Free license limitation for MSP


We are a startup/MSP and we would like to provide services with the elastic stack.
Is it possible to use the free license for that or do we have to buy a commercial one?


Check here

Also explain: we would like to provide services with the elastic stack.
Does this mean you are offering ELK as product or you have own app which use ELK for monitoring?

What is the nature of the service? Would users have direct access to Elasticsearch or Kibana?

Hi @Rsinsta Welcome to the community and your interest in the Elastic Stack

First, you should review this carefully this is the official FAQ with respect to Elastic Licensing.

and directly contact with any further questions on license use and contact sales here if you have licensing costs questions

Some Key Sections are:

Can you summarize what is allowed with the Elastic License 2.0?

The Elastic License 2.0 applies to our distribution and the source code of all of the free and paid features of Elasticsearch and Kibana. Our goal with ELv2 is to be as permissive as possible, while protecting against abuse. The license allows the free right to use, modify, create derivative works, and redistribute, with three simple limitations:

  • You may not provide the products to others as a managed service
  • You may not circumvent the license key functionality or remove/obscure features protected by license keys
  • You may not remove or obscure any licensing, copyright, or other notices

We tried to minimize the limitations just to those that protect our products and brand from abuse.


Can you provide some examples around what qualifies as "providing the software to third parties as a hosted or managed Service" or not?

I'm using Elasticsearch to put a search box on my cat-picture SaaS product.
This is permitted under ELv2. Meow!

I'm a contractor setting up Elasticsearch and Kibana for my clients to use internally.
This is permitted under ELv2, because you are not providing the software as a managed service.

My cat-picture SaaS product shows view-only Kibana dashboards of analytics on searches and views.
This is permitted under ELv2. The use of Kibana in this case is limited and this does not represent access to a substantial portion of the functionality of Kibana.

I am a Managed Service Provider (MSP) running Elasticsearch and Kibana for my customers.
If your customers do not access Elasticsearch and Kibana, this is permitted under ELv2. If your customers do have access to substantial portions of the functionality of either Elasticsearch and Kibana as part of your service, this may not be permitted.

I provide Elasticsearch and Kibana as a service, where my customers have direct access to substantial portions of the Elasticsearch APIs and Kibana UI.
This use is not permitted under the ELv2. Please reach out to us to discuss your options.

If you have questions about your specific scenario, please reach out to us at


Thanks for your replies.

We want to integrate elastic in our SOC to provide security services.
We would manage elastic but customers can have access to the dashboards.

I think this answer my question:

  • You may not provide the products to others as a managed service

So we need a commercial license for that

The Best Thing to do is contact Elastic Directly ...

And yes if you plan to have your Customers / End Users directly Access Kibana Dashboards / Discover / SIEM App etc... then yes you would need a license.

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