How _refresh work in ES in practice

Learning By doing

Many Processes in elasticsearch are automated and help a new developer to start the journey faster and easily. But later instead of digging deeper, we rely on default setting, this restricts us from exploring and getting a deeper understanding and also limits our visualisation on the flow of working , it also make us poor in troubleshooting.

Create a index with 2 shard and set refresh_interval to 1 minute. We are setting the environment with this setting

PUT my-index
  "settings": {
    "index": {
      "number_of_shards": "2",
      "refresh_interval": "1m"

Execute to see no documents exists

GET my-index/_search

run _stats

GET my-index/_stats/refresh,flush

Before moving ahead its important to understand the structure of stats output, Look at primaries.refresh.totalvalue and, these values are of use to us.

Now lets insert a document

POST my-index/_doc/1
  "description": "inspecting index stats"

and lets query for a document GET my-index/_search you will not find any document, the documents are only visible after refresh operation takes place. (default refresh interval is 30s, we have to set it to 1 min for experiment purpose).

lets refresh the index manually, using below command

POST my-index/_refresh

now check the refresh count using GET my-index/_stats/refresh,flush and document using GET my-index/_search .

Lets Repeat same for deletion of document.

  1. DELETE my-index/_doc/1
  2. Check the refresh count using GET my-index/_stats/refresh,flush
  3. Perform manual refresh for operation to reflect POST my-index/_refresh
  4. After refresh , go to step 2.

What we saw in this article was,

  • changes are reflected after _refresh takes place.
  • How to check total number of refresh operation using _stats API.

These same steps can be performed for _flush and _forcemerge