How to install Elasticsearch and manage with docker

Elasticsearch is a distributed search and analytics engine built on Apache Lucene. It provides a distributed, multitenant-capable full-text search engine with an HTTP web interface and schema-free JSON documents. Elasticsearch has quickly become the most popular search engine and is commonly used for log analytics, full-text search, security intelligence, business analytics, and operational intelligence use cases.

In this guide, we will learn how to install Elasticsearch using docker.

# Table of Content

  1. Ensure docker is installed
  2. Using docker run command to launch Elasticsearch
  3. Using docker-compose to run Elasticsearch
  4. Using Systemd to run Elasticsearch docker

# 1. Ensure that docker is installed

Before proceeding, ensure docker is installed locally. Please check out these guides if you do not have docker installed:

# 2. Using docker run command to launch Elasticsearch

We are going to use the¬†docker run¬†command to achieve our goal. The version of Elasticsearch that we want is¬†<meta charset="utf-8">elasticsearch/elasticsearch:7.16.3¬†‚Äď the latest version of Elasticsearch image as of the writting of this guide.

First create a volume. A local docker volume can be used to mount container data so it persist container recreations.

docker volume create elast_data

Then run the container with this command:

$ docker run -d \
     -p 9200:9200 -p 9300:9300 \
     -e "discovery.type=single-node" \
     -v elast_data:/usr/share/elasticsearch/data \
Unable to find image '' locally
7.16.3: Pulling from elasticsearch/elasticsearch
c661c71060f1: Pull complete
d990ef6f2b05: Pull complete
82a269b58846: Pull complete
b55a8747471f: Pull complete
fc908a7aa21e: Pull complete
71c4eb4161c5: Pull complete
746cbfc9ba83: Pull complete
a82834885d6f: Pull complete
a19c3acab779: Pull complete
Digest: sha256:0efc3a054ae97ad00cccc33b9ef79ec022970b2a9949893db4ef199edcdca2ce
Status: Downloaded newer image for

In the above command:

  • The¬†-d¬†instructs docker container to run as a detached process. It run container in background and print container ID
  • -p¬†is for port mapping. We are instructing the container to expose the container port externally. Container port¬†9200 and 9300¬†is mapped to host port¬†9200 and 9300. That means the service can be accessed through¬†localhost:9200
  • The -e "discovery.type=single-node" defines an enviroment variable
  • The¬†;defines the image that we are running. We are running elasticsearch image version 7.16.3 .

To check that our container is running as expected, use the docker ps command:

$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID   IMAGE                                                  COMMAND                  CREATED         STATUS         PORTS                                                                 NAMES
f56f14827473   "/bin/tini -- /usr/l…"   3 seconds ago   Up 3 seconds>9200/tcp, :::9200->9200/tcp,>9300/tcp   my-elast

In my case the container is running as my-elast the name we gave it. We can login to the container using the docker exec command while executing /bin/bash interactively. Here we are also logging in to posgtres with the credentials we specified above and checking the version.

$ docker exec -it my-elast /bin/sh
sh-5.0# curl -X GET "localhost:9200/"
  "name" : "f56f14827473",
  "cluster_name" : "docker-cluster",
  "cluster_uuid" : "EOSx1cc_SNSO3NxbyVZD-A",
  "version" : {
    "number" : "7.16.3",
    "build_flavor" : "default",
    "build_type" : "docker",
    "build_hash" : "4e6e4eab2297e949ec994e688dad46290d018022",
    "build_date" : "2022-01-06T23:43:02.825887787Z",
    "build_snapshot" : false,
    "lucene_version" : "8.10.1",
    "minimum_wire_compatibility_version" : "6.8.0",
    "minimum_index_compatibility_version" : "6.0.0-beta1"
  "tagline" : "You Know, for Search"

If you need to clean up the container when not in use, you can stop and remove the container using this command:

docker stop my-elast

# Removing
docker rm my-elast

# 3. Using docker-compose to run Elasticsearch

We can achieve the same functionality with docker-compose. Docker Compose is a tool for defining and running multi-container Docker applications. With Compose, you use a YAML file to configure your application’s services.

