Link Search Menu Expand Document

Open Distro for Elasticsearch development has moved to OpenSearch. The ODFE plugins will continue to work with legacy versions of Elasticsearch OSS, but we recommend upgrading to OpenSearch to take advantage of the latest features and improvements.

Index State Management


If you analyze time-series data, you likely prioritize new data over old data. You might periodically perform certain operations on older indices, such as reducing replica count or deleting them.

Index State Management (ISM) is a plugin that lets you automate these periodic, administrative operations by triggering them based on changes in the index age, index size, or number of documents. Using the ISM plugin, you can define policies that automatically handle index rollovers or deletions to fit your use case.

For example, you can define a policy that moves your index into a read_only state after 30 days and then deletes it after a set period of 90 days. You can also set up the policy to send you a notification message when the index is deleted.

You might want to perform an index rollover after a certain amount of time or run a force_merge operation on an index during off-peak hours to improve search performance during peak hours.

To use the ISM plugin, your user role needs to be mapped to the all_access role that gives you full access to the cluster. To learn more, see Users and roles.

Get started with ISM

To get started, choose Index Management in Kibana.

Step 1: Set up policies

A policy is a set of rules that describes how an index should be managed. For information about creating a policy, see Policies.

  1. Choose the Index Policies tab.
  2. Choose Create policy.
  3. In the Name policy section, enter a policy ID.
  4. In the Define policy section, enter your policy.
  5. Choose Create.

After you create a policy, your next step is to attach this policy to an index or indices. You can set up an ism_template in the policy so when you create an index that matches the ISM template pattern, the index will have this policy attached to it:

PUT _opendistro/_ism/policies/policy_id
  "policy": {
    "description": "Example policy.",
    "default_state": "...",
    "states": [...],
    "ism_template": {
      "index_patterns": ["index_name-*"],
      "priority": 100

For an example ISM template policy, see Sample policy with ISM template.

For ODFE versions prior to 1.13.0, include the policy_id in an index template so when an index is created that matches the index template pattern, the index will have the policy attached to it:

PUT _index_template/<template_name>
  "index_patterns": [
  "template": {
    "settings": {
      "opendistro.index_state_management.policy_id": "policy_id"

The opendistro.index_state_management.policy_id setting is deprecated starting from version 1.13.0. You can continue to automatically manage newly created indices with the ISM template field.

Step 2: Attach policies to indices

  1. Choose Indices.
  2. Choose the index or indices that you want to attach your policy to.
  3. Choose Apply policy.
  4. From the Policy ID menu, choose the policy that you created. You can see a preview of your policy.
  5. If your policy includes a rollover operation, specify a rollover alias. Make sure that the alias that you enter already exists. For more information about the rollover operation, see rollover.
  6. Choose Apply.

After you attach a policy to an index, ISM creates a job that runs every 5 minutes by default to perform policy actions, check conditions, and transition the index into different states. To change the default time interval for this job, see Settings.

If you want to use an Elasticsearch operation to create an index with a policy already attached to it, see create index.

Step 3: Manage indices

  1. Choose Managed Indices.
  2. To change your policy, see Change Policy.
  3. To attach a rollover alias to your index, select your policy and choose Add rollover alias. Make sure that the alias that you enter already exists. For more information about the rollover operation, see rollover.
  4. To remove a policy, choose your policy, and then choose Remove policy.
  5. To retry a policy, choose your policy, and then choose Retry policy.

For information about managing your policies, see Managed Indices.