Elasticsearch vs Sphinx

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Elasticsearch
Elasticsearch

11.2K
8.1K
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1.6K
Sphinx
Sphinx

150
111
+ 1
25
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Elasticsearch vs Sphinx: What are the differences?

What is Elasticsearch? Open Source, Distributed, RESTful Search Engine. Elasticsearch is a distributed, RESTful search and analytics engine capable of storing data and searching it in near real time. Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats and Logstash are the Elastic Stack (sometimes called the ELK Stack).

What is Sphinx? Open source full text search server, designed from the ground up with performance, relevance (aka search quality), and integration simplicity in mind. Sphinx lets you either batch index and search data stored in an SQL database, NoSQL storage, or just files quickly and easily — or index and search data on the fly, working with Sphinx pretty much as with a database server. A variety of text processing features enable fine-tuning Sphinx for your particular application requirements, and a number of relevance functions ensures you can tweak search quality as well.

Elasticsearch can be classified as a tool in the "Search as a Service" category, while Sphinx is grouped under "Search Engines".

Some of the features offered by Elasticsearch are:

  • Distributed and Highly Available Search Engine.
  • Multi Tenant with Multi Types.
  • Various set of APIs including RESTful

On the other hand, Sphinx provides the following key features:

  • Output formats: HTML (including Windows HTML Help), LaTeX (for printable PDF versions), ePub, Texinfo, manual pages, plain text
  • Extensive cross-references: semantic markup and automatic links for functions, classes, citations, glossary terms and similar pieces of information
  • Hierarchical structure: easy definition of a document tree, with automatic links to siblings, parents and children

"Powerful api" is the primary reason why developers consider Elasticsearch over the competitors, whereas "Fast" was stated as the key factor in picking Sphinx.

Elasticsearch is an open source tool with 41.9K GitHub stars and 14K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Elasticsearch's open source repository on GitHub.

Instacart, Slack, and Stack Exchange are some of the popular companies that use Elasticsearch, whereas Sphinx is used by Webedia, Grooveshark, and Ansible. Elasticsearch has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1975 company stacks & 936 developers stacks; compared to Sphinx, which is listed in 38 company stacks and 13 developer stacks.

- No public GitHub repository available -

What is Elasticsearch?

Elasticsearch is a distributed, RESTful search and analytics engine capable of storing data and searching it in near real time. Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats and Logstash are the Elastic Stack (sometimes called the ELK Stack).

What is Sphinx?

It lets you either batch index and search data stored in an SQL database, NoSQL storage, or just files quickly and easily — or index and search data on the fly, working with it pretty much as with a database server.
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    What are some alternatives to Elasticsearch and Sphinx?
    Solr
    Solr is the popular, blazing fast open source enterprise search platform from the Apache Lucene project. Its major features include powerful full-text search, hit highlighting, faceted search, near real-time indexing, dynamic clustering, database integration, rich document (e.g., Word, PDF) handling, and geospatial search. Solr is highly reliable, scalable and fault tolerant, providing distributed indexing, replication and load-balanced querying, automated failover and recovery, centralized configuration and more. Solr powers the search and navigation features of many of the world's largest internet sites.
    Lucene
    Lucene Core, our flagship sub-project, provides Java-based indexing and search technology, as well as spellchecking, hit highlighting and advanced analysis/tokenization capabilities.
    MongoDB
    MongoDB stores data in JSON-like documents that can vary in structure, offering a dynamic, flexible schema. MongoDB was also designed for high availability and scalability, with built-in replication and auto-sharding.
    Algolia
    Our mission is to make you a search expert. Push data to our API to make it searchable in real time. Build your dream front end with one of our web or mobile UI libraries. Tune relevance and get analytics right from your dashboard.
    Splunk
    Splunk Inc. provides the leading platform for Operational Intelligence. Customers use Splunk to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine data.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about Elasticsearch and Sphinx
    Tim Specht
    Tim Specht
    ‎Co-Founder and CTO at Dubsmash · | 16 upvotes · 140.1K views
    atDubsmashDubsmash
    Elasticsearch
    Elasticsearch
    Algolia
    Algolia
    Memcached
    Memcached
    #SearchAsAService

    Although we were using Elasticsearch in the beginning to power our in-app search, we moved this part of our processing over to Algolia a couple of months ago; this has proven to be a fantastic choice, letting us build search-related features with more confidence and speed.

    Elasticsearch is only used for searching in internal tooling nowadays; hosting and running it reliably has been a task that took up too much time for us in the past and fine-tuning the results to reach a great user-experience was also never an easy task for us. With Algolia we can flexibly change ranking methods on the fly and can instead focus our time on fine-tuning the experience within our app.

    Memcached is used in front of most of the API endpoints to cache responses in order to speed up response times and reduce server-costs on our side.

    #SearchAsAService

    See more
    Julien DeFrance
    Julien DeFrance
    Principal Software Engineer at Tophatter · | 16 upvotes · 1.1M views
    atSmartZipSmartZip
    Rails
    Rails
    Rails API
    Rails API
    AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    Capistrano
    Capistrano
    Docker
    Docker
    Amazon S3
    Amazon S3
    Amazon RDS
    Amazon RDS
    MySQL
    MySQL
    Amazon RDS for Aurora
    Amazon RDS for Aurora
    Amazon ElastiCache
    Amazon ElastiCache
    Memcached
    Memcached
    Amazon CloudFront
    Amazon CloudFront
    Segment
    Segment
    Zapier
    Zapier
    Amazon Redshift
    Amazon Redshift
    Amazon Quicksight
    Amazon Quicksight
    Superset
    Superset
    Elasticsearch
    Elasticsearch
    Amazon Elasticsearch Service
    Amazon Elasticsearch Service
    New Relic
    New Relic
    AWS Lambda
    AWS Lambda
    Node.js
    Node.js
    Ruby
    Ruby
    Amazon DynamoDB
    Amazon DynamoDB
    Algolia
    Algolia

    Back in 2014, I was given an opportunity to re-architect SmartZip Analytics platform, and flagship product: SmartTargeting. This is a SaaS software helping real estate professionals keeping up with their prospects and leads in a given neighborhood/territory, finding out (thanks to predictive analytics) who's the most likely to list/sell their home, and running cross-channel marketing automation against them: direct mail, online ads, email... The company also does provide Data APIs to Enterprise customers.

