Elasticsearch Elasticsearch Releases

By Opster Team

Updated: May 22, 2023

| 2 min read

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Elasticsearch Releases: Understanding Versioning, Compatibility, and Upgrade Strategies

Elasticsearch is a widely used search and analytics engine that is constantly evolving, with new features, enhancements, and bug fixes being introduced in each release. In this article, we will discuss the versioning system, compatibility considerations, and upgrade strategies for Elasticsearch releases.

Versioning System

Elasticsearch follows a semantic versioning system, which consists of three numbers separated by periods (e.g., X.Y.Z). Each number represents a specific level of change:

  1. Major (X): Indicates significant changes, such as new features, breaking changes, and major enhancements. Upgrading to a new major version may require changes to your existing setup and configurations.
  2. Minor (Y): Introduces new features and improvements, while maintaining backward compatibility with the previous minor versions within the same major version. Upgrading to a new minor version should not require any changes to your existing setup.
  3. Patch (Z): Contains bug fixes and security updates, without introducing new features or breaking changes. Upgrading to a new patch version should be seamless and not require any changes to your existing setup.

Compatibility Considerations

When working with Elasticsearch, it is essential to ensure compatibility between different components, such as clients, plugins, and Elasticsearch itself. Here are some key compatibility aspects to consider:

  1. Client Compatibility: Elasticsearch clients should be compatible with the Elasticsearch version you are using. Generally, clients maintain compatibility with the same major version and support a range of minor versions. Check the client’s documentation for specific compatibility information.
  2. Plugin Compatibility: Plugins should be compatible with the Elasticsearch version you are using. Some plugins may only work with specific Elasticsearch versions, so always verify compatibility before installing or upgrading plugins.
  3. Index Compatibility: Elasticsearch maintains index compatibility within the same major version. When upgrading to a new major version, you may need to reindex your data or use the Elasticsearch Reindex API to ensure compatibility.

Upgrade Strategies

When planning an Elasticsearch upgrade, it is crucial to choose the right strategy based on your current version, target version, and specific requirements. Here are some general guidelines for upgrading Elasticsearch:

  1. Patch Upgrades: Since patch releases contain bug fixes and security updates without breaking changes, it is recommended to upgrade to the latest patch version within your current minor version as soon as possible.
  2. Minor Upgrades: Upgrading to a new minor version should be straightforward, as minor releases maintain backward compatibility. However, it is still essential to test the upgrade in a non-production environment before applying it to your production cluster.
  3. Major Upgrades: Upgrading to a new major version requires careful planning and testing, as it may involve breaking changes. Follow these steps for a successful major version upgrade:
    • Review the Elasticsearch release notes and breaking changes documentation for the target major version.
    • Test the upgrade in a non-production environment, ensuring that your applications, clients, and plugins are compatible with the new version.
    • Use the Elasticsearch Migration API to identify and resolve any potential issues before upgrading.
    • Perform a rolling upgrade or a full cluster restart, depending on your specific requirements and Elasticsearch version.


In conclusion, understanding Elasticsearch releases, versioning, compatibility, and upgrade strategies is crucial for maintaining a stable and secure environment. Always follow best practices and test any upgrades in a non-production environment before applying them to your production cluster.