Using Kibana in a Production Environment

How you deploy Kibana largely depends on your use case. If you are the only user, you can run Kibana on your local machine and configure it to point to whatever Elasticsearch instance you want to interact with. Conversely, if you have a large number of heavy Kibana users, you might need to load balance across multiple Kibana instances that are all connected to the same Elasticsearch instance.

While Kibana isn’t terribly resource intensive, we still recommend running Kibana separate from your Elasticsearch data or master nodes. To distribute Kibana traffic across the nodes in your Elasticsearch cluster, you can run Kibana and an Elasticsearch client node on the same machine. For more information, see Load Balancing Across Multiple Elasticsearch Nodes.

Using Kibana with X-Pack

You can use X-Pack Security to control what Elasticsearch data users can access through Kibana.

When you install X-Pack, Kibana users have to log in. They need to have the kibana_user role as well as access to the indices they will be working with in Kibana.

If a user loads a Kibana dashboard that accesses data in an index that they are not authorized to view, they get an error that indicates the index does not exist. X-Pack Security does not currently provide a way to control which users can load which dashboards.

For information about setting up Kibana users and how to configure Kibana to work with X-Pack, see https://www.elastic.co/guide/en/x-pack/current/kibana.html.

Enabling SSL

Kibana supports SSL encryption for both client requests and the requests the Kibana server sends to Elasticsearch.

To encrypt communications between the browser and the Kibana server, you configure the ssl_key_file and ssl_cert_file properties in kibana.yml:

# SSL for outgoing requests from the Kibana Server (PEM formatted)
server.ssl.key: /path/to/your/server.key
server.ssl.cert: /path/to/your/server.crt

If you are using X-Pack Security or a proxy that provides an HTTPS endpoint for Elasticsearch, you can configure Kibana to access Elasticsearch via HTTPS so communications between the Kibana server and Elasticsearch are encrypted.

To do this, you specify the HTTPS protocol when you configure the Elasticsearch URL in kibana.yml:

elasticsearch: "https://<your_elasticsearch_host>.com:9200"

If you are using a self-signed certificate for Elasticsearch, set the ca property in kibana.yml to specify the location of the PEM file. Setting the ca property lets you leave the verify_ssl option enabled.

# If you need to provide a CA certificate for your Elasticsearch instance, put
# the path of the pem file here.
ca: /path/to/your/ca/cacert.pem

Load Balancing Across Multiple Elasticsearch Nodes

If you have multiple nodes in your Elasticsearch cluster, the easiest way to distribute Kibana requests across the nodes is to run an Elasticsearch Coordinating only node on the same machine as Kibana. Elasticsearch Coordinating only nodes are essentially smart load balancers that are part of the cluster. They process incoming HTTP requests, redirect operations to the other nodes in the cluster as needed, and gather and return the results. For more information, see Node in the Elasticsearch reference.

To use a local client node to load balance Kibana requests:

  1. Install Elasticsearch on the same machine as Kibana.
  2. Configure the node as a Coordinating only node. In elasticsearch.yml, set node.data, node.master and node.ingest to false:

    # 3. You want this node to be neither master nor data node nor ingest node, but
    #    to act as a "search load balancer" (fetching data from nodes,
    #    aggregating results, etc.)
    #
    node.master: false
    node.data: false
    node.ingest: false
  3. Configure the client node to join your Elasticsearch cluster. In elasticsearch.yml, set the cluster.name to the name of your cluster.

    cluster.name: "my_cluster"
  4. Make sure Kibana is configured to point to your local client node. In kibana.yml, the elasticsearch.url should be set to localhost:9200.

    # The Elasticsearch instance to use for all your queries.
    elasticsearch.url: "http://localhost:9200"

Kibana and Tribe Nodes

Kibana 5.0 does not support tribe nodes. We are working on a solution that addresses this limitation.