ElasticSearch and Kibana
I had the pleasure of going to a work-sponsored Hack-A-Thon yesterday. It’s the first of many Hack-A-Thons (work sponsored or not) I’d like to attend. While the format was slightly different from other Hack-A-Thons that I’ve read about given that it was work sponsored, it was still a worthwhile experience.
Initially I had thought I was going to use Git but I had issues with my myriad of accounts with TFSOnline and the organizations TFSOnline setup. I’m not going to close the door on Git as I haven’t given a fair shot so I’m going to forcing myself to use it for some of my personal projects. Conceptually, distributed version control sounds simple but it’s the polar opposite of how I’ve been working with TFS so it’ll be an adjustment.
I had no idea what I was going to be working on beforehand for the Hack-A-Thon. I joined up with three others and we formed a team first thing in the morning. After a lengthy team discussion, we decided on a project and to use AngularJS as the front end and feed data to ElasticSearch with Kibana for visualizing the data. I learned a lot about ElasticSearch and Kibana in regards to setup and configuration. My task was to setup an Azure instance with ElasticSearch and Kibana. While I was able to get it working, even though I opened firewall ports on the VM itself and Azure, it was difficult to get the results back into the office as I assume the firewall blocked the inbound response. I had to set it up all over again locally on my laptop and had no problems whatsoever. Once we got it up and running we spent some time with Kibana. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to truly master Kibana, but the combination of both ElasticSearch and Kibana are very powerful and worth investigating further.
Initially I was interested in AngularJS but ElasticSearch and Kibana won me over not because it was the task that I was assigned to and in spite of some road bumps, it was an interesting experience. The fact that they’re free makes them both intriguing options for anyone. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them for my projects but I think seeing how easy they are to setup and deploy, I may just append them to my projects to to see what kind of reporting and visualization I can get with the data I’m capturing.
Overall, it was a cool Hack-A-Thon. Having opportunities like these (especially work-sponsored) is something organizations should think about. I wouldn’t have noticed ElasticSearch or Kibana if someone hadn’t mentioned it. Even if I had heard about it some point, having someone knowledgeable at hand get me through the rough spots quickly was immensely valuable. To pickup and learn something brand new in a matter of a few hours for an adhoc project is a worthwhile experience for everyone involved.