Managing Your Licenseedit

When you initially install Marvel, a 30 day trial license is installed that allows access to all features. At the end of the trial period, you can purchase a subscription to keep using the full functionality of Marvel along with Shield and Watcher. To continue using Marvel’s key monitoring features for free, you can register for a Basic license.

When your license expires, access to monitoring data through the Marvel app is blocked. Data will continue to be collected by the Marvel agent on each node for a grace period of 7 days. After 7 days, data collection will cease unless you update your license.

Updating Your Licenseedit

You can update your license at runtime without shutting down your nodes. License updates take effect immediately. The license is provided as a JSON file that you install with the license API. If Shield is enabled, you need cluster admin privileges to install the license.

The endpoint for the license API changed to _license in Elasticsearch 2.0. If you are still running Elasticsearch 1.x, use the _licenses endpoint to update your license. For more information about managing licenses on 1.x, see the Shield 1.3 Reference.

To update your license:

  1. Send a request to the license API and specify the file that contains your new license:

    curl -XPUT -u admin 'http://<host>:<port>/_license' -d @license.json


    • <host> is the hostname of the Elasticsearch node (localhost if executing locally)
    • <port> is the http port (defaults to 9200)
    • license.json is the license JSON file

    If Shield is enabled, you need cluster admin privileges to install the license.

  2. If the license you are installing does not support all of the features available with your previous license, you will be notified in the response. To complete the license installation, you must resubmit the license update request and set the acknowledge parameter to true to indicate that you are aware of the changes.

    curl -XPUT -u admin 'http://<host>:<port>/_license?acknowledge=true' -d @license.json

Viewing the Installed Licenseedit

You can also use the license API to retrieve the currently installed license:

curl -XGET -u admin:password 'http://<host>:<port>/_license'
  "license" : {
    "status" : "active",
    "uid" : "0a98411f-73f4-4c67-954c-724874ed5488",
    "type" : "trial",
    "issue_date" : "2015-10-13T18:18:20.709Z",
    "issue_date_in_millis" : 1444760300709,
    "expiry_date" : "2015-11-12T18:18:20.709Z",
    "expiry_date_in_millis" : 1447352300709,
    "max_nodes" : 1000,
    "issued_to" : "elasticsearch",
    "issuer" : "elasticsearch"

If Shield is enabled, you need cluster admin privileges to retrieve the license.

License Expirationedit

License expiration should never be a surprise. Marvel prominently displays a license expiration warning if your license expires within 30 days. Warnings are also displayed on startup and written to the Elasticsearch log starting 30 days from the expiration date. These error messages tell you when the license expires and what features will be disabled if you fail to update it:

# License will expire on [Thursday, November 12, 2015]. If you have a new license, please update it.
# Otherwise, please reach out to your support contact.
# Commercial plugins operate with reduced functionality on license expiration:
# - marvel
#  - The agent will stop collecting cluster and indices metrics
# - shield
#  - Cluster health, cluster stats and indices stats operations are blocked
#  - All data operations (read and write) continue to work

Once the license expires, you will not be able to monitor your cluster with Marvel. Calls to the cluster health, cluster stats, and index stats APIs fail with a ElasticsearchSecurityException and return a 401 HTTP status code:

  "error": {
    "root_cause": [{
      "type": "security_exception",
      "reason": "current license is non-compliant for [shield]",
      "license.expired.feature": "shield"
    "type": "security_exception",
    "reason": "current license is non-compliant for [shield]",
    "license.expired.feature": "shield"
  "status": 401

You should update your license as soon as possible. You’re essentially flying blind when running with an expired license. Access to the cluster health and stats APIs is critical for monitoring and managing an Elasticsearch cluster.