Elasticsearch is an open source, cross-platform, highly scalable distributed search and analytics engine based on Apache Lucene. Lucene is a popular Java-based, full-text search engine that can be used to query large sets of data efficiently. In this article, we’ll discuss the capabilities of Elasticsearch and how we can work with it in .Net using the popular .Net client for Elasticsearch called NEST. 

Elasticsearch gives you web-friendly REST APIs that exchange data in JSON format. Thus you can take advantage of Elasticsearch from your .Net application to store, search, and analyze large volumes of data in real time. Because Elasticsearch is customizable, you can use it to build our own custom search engine quite easily. There are plenty of plug-ins available to help you do this.

Unlike relational databases, Elasticsearch doesn’t store data in separate tables, but as JSON documents. Elasticsearch provides a query language called Query DSL that enables you to build and execute custom queries easily. Elasticsearch will perform better than your traditional relational database if you have a huge amount of data that must be searchable.

Elasticsearch basics

In this section we will examine the basic concepts related to Elasticsearch that will help us to get acquainted with Elasticsearch quickly. These include clusters, nodes, index, shards, and replicas.

and install it on your system. You will also need a client to work with Elasticsearch. There are two popular .Net clients available. Elasticsearch.Net is a low-level client, while Nest is a high-level client that comes with a strongly typed query language and maps nicely to the original Elasticsearch client. In this article we will be using Nest.

Once Elasticsearch has been successfully installed and running on your system, point your web browser at this address: 

http://localhost:9200

Here is the JSON response that Elasticsearch returned to the web browser on my system: 

{
  “name” : “wTkxaEG”,
  “cluster_name” : “elasticsearch”,
  “cluster_uuid” : “8azkA-8dTequMRWxOqqcSA”,
  “version” : {
    “number” : “5.5.2”,
    “build_hash” : “b2f0c09”,
    “build_date” : “2017-08-14T12:33:14.154Z”,
    “build_snapshot” : false,
    “lucene_version” : “6.6.0”
  },
  “tagline” : “You Know, for Search”
}

Connecting to Elasticsearch from .Net

Now let’s make the connection to Elasticsearch from .Net. Create a new Console Application project in Visual Studio. To install Nest in your project, type the following command in the Package Manager Console Window within the Visual Studio IDE.

PM> Install-Package NEST

Assuming Nest has been successfully installed, the following code listing illustrates how you can connect to Elasticsearch using Nest in C#.

using Nest;
using System;

namespace IDGElasticSearch
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            var node = new Uri(“http://localhost:9200”);
            var settings = new ConnectionSettings(node);
            var client = new ElasticClient(settings);
            var response = client.ClusterHealth();
            Console.WriteLine(response.Status);
            Console.Read();
        }
    }
}

Elasticsearch is a great choice for building search and analysis engines, and can also serve as a general purpose document store. However, you should not use Elasticsearch as your primary data source. It is not meant to be a replacement for your relational databases.

I will be writing about the more advanced concepts of Elasticsearch, and how we can create, index, search, delete, and update documents using Elasticsearch, in future posts. In the meantime, you can learn more by exploring .