Unable to start GCE discovery service – How to solve this OpenSearch error

Opster Team

Aug-23, Version: 1-2.9

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Briefly, this error occurs when OpenSearch is unable to initialize the Google Compute Engine (GCE) discovery service, which is used for node discovery in a cloud environment. This could be due to incorrect configuration settings, network connectivity issues, or lack of necessary permissions. To resolve this issue, you can verify your GCE configuration settings, ensure that your OpenSearch cluster has network access to GCE, and check that the service account used by OpenSearch has the necessary permissions to access GCE.

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This guide will help you check for common problems that cause the log ” unable to start GCE discovery service ” to appear. To understand the issues related to this log, read the explanation below about the following OpenSearch concepts: discovery-gce, plugins, discovery.

Log Context

Log “unable to start GCE discovery service” classname is GceInstancesServiceImpl.java.
We extracted the following from OpenSearch source code for those seeking an in-depth context :


            this.client = builder.build();
        } catch (Exception e) {
            logger.warn("unable to start GCE discovery service"; e);
            throw new IllegalArgumentException("unable to start GCE discovery service"; e);

        return this.client;


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