Elasticsearch Disk Watermark

Elasticsearch Disk Watermark

Opster Team

July 2020, Version: 1.7-8.0

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Disk watermarks in Elasticsearch

Elasticsearch considers the available disk space before deciding whether to allocate new shards, relocate shards away or put all indices on read mode based on a different threshold of this error. The reason is Elasticsearch indices consists of different shards which are persisted on data nodes and low disk space can cause issues.

Relevant settings related 

cluster.routing.allocation.disk.watermark and have three thresholds of low, high, and flood_stage and can be changed dynamically as well. It Accepts absolute as well as percentage values. More information available on official ES doc.

How to fix logs messages related to Disk watermarks

Permanent fixes:

a) Delete unused indices. 

b) Merge segments to reduce the size of the shard on the affected node, more info on opster’s Elasticsearch expert’s STOF answer 

c) Attach external disk or increase the disk used by the data node

Temp hack/fixes:

a) Changed these settings values to a higher threshold by dynamically update settings using below update cluster API.

PUT _cluster/settings :


  “transient”: {

    “cluster.routing.allocation.disk.watermark.low”: “100gb”, –>adjust according to your situations

    “cluster.routing.allocation.disk.watermark.high”: “50gb”,

    “cluster.routing.allocation.disk.watermark.flood_stage”: “10gb”,

    “cluster.info.update.interval”: “1m”



b) Disable disk check by hitting below cluster update API


    “transient”: {

       “cluster.routing.allocation.disk.threshold_enabled” : false



Even After all these fixes, Elasticsearch won’t bring indices in write mode for that this API needs to be activated

PUT _all/_settings


     “index.blocks.read_only_allow_delete”: null


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