Learning the elastic stack: start of a journey.

At my present job we use Elastic stack (some times known as ELK stack) for log aggregation and application performance maintenance. At least for the parts I work with we use these tools to monitor test and prod environments that are using Kubernetes. I had worked a bit with Kuberntes before and had a fair idea about log aggregation and APM tools from before, but I had never really used Elastic stack before. The more I used it the more I liked it. I am not super interested in the debates surrounding open source and elastic licensing (and what does and does not qualify as open source). Perhaps I will start taking it seriously at some point. However I do care about software tools with good UX, with well written/prepare documentation/training and a rich community eco system (even if it means one has to pay for the fancy features). Over the span of last six month I have found Elastic stack to have all of these attributes.

Free Elastic Courses

The thing that really boosted my learning in the beginning were free training courses  by Elastic. I found these to be up to date and had good enough details to get started without being overwhelmed. There is another website where you can also enroll in on demand courses with lab components. 

Learning by doing

The best way to learn things is by doing. Not only there are plenty of opportunities to run and deploy elastic stack as sysadmin locally and on google / azure / amazon  there are some really good examples of getting started with Kibana by just importing samples.

I like the cloud options, but to be able to experiment with elastic without any data leaving my machine I am currently working on a small tutorial repo that will help me bring up elastic stack locally on minikube but on Windows 10 and WSL2 (but its based on filebeat with autodiscover sample). You can also look into docker compose if you want to run things locally

Elastic Community

There is a rich community of elastic users. They have plenty of meetups (which are happening virtually right now). There is an active discussion board. But by far my favorite community tip is the Official Elastic community youtube channel. I have spent quite a few hours listening to various community members share their knowledge and experience and I have found it to be very useful. There is also an events page where you can see list of upcoming virtual/in-person events. 

I am really excited about what I have learned in a few months when it comes to Elastic stack. If you are also starting your journey, I hope you find my curation of some resources useful.