Elasticsearch setup guide

Savorboard edited this page Jun 1, 2017 · 18 revisions

This guide will walk you through setting up an Elasticsearch production instance on Linux (please note that we assume that you have some Linux experience). You can use this guide to setup and configure your own nodes on Azure. We HIGHLY recommend that you use the Elasticsearch Azure ARM templates to setup a cluster in azure. This ensures that you are following best practices from the start


We'd love your feedback on how we can improve our setup and configuration. It would be greatly appreciated if a docker guru could create some docker images based on the following tutorial :).

Operating System

Let's start by creating a new virtual machine and select the latest 64bit Ubuntu Operating System. After your up and running lets ensure it's running the latest software:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Installing Elasticsearch

Install the latest version of Java:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-installer
java -version

Install Elasticsearch:

wget -qO - https://artifacts.elastic.co/GPG-KEY-elasticsearch | sudo apt-key add -

echo "deb https://artifacts.elastic.co/packages/5.x/apt stable main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/elastic-5.x.list

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install elasticsearch

For more information on running Elasticsearch as a service (using SystemD) please read this.

Installing Elasticsearch as a docker container

Elasticsearch can run in a docker container. The official elasticsearch repository is located at docker hub. Follow the given instructions on docker hub (elasticsearch.yml has to be copied to /usr/share/elasticsearch/config directory in container) or use this docker-compose.yml sample:

version: '2'

        image: elasticsearch:latest
        restart: always
            - [DIRECTORY]/elasticsearch.yml:/usr/share/elasticsearch/config/elasticsearch.yml
            - [DIRECTORY]/data:/usr/share/elasticsearch/data
            - 9200:9200
            - 9300:9300

where [DIRECTORY] is directory on the host and should contain the elasticsearch.yml configuration file. Start the container using

sudo docker-compose up -d

When running Elasticsearch in a docker container the steps below have to be modified appropriately.

Add secondary storage

You will want to attach a secondary hard disk/storage to your virtual machine before continuing. We use this disk to store the elastic search indexes. We create the largest one possible in azure as we only pay for space that is actually used. A plus side of doing this is you only have to pay for what is actually allocated on disk.

Get a list of the attached SCSI devices.

dmesg | grep SCSI

Make sure it’s sdc and that we are formatting the correct one.

sudo fdisk /dev/sdc

Command n then p and all defaults then w to write it

sudo mkfs -t ext4 /dev/sdc1

Mount the new drive to /mnt/data

sudo mkdir /mnt/data
sudo mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/data

Auto mount the drive on reboot.

sudo -i blkid

Grab the GUID for /dev/sdc1 and open fstab.

sudo nano /etc/fstab

Paste in under the existing UUID:

UUID=YOUR_GUID       /mnt/data        ext4   defaults        0 0

Create the storage folders by creating a db, log and work directory in /mnt/data

cd /mnt/data
mkdir db
mkdir log

Make elasticsearch user the owner of the folders

sudo chown -R elasticsearch:elasticsearch /mnt/data/

sudo chown -R elasticsearch:elasticsearch /mnt/data/log
sudo chown -R elasticsearch:elasticsearch /mnt/data/db

Installing plugins

cd /usr/share/elasticsearch
sudo bin/elasticsearch-plugin install mapper-size
cd /usr/share/elasticsearch
sudo bin/elasticsearch-plugin install repository-azure


It's important that you decide early on roughly how many nodes and how much ram the nodes will have so you can configure it properly. It's recommend that you at least three nodes with two master nodes. Having lots of ram and faster storage will help greatly.

Update the Elasticsearch configuration. We have our configuration file located here:

sudo nano /etc/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.yml

Edit the environment config and set ES_HEAP_SIZE to half of the ram size:

sudo nano /etc/default/elasticsearch


sudo nano /etc/init.d/elasticsearch

Update system limits

sudo nano /etc/security/limits.conf

With these values

elasticsearch - nofile 65535
elasticsearch - memlock unlimited

Update SystemD configuration settings

sudo nano /usr/lib/systemd/system/elasticsearch.service

With these values


Restart the service to ensure the configuration is picked up

sudo /bin/systemctl restart elasticsearch

Finally, lets verify that mlockall is true and maxfiles is 65535.

curl http://localhost:9200/_nodes/process?pretty

Configure Elasticsearch to run as a service

Ensure Elasticsearch starts after reboot via SystemD:

sudo /bin/systemctl daemon-reload
sudo /bin/systemctl enable elasticsearch.service


This section assumes that you've configured the Cloud-Azure plugin in the previous configuration step with your Azure blob storage access keys.

Create new snapshot repositories

We'll create a new snapshot repository. You'll need to follow this step as well if you wish to restore production data to a secondary cluster.

PUT _snapshot/ex_organizations
  "type": "azure",
    "settings": {
       "base_path": "organizations"

PUT _snapshot/ex_stacks
  "type": "azure",
    "settings": {
       "base_path": "stacks"

PUT _snapshot/ex_events
  "type": "azure",
    "settings": {
       "base_path": "events"

Create a manual backup

To create a backup and view the status of a snapshot:

GET _snapshot/ex_stacks/_status
PUT /_snapshot/ex_stacks/2020-01-01-12-00
 "indices": "stacks*",
 "ignore_unavailable": "true"

GET _snapshot/ex_events/_status
PUT /_snapshot/ex_events/2020-01-01-12-00
 "indices": "events*",
 "ignore_unavailable": "true"

GET _snapshot/ex_organizations/_status
PUT /_snapshot/ex_organizations/2020-01-01-12-00
 "indices": "organizations*",
 "ignore_unavailable": "true"

Once the snapshot repositories are registered, the management of the snapshots will be handled by the out of process exceptionless jobs.

Restoring from a backup

You'll first want to setup the snapshot repositories as well as install and configure the Cloud-Azure plugin before restoring to a new cluster.

List of all snapshots:

GET _snapshot/ex_stacks/_all
GET _snapshot/ex_events/_all
GET _snapshot/ex_organizations/_all

To do a restore of all indices run the following command (please take a look at the Elasticsearch documentation on how to restore a single index):

POST _snapshot/ex_organizations/2015-12-01-12-30/_restore
  "include_global_state": false
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