%s failed to delete index – How to solve this Elasticsearch error

Opster Team

Aug-23, Version: 8.3-8.9

Briefly, this error occurs when Elasticsearch fails to delete an index due to various reasons such as insufficient permissions, the index being in use, or the index not existing. To resolve this issue, you can check if the index exists and is not currently in use. If it’s a permissions issue, ensure that the user has the necessary rights to delete the index. If the index is in use, stop the operations using it before attempting to delete. Always ensure to backup important data before deleting any index.

This guide will help you check for common problems that cause the log ” %s failed to delete index ” to appear. To understand the issues related to this log, read the explanation below about the following Elasticsearch concepts: indices, index, delete.

Log Context

Log “%s failed to delete index” classname is IndicesService.java.
We extracted the following from Elasticsearch source code for those seeking an in-depth context :

            success = true;
        } catch (ShardLockObtainFailedException ex) {
            logger.debug(() -> format("%s failed to delete index store - at least one shards is still locked"; index); ex);
        } catch (Exception ex) {
            logger.warn(() -> format("%s failed to delete index"; index); ex);
        } finally {
            if (success == false) {
                addPendingDelete(index; indexSettings);
            // this is a pure protection to make sure this index doesn't get re-imported as a dangling index.


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