Docker Compose allows you to define the service (Redis in our case) with properties like the image to use, command to overide the default Dockerfile command and andports to expose.

Here is how we would use docker-compose to achieve the functionality above. Save this as docker-compose.yaml:

version: '3.9'

      - 9200:9200
      - 9300:9300
      - elast_data:/usr/share/elasticsearch/data
      - "discovery.type=single-node"


Now bring up the containers:

$ docker-compose up -d
Creating network "elast_default" with the default driver
Creating volume "elast_elast_data" with default driver
Creating elast_my-elast_1 ... done

The commands:

  • up¬†brings up the container
  • -d¬†in a detached mode

Verify the container processes using the ps command:

$ docker-compose ps
      Name                    Command               State                               Ports
elast_my-elast_1   /bin/tini -- /usr/local/bi ...   Up>9200/tcp,:::9200->9200/tcp,

To login to the container and login to redis, use this:

$ docker-compose exec my-elast /bin/sh
sh-5.0# curl -X GET "localhost:9200/"
  "name" : "876b169c35d6",
  "cluster_name" : "docker-cluster",
  "cluster_uuid" : "UmBfLoVARnKvLc79Nk5Yhg",
  "version" : {
    "number" : "7.16.3",
    "build_flavor" : "default",
    "build_type" : "docker",
    "build_hash" : "4e6e4eab2297e949ec994e688dad46290d018022",
    "build_date" : "2022-01-06T23:43:02.825887787Z",
    "build_snapshot" : false,
    "lucene_version" : "8.10.1",
    "minimum_wire_compatibility_version" : "6.8.0",
    "minimum_index_compatibility_version" : "6.0.0-beta1"
  "tagline" : "You Know, for Search"

# 3. Using Systemd to run Elasticsearch docker

We can manage our Elasticsearch docker container through systemd. Let us create a systemd resource file for handling the elasticsearch container we just created above.

Create a elasticsearch docker file:

sudo vim /etc/systemd/system/elasticsearch-docker.service

Add this content

Description=Custom Elasticsearch Docker Container

ExecStartPre=-/usr/bin/docker rm -f myelast

ExecStart=/usr/bin/docker run \
    --name myelast \
    -p 9200:9200 -p 9300:9300 \
    -e "discovery.type=single-node" \
    -v elast_data:/usr/share/elasticsearch/data \

ExecReload=-/usr/bin/docker stop myelast
ExecReload=-/usr/bin/docker rm myelast
ExecStop=-/usr/bin/docker stop myelast


Then we can reload the systemd catalog and start the service:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl start <meta charset="utf-8">elasticsearch-docker

Confirm the service status

$ sudo systemctl status elasticsearch-docker
● elasticsearch-docker.service - Custom Elasticsearch Docker Container
   Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/elasticsearch-docker.service; static; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Tue 2022-01-25 16:05:54 UTC; 24s ago
  Process: 43524 ExecStartPre=/usr/bin/docker rm -f myelast (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Main PID: 43531 (docker)
    Tasks: 7 (limit: 23176)
   Memory: 18.8M
   CGroup: /system.slice/elasticsearch-docker.service
           └─43531 /usr/bin/docker run --name myelast -p 9200:9200 -p 9300:9300 -e discovery.type=single-node -v elast_data:/usr/share/elasticsearch/data>

Jan 25 16:06:17 docker[43531]: {"type": "server", "timestamp": "2022-01-25T16:06:17,311Z", "level": "INFO", "component": "o.e.i.g.GeoIpDownloader", "cluster.n

We just set up a custom systemd service based on a container managed through docker!

# Conclusion

In this guide we managed to run Elasticsearch as a container in our system, we explored using the docker run command while passing the required arguments an alternative approach of simplifying the process with docker-compose

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