Elasticsearch vs Sphinx

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Elasticsearch
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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?

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.
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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.
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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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