration to OpenSearch

OpenSearch is a fork of Elasticsearch version 7.10. Therefore, both services are currently largely compatible, and OpenSearch is aiming to retain this compatibility in future.

Our development focus has been on OpenSearch version 2. You can find links with details regarding compatibility and migration paths at the end of this article.

Nine Managed Solr: The Powerful Search Server for Your CMS

Solr is the ideal addition to your CMS to quickly and neatly display search results for all types of digital information. Since our customer’s needs depend on their use case, the type and scope of their data, as well as the way search results are displayed, we have also added Solr to our portfolio. 

For any other information please contact us.

What is self-service in cloud management?

Self-service has become ubiquitous beyond the IT sector. Nevertheless, self-service cannot solve every problem. What do customers really want? This post outlines the advantages and disadvantages of self-service in cloud management.

What is self-service in cloud management?

Self-service is more than a simple do-it-yourself approach: the word denotes that something has been automated. The idea behind this is to make processes more efficient and to enable easier access to low-level services. In IT, this is no longer surprising – whether in IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) or SaaS (Software as a Service), self-service has become the standard. With cloud self-services, customers can book servers and storage space themselves, or start applications through a web-based portal.

Through the wide-spread use of self-service, its strengths as well as its weaknesses are increasingly brought to light.

When is self-service beneficial?

Self-service provides clear advantages. Here are the three core benefits:

1. Self-service means flexibility.

When experienced IT specialists want to manage cloud applications quickly and independently, self-service is hard to beat. A specialist can configure databases and activate additional storage without any outside involvement.

2. Financial optimization is simplified.

Several self-service portals provide usage-based pricing models, meaning that customers only pay for what they really use. Thus, depending on fixed monthly or quarterly packages has become history. In particular, this can be crucial for small and medium-sized companies and agencies who plan from one month to the next.

3. In cloud computing, automation is king.

Customers who develop and sell software themselves benefit from the automation of the entire supply chain. Modern self-service portals are based on an API which is also accessible without the portal itself. Thus, application management in the cloud is an automated process; as well as activation and deactivation of VMs, load-based configuration of databases and much more.

Not a solution for every problem

One thing is clear: self-service is no panacea, even though it is sometimes claimed to be – whether in CRM systems, customer support or as an employee self-service solution (ESS).

There are three key reasons for this:

1. No self-service portal is all-encompassing.

Every sector, and every client, has different needs. In every case, human involvement is needed at some point. In cloud management, this is clearly evident:

Since technologies like Kubernetes can be used for such a broad range of applications, and since every customer uses it differently and therefore has distinct requirements when it comes to the end product, service providers have to be aware that no self-service frontend can provide a solution for each and every one of their clients.

2. Security requires quality control.

Self-service alone cannot create security. And this is not due to the fact that individual users should not be trusted, but simply because it is always useful to have a second pair of eyes to check.

It is easy for users to make a mistake when configuring their own server. They are only human, after all. Clicking on a new, unfamiliar feature requires current knowledge of possible security vulnerabilities which a user might not be aware of yet. 

Having someone double-check can help to avoid unwanted consequences early on.

3. External expertise can uncover unexplored potential.

While the online portal allows for functionalities to be activated or deactivated, a dashboard cannot indicate whether a feature would be useful in specific scenarios. A competent advisor, on the other hand, can immerse themselves in the use-case, point out possible fallacies and find optimisation potential.

Customer Support Requires Expertise

Here’s the truth: no automated solution can replace a human consultant. This is not only substantiated by our many years of experience in working closely with customers – a current IFZ Retail Banking Research Paper also shows:

  • Large parts of customer interaction are now digital.
  • Nevertheless, one-to-one conversations remain the most popular communication channel.
  • The key to success is consulting across both digital and analogue channels.

The banking research paper corroborates what we know from our own business: customer service is about more than self-service. It is about consolidating automation and consulting.

At Nine, this is what we have found, and we see it every day in practice; our customers want our expertise. They like to pick up the phone and reach out, because this allows them to have an in-person chat with an engineer.

However, consulting only works if the consultant is seen as an expert who gives neutral advice rather than acting as a salesperson, someone who is competent and knows the customer’s individual circumstances.

Direct access is key

In conclusion, there is good reason for self-service as a standard in IT. At the core of this is direct access — to one’s account, to configurations, booking and billing. But also direct access to technical expertise, to the engineer. Many self-service providers are unable to supply the latter, as their offering is fully automated.

In the end, self-service replaces many cumbersome processes. However, there is one thing it cannot be a substitute for: personal consulting and the service provider’s expertise.

If you would like further information regarding self-service, contact Nine.

Talk to one of our experts

Do you have any questions about our products? Either contact Sales or go directly to your cockpit to see all the possibilities at Nine.