ElasticSearch backend for Events


As we split our backends to store segregated data (alarm, metering, events), we have to ability to choose backends tailored to store said data.

Problem description

While SQL is able to store unstructured data, it’s true use case is to effectively store data in a defined schema and it’s relationships so that it’s easily queryable.

Events in OpenStack are for the most part schema-free; each notification message may contain any combination of attributes based on when and where the message originated from.

Proposed change

ElasticSearch is designed primarily to store unstructured real time data flows, similar to the events in OpenStack and has worked with relative success in other projects[1].

ElasticSearch will be added in as an alternative backend to the current offerings of HBase, MongoDB, and SQL. The current implementation of filtering attributes using a definition file will continue to be used. A Logstash implementation of capturing and processing events is not in the scope of this blueprint[2]

Additionally, the api will continue to match the events api currently offered rather than implementing logstash.

Samples backend is not in the scope of this patch as TSDBs offer arguably better support for capturing measurements. That said, alarms database could be feasible and may be included in subsequent patches.


As mentioned, existing solutions using MongoDB, HBase, and SQL exists. They will continue to be viable options.

Using Kibana to retrieve/analyze data will not be the default solution to query data. That said, deployers should be able to bypass Ceilometer’s api and use Kibana if desired.

It should be noted, ElasticSearch currently isn’t recommended as a primary storage engine [3][4]. There is debate around how consistent it is.

There is another solution to use Mongodb as a primary storage and pipe data to ElasticSearch for better querying.[5]

ElasticSearch parallels MongoDB as it is also based on JSON. The reason for having ElasticSearch as an alternative is because it allows us to create indices based on time so we can effectivley shard data as well as expire data. Also, in addition to INFO notifications, services also emit ERROR notifications which can be richer in textual information, and ElasticSearch is designed specifically for such cases.

Data model impact

No data model changes are required. Events will continue to have the following attributes:

* message_id
* event_type
* generated
* list of traits

REST API impact


Security impact

Nothing new

Pipeline impact


Other end user impact

None, unless ElasticSearch is chosen as the backend. Then ElasticSearch will need to be configured accordingly.

Performance/Scalability Impacts

None, as it’s an optional backend. ElasticSearch has the ability to cluster to provide HA and it is built to scale horizontally[6]

Other deployer impact

The ElasticSearch storage driver is to have feature parity with the rest of the currently available event driver backends. It will add an elasticsearch-py client dependency should the driver be selected.

Developer impact

Devs will need to use ElasticSearch client when modifying ElasticSearch driver



Primary assignee:


Ongoing maintainer:


Work Items

  • write equivalent event driver functions and test.

Future lifecycle

Depending on evolution of events in Ceilometer, ElasticSearch driver will need to be updated to support new features (if feasible/logical). ElasticSearch may be extended to cover alarms (and samples) but is not currently in scope because time series databases are probably a better solution for measurements.


  • elasticsearch-py client library


testing will need to be done against a mocked db or a real ElasticSearch database

Documentation Impact

Update driver docs


[1] http://www.elasticsearch.org/case-studies/ [2] http://logstash.net/docs/1.4.2/ [3] http://www.bigdatamontreal.org/?p=305 - elasticsearch employee [4] http://aphyr.com/posts/317-call-me-maybe-elasticsearch [5] http://stackoverflow.com/questions/20080189/index-mongodb-with-elasticsearch/20120927#20120927 [6] http://www.elasticsearch.org/overview/elasticsearch