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Elasticsearch Equilibrium


Depending on how you have ES nodes allocated across the system, and the way the your data goes across indices, it is possible to end up with a cluster that is weighted (in terms of disk) towards certain physical nodes. ES-equilibrium was created to ensure that the disk limit wasn't accidentally reached when creating new shards, and to allow the ability to balance disk usage across nodes in the cluster.

A good rule of thumb is: If you don't know whether you need this, you probably don't need it.


The elasticsearch-equilibrium plugin can be installed as any other ES plugin using bin/plugin utility:

% bin/plugin -url -install elasticsearch-equilibrium-0.90.0

In elasticsearch.yml:

  enabled: true
  minimumAvailablePercentage: 20.0
  minimumSwapDifferencePercentage: 5.0
  minimumSwapShardRelativeDifferencePercentage: 75.0

This plugin currently keeps ES from allocating shards to a node with less than minimumAvailablePercentage percentage available disk space on the ES data mount points.


If a node goes beneath this amount of free disk space percentage, no more shards will be relocated or assigned to this node. Defaults to 20.0%


If two nodes have a percentage difference of at least this amount in used disk space, a shard swap will be initiated. Defaults to 5.0%


Minimum difference in percentage between two shards to consider them viable for swapping. For example, if set to 50.0%, the smaller shard must be <= 50% the size of the largest shard candidate for swapping. Defaults to 75.0%

Manual rebalancing

% curl -s "http://localhost:9200/_rebalance"

Manual rebalancing looks through the cluster to discover the node with the highest disk usage (as a percentage), and the node with the lowers disk usage (also as a percentage). It then finds the largest shard on the largest node and swaps it with the smallest shard on the smallest node.

In this way, disk usage that may be uneven across a cluster can be evened out.

Note: this should only be done under supervision of someone that knows what they are doing, and only one rebalance should be run at a time. Wait for the rebalance to finish before starting another.


Note that elasticsearch-equilibrium will fail open in the event a nodeFsStats request times out.


If you need to add elasticsearch-equilibrium to your pom.xml (for some reason), you can use:



Copyright 2012 Lee Hinman & Sonian

Released under the Apache License, 2.0. See LICENSE.txt

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