Reading indices from older Elasticsearch versions


Reading indices from older Elasticsearch versionsedit

Elasticsearch has full query and write support for indices created in the previous major version. If you have indices created in Elasticsearch versions 5 or 6, you can now use the archive functionality to import them into newer Elasticsearch versions as well.

The archive functionality provides slower read-only access to older Elasticsearch data, for compliance or regulatory reasons, the occasional lookback or investigation, or to rehydrate parts of it. Access to the data is expected to be infrequent, and can therefore happen with limited performance and query capabilities.

For this, Elasticsearch has the ability to access older snapshot repositories (going back to version 5). The legacy indices in the snapshot repository can either be restored, or can be directly accessed via searchable snapshots so that the archived data won’t even need to fully reside on local disks for access.

Supported field typesedit

Old mappings are imported as much "as-is" as possible into Elasticsearch 8, but only provide regular query capabilities on a select subset of fields:

  • Numeric types
  • boolean type
  • ip type
  • geo_point type
  • date types: the date format setting on date fields is supported as long as it behaves similarly across these versions. In case it is not, for example when using custom date formats, this field can be updated on legacy indices so that it can be changed by a user if need be.
  • keyword type: the normalizer setting on keyword fields is supported as long as it behaves similarly across these versions. In case it is not, this field can be updated on legacy indices if need be.
  • text type: scoring capabilities are limited, and all queries return constant scores that are equal to 1.0. The analyzer settings on text fields are supported as long as they behave similarly across these versions. In case they do not, they can be updated on legacy indices if need be.
  • Multi-fields
  • Field aliases
  • object fields
  • some basic metadata fields, e.g. _type for querying Elasticsearch 5 indices
  • runtime fields
  • _source field

Elasticsearch 5 indices with mappings that have multiple mapping types are collapsed together on a best-effort basis before they are imported.

In case the auto-import of mappings does not work, or the new Elasticsearch version can’t make sense of the mapping, it falls back to importing the index without the mapping, but stores the original mapping in the _meta section of the imported index. The legacy mapping can then be introspected using the GET mapping API and an updated mapping can be manually put in place using the update mapping API, copying and adapting relevant sections of the legacy mapping to work with the current Elasticsearch version. While auto-import is expected to work in most cases, failures of doing so should be raised with the Elastic team for future improvements.

Supported APIsedit

Archive indices are read-only, and provide data access via the search and field capabilities APIs. They do not support the Get API nor any write APIs.

Archive indices allow running queries as well as aggregations in so far as they are supported by the given field type.

Due to _source access the data can also be reindexed to a new index that has full compatibility with the current Elasticsearch version.

How to upgrade older Elasticsearch 5 or 6 clusters?edit

Take a snapshot of the indices in the old cluster, delete indices that are not directly supported by ES 8 (i.e. indices older than 7.0), upgrade the cluster without the old indices, and then restore the legacy indices from the snapshot or mount them via searchable snapshots.

In the future, we plan on streamlining the upgrade process going forward, making it easier to take legacy indices along when going to future major Elasticsearch versions.