Amazon Elasticsearch Service
Developer Guide (API Version 2015-01-01)

Petabyte Scale for Amazon Elasticsearch Service

Amazon Elasticsearch Service offers domain storage of up to 1.5 PB. You can configure a domain with 100 i3.16xlarge.elasticsearch instance types, each with 15 TB of storage. Because of the sheer difference in scale, recommendations for domains of this size differ from our general recommendations. This section discusses considerations for creating domains, costs, storage, shard size, and dedicated master nodes. Despite frequent references to the i3 instance types, the shard size and dedicated master node recommendations in this section apply to any domain approaching petabyte scale.

Creating domains

Domains of this size exceed the default limit of 20 instances per domain. To request a service limit increase of up to 100 instances per domain, open a case at the AWS Support Center.


Before creating a domain of this size, check the Amazon Elasticsearch Service Pricing page to ensure that the associated costs match your expectations.


The i3 instance types are specifically designed to provide fast, local non-volatile memory express (NVMe) storage. Because this local storage tends to offer considerable performance benefits when compared to Amazon Elastic Block Store, EBS volumes are not an option when you select these instance types in Amazon ES.

Shard size and count

A common Elasticsearch guideline is not to exceed 50 GB per shard. Given the number of shards necessary to accommodate large domains and the resources available to i3.16xlarge.elasticsearch instances, we recommend a shard size of 100 GB.

For example, if you have 450 TB of source data and want one replica, your minimum storage requirement is closer to 450 TB * 2 * 1.1 / 0.95 = 1.04 PB. For an explanation of this calculation, see Calculating Storage Requirements. Although 1.04 PB / 15 TB = 70 instances, you might select 80 or more i3.16xlarge.elasticsearch instances to give yourself a storage safety net and account for some variance in the amount of data over time. Each instance adds another 20 GB to your minimum storage requirement, but for disks of this size, those 20 GB are almost negligible.

Controlling the number of shards is tricky. Elasticsearch users often rotate indices on a daily basis and retain data for a week or two. In this situation, you might find it useful to distinguish between "active" and "inactive" shards. Active shards are, well, actively being written to or read from. Inactive shards might service the occasional read request, but are largely idle. In general, you should keep the number of active shards below a few thousand. As the number of active shards approaches 10,000, considerable performance and stability risks emerge.

To calculate the number of primary shards, use this formula: 450,000 GB * 1.1 / 100 GB per shard = 4,950 shards. Doubling that number to account for replicas is 9,900 shards, which represents a major concern if all shards are active. But if you rotate indices and only 1/7th or 1/14th of the shards are active on any given day (1414 or 707 shards, respectively), the cluster might work well. As always, the most important step of sizing and configuring your domain is to perform representative client testing using a realistic data set.

Dedicated master nodes

We recommend that you allocate three dedicated master nodes to each production Amazon ES domain. Rather than our usual guidelines for dedicated master nodes, however, we recommend more powerful instance types for domains of this size. The following table shows recommended instance types for dedicated master nodes for large domains.

Instance Count

Recommended Minimum Dedicated Master Instance Type