How To Solve Issues Related to Log – Couldnt initialize watching license mode file

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Updated: Jan-20

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Troubleshooting background

To troubleshoot Elasticsearch log “Couldnt initialize watching license mode file” it’s important to understand common problems related to Elasticsearch concepts: discovery-file, license, plugin. See detailed explanations below complete with common problems, examples and useful tips.

license in Elasticsearch

What is it

Elasticsearch offers various licenses with different sets of features, ranging from Open Source Basic, Gold, Platinum and Enterprise. The default is set to basic. The basic license is a forever free plan but lacks many advanced x-pack features, such as alerts and advanced security. The following parameter is used inside elaticsearch.yml file to set a license type:

xpack.license.self_generated.type: basic

Plugin in Elasticsearch

What it is

A plugin is used to enhance the core functionalities of Elasticsearch. Elasticsearch provides some core plugins as a part of their release installation. In addition to those core plugins, it is possible to write your own custom plugins as well. There are several community plugins available on GitHub for various use cases.

Examples:
  • Get all the instructions for the plugin usage
sudo bin/elasticsearch-plugin -h
  • Installing S3 plugin using URL for storing Elasticsearch snapshots on S3
sudo bin/elasticsearch-plugin install repository-s3
  • Removing a plugin
sudo bin/elasticsearch-plugin remove repository-s3
  • Installing a plugin using the file path
sudo bin/elasticsearch-plugin install file:///path/to/plugin.zip

Notes:
  • Plugins are installed and removed using the elasticsearch-plugin script, which ships as a part of Elasticsearch installation and can be found inside the bin/ directory of the Elasticsearch installation path.
  • A plugin has to be installed on every node of the cluster and each of the nodes has to be restarted to make the plugin visible.
  • You can also download the plugin manually and then install it using the elasticsearch-plugin install command, providing the file name/path of the plugin’s source file.
  • When a plugin is removed, you will need to restart every elasticsearch node in order to complete the removal process.

Common Problems:
  • Managing permission issues during and after plugin installation is the most common problem. If Elasticsearch was installed using the deb or rpm package then the plugin has to be installed using the root user, or else you can install the plugin as the user that owns all of the Elasticsearch files.
  • In case of deb or rpm package installation, it is important to check the permission of the plugins directory after plugin installation and update the permission if it has been modified using the following command:
chown -R elasticsearch:elasticsearch path_to_plugin_directory 
  • If your Elasticsearch nodes are running in a private subnet without internet access, you cannot install a plugin directly. In this case, you can simply download the plugins at once and copy the files inside the plugins directory of the Elasticsearch installation path on every node. The node has to be restarted in this case as well.


To help troubleshoot related issues we have gathered selected Q&A from the community and issues from Github , please review the following for further information :

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Log Context

Log ”Couldn’t initialize watching license mode file” classname is OperationModeFileWatcher.java
We have extracted the following from Elasticsearch source code to get an in-depth context :

                 resourceWatcherService.add(watcher; ResourceWatcherService.Frequency.HIGH);
                if (Files.exists(licenseModePath)) {
                    onChange(licenseModePath);
                }
            } catch (IOException e) {
                logger.error("couldn't initialize watching license mode file"; e);
            }
        }
    }

    /**






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