Creating an index lifecycle policyedit

An index lifecycle policy enables you to define rules over when to perform certain actions, such as a rollover or force merge, on an index. Index lifecycle management automates execution of those actions at the right time.

When you create an index lifecycle policy, consider the tradeoffs between performance and availability. As you move your index through the lifecycle, you’re likely moving your data to less performant hardware and reducing the number of shards and replicas. It’s important to ensure that the index continues to have enough replicas to prevent data loss in the event of failures.

Index Lifecycle Policies is automatically enabled in Kibana. Go to Management > Elasticsearch > Index Lifecycle Policies.


If you don’t want to use this feature, you can disable it by setting xpack.ilm.enabled to false in your kibana.yml configuration file. If you disable Index Management, then Index Lifecycle Policies is also disabled.

][UI for creating an index lifecycle policy

You can define up to four phases in the index lifecycle. For each phase, you can enable actions to optimize performance for that phase. Transitioning between phases is based on the age of the index.

The four phases of an index lifecycle policy are:

  • Hot. The index is actively being queried and written to. You can optionally roll over to a new index when the original index reaches a specified size or age. When a rollover occurs, a new index is created, added to the index alias, and designated as the new “hot” index. You can still query the previous indices, but you only ever write to the “hot” index. See Rollover index for more information.
  • Warm. The index is typically searched at a lower rate than when the data is hot. The index is not used for storing for new data, but might occasionally add late-arriving data, for example, from a Beat that had a network problem that’s now fixed. You can optionally shrink the number replicas and move the shards to a different set of nodes with smaller or less performant hardware. You can also reduce the number of primary shards and force merge the index into smaller segments.
  • Cold. The index is no longer being updated and is seldom queried, but is still searchable. If you have a big deployment, you can move it to even less performant hardware. You might also reduce the number of replicas because you expect the data to be queried less frequently.
  • Delete. The index is no longer relevant. You can define when it is safe to delete it.

The index lifecycle always includes an active hot phase. The warm, cold, and delete phases are optional. For example, you might define all four phases for one policy and only a hot and delete phase for another. See Actions for more information on the actions available in each phase.