by Stephanie Miles
Published on 22 January 2014
Qbox.io Review - Sidestep the most common challenges associated with implementing internal search engines
Qbox.io is a hosted solution for Elasticsearch, the open source distributed search engine developed for implementing internal site search and data exploration. By taking a product that is incredibly complex and distilling it down to its simplest and most intuitive form, the creators of Qbox.io have made it possible for virtually any application developer to utilize Elasticsearch to launch their own Elasticsearch clusters.
In this Qbox.io review, I will explain what makes the hosting solution unique and why Qbox.io has grown so popular since its debut. I also plan to describe some of Qbox.io's most useful features and benefits for application developers.
Individuals want to run basic searches, they typically rely on user-facing search engines like Google and Bing. When developers want to implement internal site search in their sites, apps, and data sets., they rely on Elasticsearch or similar products like Solr, Oracle Endeca, Autonomy, and many others. Despite how far internal search technology has come in the past five years, many developers are still hesitant to implement these products because of the overly technical nature. If your problem is, say, slow product search on your e-commerce site, or analytics queries that are glacially slow, Qbox.io is a solution for developers who fall into this category. The product provides its users with a dedicated hosting solution for Elasticsearch that is as straightforward and uncomplicated as possible. While it is not difficult in and of itself to launch Elasticsearch on a single node or on a local machine, when you need to scale up to more than one node, it is still a tricky proposition. Qbox also makes this easy.
Qbox.io provides a solution that is conceptually very similar to other cloud-hosted databases. The product itself is divided into two major components: the cluster nodes and Elasticsearch. Clusters are virtual servers running on public clouds like Rackspace or Amazon Webservices, or even on-premise. Elasticsearch is the open source software that is running on these clusters.
Through the product's dashboard, developers can launch Elasticsearch clusters, which are collections of servers that act as nodes. These can be added or removed on the fly, which gives scale to Qbox.io. Clusters can be created on either RackSpace or Amazon EC2. Qbox.io also provides developers with a web admin panel, which they can use to manage their clusters, along with pre-installing several open source admin panels to manage Elasticsearch.
At the point when a developer has selected the size and configured options for plugins, storage, and security, more advanced capabilities like provision cloud resources and install dependencies come into play. The provisioning period with Qbox.io can last anywhere from five minutes to one hour, depending on the size of the cluster. When that provisioning period is complete, Qbox.io will notify the developer and provide him or her with endpoints to access the new Elasticsearch server.
Qbox.io offers a number of advantages over competing Elasticsearch products. For one, the product supports both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and RackSpace, which is not something that many other products can boast. Qbox.io also includes support for multiple data centers spread across the world.
By using Qbox.io, developers can avoid having to deal with Java Virtual Machine (JVM) heap size capacity planning. The product offers automatic configuration of cluster topology-including master nodes, data notes, and loan balancers-to automatically prevent split-brain situations. Because Qbox.io is provided as a service, the company deals with complicated issues including setup on AWS and RackSpace for its users. Qbox.io users can avoid having to handle failed or degraded nodes, as well. Using Qbox.io also means not having to worry about slow node recovery.
View clusters on your dashboard page. Next to each cluster name, you'll find the name of the provider, the region, the number of nodes, and the node size. The dashboard page is also where you'll find the link to create new clusters.
New clusters can be setup in minutes. As your new customer is being provisioned, Qbox.io will keep you updated on the status. The provisioning period can last anywhere from five minutes to one hour depending on the size of the cluster and the cloud provider's response times.
Qbox.io provides you with detailed node diagnostics information, including node names, IP addresses, file systems, and cache activity.
Developers who need help getting setup with Qbox.io can find many of the answers to their questions in the official Elasticsearch community docs, which Qbox.io links to from its website. For the answers to more detailed queries, users are encouraged to contact Qbox.io's support desk. Based on past experience, Qbox.io's support desk is very prompt in responding to submissions during normal U.S. business hours.
Qbox.io's per-node pricing schedule allows users to scale at their own pace. This on-demand pricing is very reasonable, at 165% to 200% of the cost of raw AWS instance pricing. External storage is priced separately. New users are offered a $35 free introductory credit.
Using Qbox.io for hosted Elasticsearch allows developers to sidestep a number of the most common challenges associated with implementing internal search engines. In particular, Qbox.io users avoid having to monitor nodes themselves and wrestle with JVM heap size capacity planning. Because Qbox.io is provided as a service, developers who use the product do not have to worry about complicated topics like setup on AWS and RackSpace. Instead, they simply sign up for those services and get access to fully configured Elasticsearch just a few moments later. It is for this reason, among many others, that I can heartily recommend Qbox.io to developers who are looking for a hosted solution for Elasticsearch.
Ratings: ease of use 4/5, features 5/5, value 5/5