Unable to refresh phase definition for updated policy – How to solve this Elasticsearch error

Opster Team

Aug-23, Version: 7.6-7.15

Briefly, this error occurs when Elasticsearch cannot update the phase definition for a specific index lifecycle management (ILM) policy. This could be due to incorrect policy settings, insufficient permissions, or network issues. To resolve this, you can try the following: 1) Check and correct the ILM policy settings; 2) Ensure the user has the necessary permissions to update the ILM policy; 3) Check the network connectivity between the Elasticsearch nodes; 4) Restart the Elasticsearch cluster if necessary.

This guide will help you check for common problems that cause the log ” [{}] unable to refresh phase definition for updated policy [{}] ” to appear. To understand the issues related to this log, read the explanation below about the following Elasticsearch concepts: plugin, refresh.

Log Context

Log “[{}] unable to refresh phase definition for updated policy [{}]” classname is PhaseCacheManagement.java.
We extracted the following from Elasticsearch source code for those seeking an in-depth context :

        for (IndexMetadata index : indicesThatCanBeUpdated) {
            try {
                refreshPhaseDefinition(mb; index; newPolicy);
            } catch (Exception e) {
                logger.warn(new ParameterizedMessage("[{}] unable to refresh phase definition for updated policy [{}]";
                    index; newPolicy.getName()); e);
        logger.debug("refreshed policy [{}] phase definition for [{}] indices"; newPolicy.getName(); refreshedIndices.size());
        return refreshedIndices.size() > 0;


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