=== Monitoring Individual Nodes

Cluster-health is at one end of the spectrum--a very high-level overview of everything in your cluster. ((("clusters", "administration", "monitoring individual nodes")))((("nodes", "monitoring individual nodes"))) The node-stats API is at the other end. ((("Node Stats API", id="ix_NodeStats", range="startofrange"))) It provides a bewildering array of statistics about each node in your cluster.

Node-stats provides so many stats that, until you are accustomed to the output, you may be unsure which metrics are most important to keep an eye on. We'll highlight the most important metrics to monitor (but we encourage you to log all the metrics provided--or use Marvel--because you'll never know when you need one stat or another).

The node-stats API can be executed with the following:


GET _nodes/stats

Starting at the top of the output, we see the cluster name and our first node:


{ "cluster_name": "elasticsearch_zach", "nodes": { "UNr6ZMf5Qk-YCPA_L18BOQ": { "timestamp": 1408474151742, "name": "Zach", "transport_address": "inet[zacharys-air/]", "host": "zacharys-air", "ip": [ "inet[zacharys-air/]", "NONE" ],


The nodes are listed in a hash, with the key being the UUID of the node. Some information about the node's network properties are displayed (such as transport address, and host). These values are useful for debugging discovery problems, where nodes won't join the cluster. Often you'll see that the port being used is wrong, or the node is binding to the wrong IP address/interface.

==== indices Section

The indices section lists aggregate statistics((("indices", "indices section in Node Stats API"))) for all the indices that reside on this particular node:


"indices": {
    "docs": {
       "count": 6163666,
       "deleted": 0
    "store": {
       "size_in_bytes": 2301398179,
       "throttle_time_in_millis": 122850

The returned statistics are grouped into the following sections:

  • docs shows how many documents reside on this node, as well as the number of deleted docs that haven't been purged from segments yet.

  • The store portion indicates how much physical storage is consumed by the node. This metric includes both primary and replica shards. If the throttle time is large, it may be an indicator that your disk throttling is set too low (discussed in <>).


    "indexing": {
       "index_total": 803441,
       "index_time_in_millis": 367654,
       "index_current": 99,
       "delete_total": 0,
       "delete_time_in_millis": 0,
       "delete_current": 0
    "get": {
       "total": 6,
       "time_in_millis": 2,
       "exists_total": 5,
       "exists_time_in_millis": 2,
       "missing_total": 1,
       "missing_time_in_millis": 0,
       "current": 0
    "search": {
       "open_contexts": 0,
       "query_total": 123,
       "query_time_in_millis": 531,
       "query_current": 0,
       "fetch_total": 3,
       "fetch_time_in_millis": 55,
       "fetch_current": 0
    "merges": {
       "current": 0,
       "current_docs": 0,
       "current_size_in_bytes": 0,
       "total": 1128,
       "total_time_in_millis": 21338523,
       "total_docs": 7241313,
       "total_size_in_bytes": 5724869463

  • indexing shows the number of docs that have been indexed. This value is a monotonically increasing counter; it doesn't decrease when docs are deleted. Also note that it is incremented anytime an index operation happens internally, which includes things like updates. + Also listed are times for indexing, the number of docs currently being indexed, and similar statistics for deletes.

  • get shows statistics about get-by-ID statistics. This includes GET and HEAD requests for a single document.

  • search describes the number of active searches (open_contexts), number of queries total, and the amount of time spent on queries since the node was started. The ratio between query_time_in_millis / query_total can be used as a rough indicator for how efficient your queries are. The larger the ratio, the more time each query is taking, and you should consider tuning or optimization. + The fetch statistics detail the second half of the query process (the fetch in query-then-fetch). If more time is spent in fetch than query, this can be an indicator of slow disks or very large documents being fetched, or potentially search requests with paginations that are too large (for example, size: 10000).

  • merges contains information about Lucene segment merges. It will tell you the number of merges that are currently active, the number of docs involved, the cumulative size of segments being merged, and the amount of time spent on merges in total. + Merge statistics can be important if your cluster is write heavy. Merging consumes a large amount of disk I/O and CPU resources. If your index is write heavy and you see large merge numbers, be sure to read <>. + Note: updates and deletes will contribute to large merge numbers too, since they cause segment fragmentation that needs to be merged out eventually.


