I can answer some of Bear’s questions:
As to 1, is it really hard to use Elastic. Which product? Why? The answer is that it does require a high degree of technical sophistication to run pure raw Elastic. It takes less technical ability if you run it through hosted cloud. There is a lot of reasons out there why Elastic’s hosted service is best, but AWS is making a big deal of their service and are investing resources into it.
In the scheme of things, however, you can buy plug and play tools for enterprise search and monitoring services that do not require this sort of sophistication.
Some customers, like Livermore research, who of course has some of the most expert technical people in the world and some of the highest data quantities in the world find raw Elastic to be perfect for them. I would have to use Datadog or one of the SaaS plug and play options for my needs on my website (admittedly I am the bottom rung on need for sophistication). But yes, Elastic is much more hands on than most of its alternatives, but there is a middle ground if you move to the hosted service (but that still requires technical skills).
As to #2 - open source harder to make money with, Red Hat did great though. Red Hat provided a service to help primarily with Linux (and then spread from there). Red Hat did not necessarily own a product, although they did develop some of those as well. Red Hat did sell for a very nice premium though.
As to #3 Does open source help with developer lead strategy. Did Twilio have open source roots or components.
First as to Twilio, no. Twilio is not open source. Twilio does enable free development with its tools until you build a product put into production.
As to the second, open source does help with developer lead model. The difference, however, between Twilio and Elastic, is that Twilio provides a complete product that you customize. Elastic is not a complete product but a database of great sophistication. Not a small tool that just any developer can start playing around with it. Given that Elastic database can do so many things, and that you can use it for virtually free, developers have adopted it in great numbers. Most of their use cases remain free (unlike with Twilio, where once you go into production you pay). And the use cases with Elastic require far more computing and data center power to run, and more sophistication to be able to run them. With of course the hosted model being simpler than running it all yourself.
As to #4 there is a misnomer about Elastic and search. I will admit not to fully understand it, but enterprise search is different from other types of search and Elastic is new to enterprise search. There are multiple other enterprise search products that are well established (and in fact Elastic bought a small one that is built on top of Elastic).
What is telling here, like with Datadog, is that there are very successful businesses out there that are build on top of Elastic, instead of just having developers use Elastic in-house and build it themselves.
Elastic, itself, is buying up some of these built on Elastic businesses, so Elastic can start offering more complete plug and play products, instead of just the raw Elastic.
Much about raw Elastic works great. The difficulty comes in running the entire stack. These other businesses take what is hard about Elastic, handle that part themselves, and deliver the results of plug and play like products to their customers. Datadog is of course the largest of these but the same exists in many of the fields Elastic wants to compete it. What seems to be the case, here, is that THESE OTHER PRODUCTS THAT ARE BUILT ON ELASTIC (LIKE DATA DOG) DON’T PAY ELASTIC ANYTHING.
Mongo has sought to eliminate this issue with its new licensing model. Elastic is not taking any steps in this regarding EXCEPT the lawsuit about the third party security software provider that appears to have copied Elastic’s security solution (which is of course essential for anyone to run Elastic commercially - perhaps even for a Datadog (that I don’t know).
But the answer is you have to further define search. But if it is enterprise search, the answer is NO. Elastic does have a new product out in that field that they say is the best, and they bought the small SaaS product in regard.
Elastic dominates in logging. Elsewhere, Elastic has competition, some bigger and more established, in most every other field they wish to compete. This includes enterprise search.
Elastic materially differs from the other open source success Mongo. Mongo clearly dominates in NOSQL, and is the #2 alternative database in the world to the big 3 databases. Postgres is slightly more popular than Mongo. But there are things Postgres cannot do (and never will be able to do) that Mongo can do.
Beyond Mongo and Postgres, there really is nothing competitive to these two offerings as alternatives to Oracle, and Oracle’s open source offering and Microsoft’s leading offering (and these 3 SQL databases still tower over all else) there is nothing that really pushes Mongo or Postgres, and these two databases only compete on the margins for the most part.
So Elastic is not Red Hat, nor is it Mongo. Elastic is something else. Whereas both Red Hat and Mongo focus on bringing simplicity to the database world, Elastic is not as focused, not does it really bring simplicity. When Elastic is working and maintained it is an awesome product, unmatched for the most part.