Elasticsearch Optimizing Elasticsearch Dockerfile for Production Environments

By Opster Team

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

| 2 min read


When deploying Elasticsearch in a containerized environment, it’s crucial to optimize the Dockerfile to ensure efficient operation. This article will delve into the advanced aspects of creating an optimized Elasticsearch Dockerfile for production environments.

Understanding the Elasticsearch Dockerfile

The Elasticsearch Dockerfile is a text document that contains all the commands a user could call on the command line to assemble an image. It’s the first step in deploying Elasticsearch in a Docker container. The Dockerfile for Elasticsearch is available on the Elastic.co’s Docker registry.

 Key Components of an Elasticsearch Dockerfile

The Elasticsearch Dockerfile contains several key components that are crucial for the operation of Elasticsearch. These include:

  • The base image: This is the image that the Dockerfile builds upon. For Elasticsearch, the base image is usually a minimal version of a Linux distribution, such as CentOS or Alpine.
  • Environment variables: These are used to configure Elasticsearch. They include variables such as `ES_JAVA_OPTS` for setting Java options and `discovery.type` for setting the discovery type.
  • The Elasticsearch configuration file (`elasticsearch.yml`): This file is copied into the Docker image and is used to configure Elasticsearch.
  • The Elasticsearch data directory: This is where Elasticsearch stores its data. In the Dockerfile, this directory is usually set as a volume to allow data persistence.

 Optimizing the Elasticsearch Dockerfile

There are several ways to optimize the Elasticsearch Dockerfile for production environments:

  1. Use a minimal base image: Using a minimal base image reduces the size of the Docker image, which in turn reduces the startup time of the container. This can be crucial in a production environment where quick scaling is often required.
  1. Configure Java options: Java options can be configured using the `ES_JAVA_OPTS` environment variable. This allows you to set options such as the heap size, which can significantly impact the performance of Elasticsearch.
  1. Use Docker build cache: Docker build cache can significantly speed up the build process of the Docker image. By organizing the Dockerfile correctly, you can take advantage of the Docker build cache.
  1. Set the discovery type: In a production environment, it’s recommended to set the discovery type to `single-node` for single node clusters or `multi-node` for multi nodes clusters. This can be done using the `discovery.type` environment variable.
  1. Configure Elasticsearch**: The `elasticsearch.yml` file should be optimized for a production environment. This includes settings such as disabling dynamic scripting and enabling slow log.

Here’s an example of an optimized Dockerfile:

FROM docker.elastic.co/elasticsearch/elasticsearch:8.8.2
ENV discovery.type=single-node
ENV ES_JAVA_OPTS="-Xms512m -Xmx512m"
COPY elasticsearch.yml /usr/share/elasticsearch/config/
VOLUME /usr/share/elasticsearch/data


Optimizing the Elasticsearch Dockerfile is a crucial step in deploying Elasticsearch in a production environment. By using a minimal base image, configuring Java options, using Docker build cache, setting the discovery type, and optimizing the Elasticsearch configuration, you can ensure that your Elasticsearch deployment is efficient and ready for production.

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