    "filter_cache": {
       "memory_size_in_bytes": 48,
       "evictions": 0
    "id_cache": {
       "memory_size_in_bytes": 0
    "fielddata": {
       "memory_size_in_bytes": 0,
       "evictions": 0
    "segments": {
       "count": 319,
       "memory_in_bytes": 65812120

  • filter_cache indicates the amount of memory used by the cached filter bitsets, and the number of times a filter has been evicted. A large number of evictions could indicate that you need to increase the filter cache size, or that your filters are not caching well (for example, they are churning heavily because of high cardinality, such as caching now date expressions). + However, evictions are a difficult metric to evaluate. Filters are cached on a per-segment basis, and evicting a filter from a small segment is much less expensive than evicting a filter from a large segment. It's possible that you have many evictions, but they all occur on small segments, which means they have little impact on query performance. + Use the eviction metric as a rough guideline. If you see a large number, investigate your filters to make sure they are caching well. Filters that constantly evict, even on small segments, will be much less effective than properly cached filters.

  • id_cache shows the memory usage by parent/child mappings. When you use parent/children, the id_cache maintains an in-memory join table that maintains the relationship. This statistic will show you how much memory is being used. There is little you can do to affect this memory usage, since it has a fairly linear relationship with the number of parent/child docs. It is heap-resident, however, so it's a good idea to keep an eye on it.

  • field_data displays the memory used by fielddata,((("fielddata", "statistics on"))) which is used for aggregations, sorting, and more. There is also an eviction count. Unlike filter_cache, the eviction count here is useful: it should be zero or very close. Since field data is not a cache, any eviction is costly and should be avoided. If you see evictions here, you need to reevaluate your memory situation, fielddata limits, queries, or all three.

  • segments will tell you the number of Lucene segments this node currently serves.((("segments", "number served by a node"))) This can be an important number. Most indices should have around 50–150 segments, even if they are terabytes in size with billions of documents. Large numbers of segments can indicate a problem with merging (for example, merging is not keeping up with segment creation). Note that this statistic is the aggregate total of all indices on the node, so keep that in mind. + The memory statistic gives you an idea of the amount of memory being used by the Lucene segments themselves.((("memory", "statistics on"))) This includes low-level data structures such as posting lists, dictionaries, and bloom filters. A very large number of segments will increase the amount of overhead lost to these data structures, and the memory usage can be a handy metric to gauge that overhead.

==== OS and Process Sections

The OS and Process sections are fairly self-explanatory and won't be covered in great detail.((("operating system (OS), statistics on"))) They list basic resource statistics such as CPU and load.((("process (Elasticsearch JVM), statistics on"))) The OS section describes it for the entire OS, while the Process section shows just what the Elasticsearch JVM process is using.

These are obviously useful metrics, but are often being measured elsewhere in your monitoring stack. Some stats include the following:

  • CPU
  • Load
  • Memory usage
  • Swap usage
  • Open file descriptors

==== JVM Section

The jvm section contains some critical information about the JVM process that is running Elasticsearch.((("JVM (Java Virtual Machine)", "statistics on"))) Most important, it contains garbage collection details, which have a large impact on the stability of your Elasticsearch cluster.

[[garbage_collector_primer]] .Garbage Collection Primer

Before we describe the stats, it is useful to give a crash course in garbage collection and its impact on Elasticsearch.((("garbage collection"))) If you are familar with garbage collection in the JVM, feel free to skip down.

Java is a garbage-collected language, which means that the programmer does not manually manage memory allocation and deallocation. The programmer simply writes code, and the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) manages the process of allocating memory as needed, and then later cleaning up that memory when no longer needed.

When memory is allocated to a JVM process, it is allocated in a big chunk called the heap. The JVM then breaks the heap into two groups, referred to as generations:

Young (or Eden):: The space where newly instantiated objects are allocated. The young generation space is often quite small, usually 100 MB–500 MB. The young-gen also contains two survivor spaces.

Old:: The space where older objects are stored. These objects are expected to be long-lived and persist for a long time. The old-gen is often much larger than then young-gen, and Elasticsearch nodes can see old-gens as large as 30 GB.

When an object is instantiated, it is placed into young-gen. When the young generation space is full, a young-gen garbage collection (GC) is started. Objects that are still "alive" are moved into one of the survivor spaces, and "dead" objects are removed. If an object has survived several young-gen GCs, it will be "tenured" into the old generation.

A similar process happens in the old generation: when the space becomes full, a garbage collection is started and dead objects are removed.

Nothing comes for free, however. Both the young- and old-generation garbage collectors have phases that "stop the world." During this time, the JVM literally halts execution of the program so it can trace the object graph and collect dead objects. During this stop-the-world phase, nothing happens. Requests are not serviced, pings are not responded to, shards are not relocated. The world quite literally stops.