    I had inherited years and years of technical debt and I knew things had to change radically. The first enabler to this was to make use of the cloud and go with AWS, so we would stop re-inventing the wheel, and build around managed/scalable services.

    For the SaaS product, we kept on working with Rails as this was what my team had the most knowledge in. We've however broken up the monolith and decoupled the front-end application from the backend thanks to the use of Rails API so we'd get independently scalable micro-services from now on.

    Our various applications could now be deployed using AWS Elastic Beanstalk so we wouldn't waste any more efforts writing time-consuming Capistrano deployment scripts for instance. Combined with Docker so our application would run within its own container, independently from the underlying host configuration.

    Storage-wise, we went with Amazon S3 and ditched any pre-existing local or network storage people used to deal with in our legacy systems. On the database side: Amazon RDS / MySQL initially. Ultimately migrated to Amazon RDS for Aurora / MySQL when it got released. Once again, here you need a managed service your cloud provider handles for you.

    Future improvements / technology decisions included:

    Caching: Amazon ElastiCache / Memcached CDN: Amazon CloudFront Systems Integration: Segment / Zapier Data-warehousing: Amazon Redshift BI: Amazon Quicksight / Superset Search: Elasticsearch / Amazon Elasticsearch Service / Algolia Monitoring: New Relic

    As our usage grows, patterns changed, and/or our business needs evolved, my role as Engineering Manager then Director of Engineering was also to ensure my team kept on learning and innovating, while delivering on business value.

    One of these innovations was to get ourselves into Serverless : Adopting AWS Lambda was a big step forward. At the time, only available for Node.js (Not Ruby ) but a great way to handle cost efficiency, unpredictable traffic, sudden bursts of traffic... Ultimately you want the whole chain of services involved in a call to be serverless, and that's when we've started leveraging Amazon DynamoDB on these projects so they'd be fully scalable.

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    Reviews of Elasticsearch and Sphinx
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    How developers use Elasticsearch and Sphinx
    Avatar of imgur
    imgur uses ElasticsearchElasticsearch

    Elasticsearch is the engine that powers search on the site. From a high level perspective, it’s a Lucene wrapper that exposes Lucene’s features via a RESTful API. It handles the distribution of data and simplifies scaling, among other things.

    Given that we are on AWS, we use an AWS cloud plugin for Elasticsearch that makes it easy to work in the cloud. It allows us to add nodes without much hassle. It will take care of figuring out if a new node has joined the cluster, and, if so, Elasticsearch will proceed to move data to that new node. It works the same way when a node goes down. It will remove that node based on the AWS cluster configuration.

    Avatar of Instacart
    Instacart uses ElasticsearchElasticsearch

    The very first version of the search was just a Postgres database query. It wasn’t terribly efficient, and then at some point, we moved over to ElasticSearch, and then since then, Andrew just did a lot of work with it, so ElasticSearch is amazing, but out of the box, it doesn’t come configured with all the nice things that are there, but you spend a lot of time figuring out how to put it all together to add stemming, auto suggestions, all kinds of different things, like even spelling adjustments and tomato/tomatoes, that would return different results, so Andrew did a ton of work to make it really, really nice and build a very simple Ruby gem called SearchKick.

    Avatar of AngeloR
    AngeloR uses ElasticsearchElasticsearch

    We use ElasticSearch for

    • Session Logs
    • Analytics
    • Leaderboards

    We originally self managed the ElasticSearch clusters, but due to our small ops team size we opt to move things to managed AWS services where possible.

    The managed servers, however, do not allow us to manage our own backups and a restore actually requires us to open a support ticket with them. We ended up setting up our own nightly backup since we do per day indexes for the logs/analytics.

    Avatar of Brandon Adams
    Brandon Adams uses ElasticsearchElasticsearch

    Elasticsearch has good tooling and supports a large api that makes it ideal for denormalizing data. It has a simple to use aggregations api that tends to encompass most of what I need a BI tool to do, especially in the early going (when paired with Kibana). It's also handy when you just want to search some text.

    Avatar of Ana Phi Sancho
    Ana Phi Sancho uses ElasticsearchElasticsearch

    Self taught : acquired knowledge or skill on one's own initiative. Open Source Search & Analytics. -time search and analytics engine. Search engine based on Lucene. It provides a distributed, multitenant-capable full-text search engine with an HTTP web interface and schema-free JSON documents.

    Avatar of Andrew Gatenby
    Andrew Gatenby uses SphinxSphinx

    We use Sphinx as the main search indexing system on our clients' websites. It's a more powerful system than we even scratch the surface of, and allows us to index data from a variety of sources.

    Avatar of GadgetSteve
    GadgetSteve uses SphinxSphinx

    Generate beautiful documentation from version controlled inputs

    Avatar of PlushForums
    PlushForums uses SphinxSphinx

    Advanced full-text search.

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