Elasticsearch Elasticsearch How to Reduce the Number of Replicas on Content Nodes

By Opster Team

Updated: Mar 10, 2024

| 2 min read

What does this mean? 

This is an indication that there is an opportunity to optimize the Elasticsearch cluster by reducing the number of replicas for the content tier. Replicas are copies of primary shards that provide high availability and fault tolerance. However, having too many replicas can lead to increased resource usage and negatively impact performance and stability.

Why does this occur?

This event occurred because the Elasticsearch cluster has indices with more replicas than necessary for the content tier. This can happen due to various reasons, such as misconfiguration, lack of monitoring, or not following best practices for replica management.

Possible impact and consequences of too many replicas

The possible impact of this event includes:

  1. Reduced performance: Having too many replicas can lead to increased resource usage, which can negatively impact the performance of the cluster.
  2. Increased storage costs: More replicas mean more storage space is required, leading to higher costs.
  3. Lower indexing throughput: The presence of additional replicas can slow down indexing operations, as more resources are consumed in maintaining the replicas.
  4. Cluster instability: Excessive replicas can cause instability in the cluster, leading to potential data loss or unavailability.

How to resolve

To resolve this issue, follow these steps:

1. Analyze the current replica configuration: Use the following command to check the current number of replicas for each index:

GET /_cat/indices?v&h=index,pri,rep

2. Reduce replicas to 1: As mentioned earlier, reducing the number of replicas can potentially impact performance, leading to an increase in search latency since fewer nodes are available to participate in the search operation. However, this tradeoff between cost and performance should be considered. To update the number of replicas for an index, use the following command:

PUT /<index_name>/_settings
  "index" : {
    "number_of_replicas" : 1

Replace `<index_name>` with the name of the index for which you want to reduce the number of replicas.

3. Monitor the cluster: After reducing the number of replicas, monitor the cluster’s performance and stability to ensure that the changes have had the desired effect. Use Elasticsearch monitoring tools like Kibana or third-party solutions to keep an eye on the cluster’s health.


Reducing the number of replicas on Elasticsearch content nodes can improve performance, save on storage costs, enhance indexing throughput, and ensure cluster stability. By following this guide, you can optimize your Elasticsearch cluster and make better use of resources.

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