This isn't a big deal for the young generation; its small size means GCs execute quickly. But the old-gen is quite a bit larger, and a slow GC here could mean 1s or even 15s of pausing--which is unacceptable for server software.

The garbage collectors in the JVM are very sophisticated algorithms and do a great job minimizing pauses. And Elasticsearch tries very hard to be garbage-collection friendly, by intelligently reusing objects internally, reusing network buffers, and offering features like <>. But ultimately, GC frequency and duration is a metric that needs to be watched by you, since it is the number one culprit for cluster instability.

A cluster that is frequently experiencing long GC will be a cluster that is under heavy load with not enough memory. These long GCs will make nodes drop off the cluster for brief periods. This instability causes shards to relocate frequently as Elasticsearch tries to keep the cluster balanced and enough replicas available. This in turn increases network traffic and disk I/O, all while your cluster is attempting to service the normal indexing and query load.

In short, long GCs are bad and need to be minimized as much as possible.

Because garbage collection is so critical to Elasticsearch, you should become intimately familiar with this section of the node-stats API:


    "jvm": {
        "timestamp": 1408556438203,
        "uptime_in_millis": 14457,
        "mem": {
           "heap_used_in_bytes": 457252160,
           "heap_used_percent": 44,
           "heap_committed_in_bytes": 1038876672,
           "heap_max_in_bytes": 1038876672,
           "non_heap_used_in_bytes": 38680680,
           "non_heap_committed_in_bytes": 38993920,

  • The jvm section first lists some general stats about heap memory usage. You can see how much of the heap is being used, how much is committed (actually allocated to the process), and the max size the heap is allowed to grow to. Ideally, heap_committed_in_bytes should be identical to heap_max_in_bytes. If the committed size is smaller, the JVM will have to resize the heap eventually--and this is a very expensive process. If your numbers are not identical, see <> for how to configure it correctly. + The heap_used_percent metric is a useful number to keep an eye on. Elasticsearch is configured to initiate GCs when the heap reaches 75% full. If your node is consistently >= 75%, your node is experiencing memory pressure. This is a warning sign that slow GCs may be in your near future. + If the heap usage is consistently >=85%, you are in trouble. Heaps over 90–95% are in risk of horrible performance with long 10–30s GCs at best, and out-of-memory (OOM) exceptions at worst.


"pools": { "young": { "used_in_bytes": 138467752, "max_in_bytes": 279183360, "peak_used_in_bytes": 279183360, "peak_max_in_bytes": 279183360 }, "survivor": { "used_in_bytes": 34865152, "max_in_bytes": 34865152, "peak_used_in_bytes": 34865152, "peak_max_in_bytes": 34865152 }, "old": { "used_in_bytes": 283919256, "max_in_bytes": 724828160, "peak_used_in_bytes": 283919256, "peak_max_in_bytes": 724828160 } }


  • The young, survivor, and old sections will give you a breakdown of memory usage of each generation in the GC. These stats are handy for keeping an eye on relative sizes, but are often not overly important when debugging problems.


"gc": { "collectors": { "young": { "collection_count": 13, "collection_time_in_millis": 923 }, "old": { "collection_count": 0, "collection_time_in_millis": 0 } }


  • gc section shows the garbage collection counts and cumulative time for both young and old generations. You can safely ignore the young generation counts for the most part: this number will usually be large. That is perfectly normal. + In contrast, the old generation collection count should remain small, and have a small collection_time_in_millis. These are cumulative counts, so it is hard to give an exact number when you should start worrying (for example, a node with a one-year uptime will have a large count even if it is healthy). This is one of the reasons that tools such as Marvel are so helpful. GC counts over time are the important consideration. + Time spent GC'ing is also important. For example, a certain amount of garbage is generated while indexing documents. This is normal and causes a GC every now and then. These GCs are almost always fast and have little effect on the node: young generation takes a millisecond or two, and old generation takes a few hundred milliseconds. This is much different from 10-second GCs. + Our best advice is to collect collection counts and duration periodically (or use Marvel) and keep an eye out for frequent GCs. You can also enable slow-GC logging, discussed in <>.

==== Threadpool Section

Elasticsearch maintains threadpools internally. ((("threadpools", "statistics on"))) These threadpools cooperate to get work done, passing work between each other as necessary. In general, you don't need to configure or tune the threadpools, but it is sometimes useful to see their stats so you can gain insight into how your cluster is behaving.

