Index Templatesedit

Elasticsearch doesn’t require you to create an index before using it. With logging, it is often more convenient to rely on index autocreation than to have to create indices manually.

Logstash uses the timestamp from an event to derive the index name. By default, it indexes into a different index every day, so an event with a @timestamp of 2014-10-01 00:00:01 will be sent to the index logstash-2014.10.01. If that index doesn’t already exist, it will be created for us.

Usually we want some control over the settings and mappings of the new index. Perhaps we want to limit the number of shards to 1, and we want to disable the _all field. Index templates can be used to control which settings should be applied to newly created indices:

PUT /_template/my_logs 
  "template": "logstash-*", 
  "order":    1, 
  "settings": {
    "number_of_shards": 1 
  "mappings": {
    "_default_": { 
      "_all": {
        "enabled": false
  "aliases": {
    "last_3_months": {} 

Create a template called my_logs.

Apply this template to all indices beginning with logstash-.

This template should override the default logstash template that has a lower order.

Limit the number of primary shards to 1.

Disable the _all field for all types.

Add this index to the last_3_months alias.

This template specifies the default settings that will be applied to any index whose name begins with logstash-, whether it is created manually or automatically. If we think the index for tomorrow will need more capacity than today, we can update the index to use a higher number of shards.

The template even adds the newly created index into the last_3_months alias, although removing the old indices from that alias will have to be done manually.