Elasticsearch Elasticsearch Excessive Replicas on Cold Nodes

By Opster Team

Updated: Mar 10, 2024

| 2 min read

What does this mean?

This issue means that there are more replicas than necessary on the cold tier of your Elasticsearch cluster. Cold nodes are used for storing less frequently accessed data, and having too many replicas on these nodes can lead to performance and stability issues. Since cold nodes source their data from snapshots, there’s usually no need to have replicas at all, as there is no risk of data loss.

Why does this occur?

This occurs when the Elasticsearch cluster is not optimally configured, leading to an excessive number of replicas on cold nodes. This can happen due to various reasons, such as improper initial configuration, changes in data access patterns, or cluster growth.

Possible impact and consequences of excessive replicas

The impact of having too many replicas on cold nodes can include:

  1. Reduced performance: Additional replicas consume more resources, which can negatively affect the overall performance of the cluster.
  2. Increased storage costs: More replicas require more storage space, leading to higher costs.
  3. Lower indexing throughput: The presence of additional replicas can slow down indexing operations.
  4. Cluster instability: Excessive resource usage due to too many replicas can lead to instability in the cluster.

How to resolve

To resolve the issue of excessive replicas on cold nodes, follow these steps:

1. Backup your indices: Before making any changes, ensure that you have a backup of your indices to prevent data loss.

2. Analyze your cluster: Determine the optimal number of replicas for your specific use case and cluster configuration. This may require analyzing your data access patterns, cluster size, and resource usage.

3. Reduce replicas to 0: After making sure the indices have been backed up, reduce the number of replicas to 0. Keep in mind that this can potentially impact performance, leading to an increase in search latency since fewer nodes are available to participate in the search operation. Reducing the number of replicas presents a tradeoff between cost and performance. It is worth noting that this tradeoff may not always apply, but it should be considered as a possibility in order to save on storage costs.

To reduce the number of replicas, use the following command:

PUT /_all/_settings
  "index" : {
    "number_of_replicas" : 0

4. Monitor your cluster: After making the changes, monitor your cluster’s performance and stability. If necessary, adjust the number of replicas based on your observations and requirements.


By following this guide, you should be able to resolve the issue of excessive replicas on cold nodes in Elasticsearch. Remember to carefully analyze your cluster and consider the tradeoffs between cost and performance when reducing the number of replicas. Regular monitoring and adjustments will help ensure optimal performance and stability for your Elasticsearch cluster.