Elasticsearch Snapshot APIs

Cheatsheet for snapshot and restore APIs.


When managing Elasticsearch clusters in production, you will probably need to backup and restore a cluster or specific indices since this is an efficient way to avoid data loss. This can be done using the feature “Snapshot And Restore” in Elasticsearch. However, it’s not easy to remember all the commands you need, such as creating a new snapshot, listing existing snapshots, monitoring the snapshot restore progress, canceling an ongoing snapshot, etc. During my work at Datadog, I had the chance to work with the “Snapshot And Restore” feature in AWS, GCP, and Azure. Therefore, I would like to share with you the commands I used as a cheatsheet.


Before getting started, you may ask: there are so many APIs, how can I remember them?! Well, it’s not that complicated. All the APIs follow the hierarchy: snapshot plugin > snapshot repository > snapshots (or snapshot expression) > snapshot specific endpoint. And for restore operations, they are standard recovery operations, so you can from them from cat recovery or indexing recovery API. Based on the rules above, we can summarize them as the following list of APIs:

<METHOD> /_snapshot/<?repo>/<?snapshot>/<?_action>
GET     /_snapshot
GET     /_snapshot/_status

GET     /_snapshot/<repo>
PUT     /_snapshot/<repo>
DELETE  /_snapshot/<repo>
GET     /_snapshot/<repo>/_status
POST    /_snapshot/<repo>/_cleanup
POST    /_snapshot/<repo>/_verify
GET     /_snapshot/<repo>/_current

GET     /_snapshot/<repo>/<snapshot>
PUT     /_snapshot/<repo>/<snapshot>
POST    /_snapshot/<repo>/<snapshot>
DELETE  /_snapshot/<repo>/<snapshot>
GET     /_snapshot/<repo>/<snapshot>/_status
GET     /_snapshot/<repo>/<snapshot>/_restore

GET     /_cat/snapshots/{repo}
GET     /_cat/recovery

GET     /<index>/_recovery

  - "snap_1"        -- snapshot 1
  - "snap_1,snap_2" -- snapshot 1 and 2, separated by comma ','
  - "snap_*"        -- all snapshots starting with "snap_"
  - "_all"          -- all snapshots

Now, let’s go through them one by one.

Snapshot APIs

Create Snapshot

[documentation] Create a snapshot for the entire cluster or the target data streams and indices.

PUT  /_snapshot/<repository>/<snapshot>
POST /_snapshot/<repository>/<snapshot>
PUT /_snapshot/my_repo/snapshot_2?wait_for_completion=true

  "indices": "index_a,index_b",
  "ignore_unavailable": true,
  "include_global_state": false,
  "metadata": {
    "taken_by": "user123",
    "taken_because": "backup before upgrading"

Clone Snapshot

[documentation] Clones part or all of a snapshot into a new snapshot within the same repository.

PUT /_snapshot/<repository>/<source_snapshot>/_clone/<target_snapshot>
PUT /_snapshot/my_repo/old_snapshot/_clone/new_partial_snapshot

  "indices": "index_a,index_b"

Get Snapshot Info

[documentation] Get information about one or more snapshots.

GET /_snapshot/<repository>/<snapshot>

Get Snapshot Status

[documentation] Get Snapshot Status API returns additional information beyond the Get Snapshot Info API, such as shard status and file statistics:

GET /_snapshot/<repository>/<snapshot>/_status

Restore Snapshot

[documentation] Restore Snapshot API allows you to restore all indices (complete restore) of a given snapshot or only restore a subset of them (partial restore):

POST /_snapshot/<repository>/<snapshot>/_restore

Delete Snapshot

[documentation] Delete a snapshot.

DELETE /_snapshot/<repository>/<snapshot>

Snapshot Repository APIs

List Repositories

[Documentation] List all the snapshot repositories.

GET /_snapshot/
GET /_snapshot/_all

Get Repository

[Documentation] Get information about one or more registered snapshot repositories.

GET /_snapshot/<repository>

Create/Update Repository

[Documentation] Registers or updates a snapshot repository.

PUT /_snapshot/<repository>
PUT /_snapshot/my_repository
  "type": "fs",
  "settings": {
    "location": "my_backup_location"

Verify Repository

[documentation] Verifies that a snapshot repository is functional.

POST /_snapshot/<repository>/_verify

Delete Repository

[documentation] Unregisters one or more snapshot repositories.

NOTE: When a repository is unregistered, Elasticsearch only removes the reference to the location where the repository is storing the snapshots. The snapshots themselves are left untouched and in place. To delete the actual snapshots, you should use the “Delete Snapshot API”. This API handles the snapshot repository.

DELETE /_snapshot/<repository>

Clean up Repository

[documentation] Triggers the review of a snapshot repository’s contents and deletes any stale data that is not referenced by existing snapshots.

POST /_snapshot/<repository>/_cleanup

Monitoring APIs

Description extracted from official documentation Monitor snapshot and restore progress | Elasticsearch.

Snapshot In Progress

Use the _current parameter to get all currently running snapshots in the cluster:

GET /_snapshot/<repository>/_current

or a single one:

GET /_snapshot/<repository>/snapshot_1

Retrieve all currently running snapshots with detailed status info:

GET /_snapshot/_status

… limit the results to a target repository:

GET /_snapshot/<repository>/_status

… limit the result to the given snapshot (even if it’s not currently running):

GET /_snapshot/<repository>/<snapshot>/_status

Restore In Progress

The restore process is a standard recovery mechanism of Elasticsearch. So you can use the cat recovery API to monitor the snapshot restore as other recoveries. Perhaps you want to grep snapshot to filter snapshots.

GET /_cat/recovery

or using the index recovery API to have a JSON result with more detailed information:

GET /<index>/_recovery

Cancel Snapshot Creation

You can do that using the delete snapshot API.

DELETE /_snapshot/<repo>/<snapshot>

Cancel Snapshot Restore

You can do that by deleting data streams and indices that are being restored. Be careful! The data for all deleted data streams and indices will be removed from the cluster.

Going Further

How to go further from here?


In this article, we saw how to remember different APIs efficiently by using the resource hierarchy (_snapshot/<repo>/<snapshot>/<action>) and the relationship between restore and recovery; we saw the list of APIs for snapshot operations and snapshot repository operations; we also saw how to monitor the snapshot or restore progress and cancel them; finally, I shared some resources to let you go further from this article. Interested to know more? You can subscribe to the feed of my blog, follow me on Twitter or GitHub. Hope you enjoy this article, see you the next time!