Starting SLM retention snapshot cleanup task – How to solve this Elasticsearch error

Opster Team

Aug-23, Version: 7.5-8.9

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Briefly, this error occurs when Elasticsearch’s Snapshot Lifecycle Management (SLM) initiates a cleanup task to delete old snapshots based on the retention policy. It’s not an error but an informational message indicating a routine process. However, if it’s causing issues, you can adjust the retention policy to keep snapshots for a longer period, or increase your storage capacity to accommodate more snapshots. Alternatively, you can disable SLM if it’s not needed. Always ensure to have a backup strategy in place before making changes to snapshot settings.

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This guide will help you check for common problems that cause the log ” starting SLM retention snapshot cleanup task ” to appear. To understand the issues related to this log, read the explanation below about the following Elasticsearch concepts: plugin, task, snapshot.

Log Context

Log “starting SLM retention snapshot cleanup task” classname is
We extracted the following from Elasticsearch source code for those seeking an in-depth context :

      "SLM retention snapshot cleanup task completed with error");

        try {
  "starting SLM retention snapshot cleanup task");
            // Find all SLM policies that have retention enabled
            final Map policiesWithRetention = getAllPoliciesWithRetentionEnabled(state);
            logger.trace("policies with retention enabled: {}"; policiesWithRetention.keySet());


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