There are about a dozen threadpools, but they all share the same format:


"index": { "threads": 1, "queue": 0, "active": 0, "rejected": 0, "largest": 1, "completed": 1


Each threadpool lists the number of threads that are configured (threads), how many of those threads are actively processing some work (active), and how many work units are sitting in a queue (queue).

If the queue fills up to its limit, new work units will begin to be rejected, and you will see that reflected in the rejected statistic. This is often a sign that your cluster is starting to bottleneck on some resources, since a full queue means your node/cluster is processing at maximum speed but unable to keep up with the influx of work.

.Bulk Rejections

If you are going to encounter queue rejections, it will most likely be caused by bulk indexing requests.((("bulk API", "rejections of bulk requests"))) It is easy to send many bulk requests to Elasticsearch by using concurrent import processes. More is better, right?

In reality, each cluster has a certain limit at which it can not keep up with ingestion. Once this threshold is crossed, the queue will quickly fill up, and new bulks will be rejected.

This is a good thing. Queue rejections are a useful form of back pressure. They let you know that your cluster is at maximum capacity, which is much better than sticking data into an in-memory queue. Increasing the queue size doesn't increase performance; it just hides the problem. If your cluster can process only 10,000 docs per second, it doesn't matter whether the queue is 100 or 10,000,000--your cluster can still process only 10,000 docs per second.

The queue simply hides the performance problem and carries a real risk of data-loss. Anything sitting in a queue is by definition not processed yet. If the node goes down, all those requests are lost forever. Furthermore, the queue eats up a lot of memory, which is not ideal.

It is much better to handle queuing in your application by gracefully handling the back pressure from a full queue. When you receive bulk rejections, you should take these steps:

  1. Pause the import thread for 3–5 seconds.
  2. Extract the rejected actions from the bulk response, since it is probable that many of the actions were successful. The bulk response will tell you which succeeded and which were rejected.
  3. Send a new bulk request with just the rejected actions.
  4. Repeat from step 1 if rejections are encountered again.

Using this procedure, your code naturally adapts to the load of your cluster and naturally backs off.

Rejections are not errors: they just mean you should try again later.

There are a dozen threadpools. Most you can safely ignore, but a few are good to keep an eye on:

indexing:: Threadpool for normal indexing requests

bulk:: Bulk requests, which are distinct from the nonbulk indexing requests

get:: Get-by-ID operations

search:: All search and query requests

merging:: Threadpool dedicated to managing Lucene merges

==== FS and Network Sections

Continuing down the node-stats API, you'll see a((("filesystem, statistics on"))) bunch of statistics about your filesystem: free space, data directory paths, disk I/O stats, and more. If you are not monitoring free disk space, you can get those stats here. The disk I/O stats are also handy, but often more specialized command-line tools (iostat, for example) are more useful.

Obviously, Elasticsearch has a difficult time functioning if you run out of disk space--so make sure you don't.

There are also two sections on ((("network", "statistics on")))network statistics:


    "transport": {
        "server_open": 13,
        "rx_count": 11696,
        "rx_size_in_bytes": 1525774,
        "tx_count": 10282,
        "tx_size_in_bytes": 1440101928
     "http": {
        "current_open": 4,
        "total_opened": 23

  • transport shows some basic stats about the transport address. This relates to inter-node communication (often on port 9300) and any transport client or node client connections. Don't worry if you see many connections here; Elasticsearch maintains a large number of connections between nodes.

  • http represents stats about the HTTP port (often 9200). If you see a very large total_opened number that is constantly increasing, that is a sure sign that one of your HTTP clients is not using keep-alive connections. Persistent, keep-alive connections are important for performance, since building up and tearing down sockets is expensive (and wastes file descriptors). Make sure your clients are configured appropriately.

==== Circuit Breaker

Finally, we come to the last section: stats about the((("fielddata circuit breaker"))) fielddata circuit breaker (introduced in <>):



     "fielddata_breaker": {
        "maximum_size_in_bytes": 623326003,
        "maximum_size": "594.4mb",
        "estimated_size_in_bytes": 0,
        "estimated_size": "0b",
        "overhead": 1.03,
        "tripped": 0

Here, you can determine the maximum circuit-breaker size (for example, at what size the circuit breaker will trip if a query attempts to use more memory). This section will also let you know the number of times the circuit breaker has been tripped, and the currently configured overhead. The overhead is used to pad estimates, because some queries are more difficult to estimate than others.

The main thing to watch is the tripped metric. If this number is large or consistently increasing, it's a sign that your queries may need to be optimized or that you may need to obtain more memory (either per box or by adding more nodes).((("Node Stats API", range="endofrange", startref="ix_NodeStats")))

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