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Changing the size of EBS volumes attached to MarkLogic AWS EC2 instances
04 January 2017 08:30 PM


If you have an existing MarkLogic Server instance running on EC2, there may be circumstances where you need to change the size of available storage.

This article discusses approaches to ensure a safe increase in the amount of available storage for your EC2 instances without compromising MarkLogic data integrity.

This article assumes that you have started your cluster using the CloudFormation templates provided by MarkLogic.

The recommended method (I.) is to shut down the cluster, do the resize using snapshots and start again. If you wish to avoid downtime an alternative procedure (II.) using multiple volumes and rebalancing is described below.

In both procedures we are recommending a single, large EBS volume as opposed to multiple smaller ones because:

1. Larger EBS volumes have faster IO as described by the Amazon EBS Volume types at

2. You have to keep enough spare capacity on every single volume to allow for merges.  MarkLogic disk space requirements are described in our Installation Guide.

I. Resizing using AWS snapshots

This is the recommended method. This procedure follows the same steps as official Amazon AWS documentation, but highlights MarkLogic specific steps. Please review AWS Documentation in detail before proceeding:

1. Make sure that you have an up to date backup of your data and a working restore plan.

2. Stop the MarkLogic cluster by going to AWS Console -> CloudFormation -> Actions -> Update Stack


Click through the pages and leave all other settings intact, but change Nodes to and review and confirm updating the stack. This will stop the cluster.

This is also covered in Marklogic EC2 documentation:

4. Create a snapshot of the volume to resize.

5. Create a new volume from the snapshot.

Ensure that the new volume is sufficiently large to cover MarkLogic disk space requirements (generally at least 1.5x of the planned total forest size).

6. Detach the old volume.

7. Attach the newly expanded volume.

Steps 4-7 are exactly as covered in AWS documentation and have no Marklogic specific parts.

8. Restart MarkLogic cluster, by going to AWS Console -> CloudFormation -> Actions -> Update Stack and changing Nodes to the original setting.

9. Connect to the machine using SSH and resize the logical partition to match the new size. This is covered in AWS documentation, the commands are:

- resize2fs for ext3 and 4

xfs_growfs for xfs

10. The new volume will have a different id. You need to update the CloudFormation template so that the data volumes are retained and remounted when the cluster or nodes are restarted. The easiest way is to use mlcmd shell script provided by Marklogic. Also using SSH, run the following:

/opt/MarkLogic/bin/mlcmd sync-volumes-to-mdb

This will synchronise the EBS volume id with the CloudFormation template.

At this point the procedure is complete and you can delete the old EBS volume and once you have verified that everything is working fine, also delete the snapshot created in step 4.

II. Resizing with no downtime, using MarkLogic Rebalancing

This method avoids cluster downtime but it is slightly more complicated than procedure 1 and rebalancing will take additional time and add load to the cluster during rebalancing. In most cases procedure 1 takes far less time to complete, however, the cluster is down for the duration. With this procedure the cluster can serve requests at all times.

This procedure follows the same steps as official Amazon AWS documentation where possible, but highlights MarkLogic specific steps. Please review AWS Documentation in detail before proceeding:

The procedure is described in more detail in the MarkLogic Server on Amazon EC2 Guide at

1. Create a new volume.

Ensure that the new volume is sufficiently large to cover MarkLogic disk space requirements (generally at least 1.5x of the planned total forest size).

2. Attach the volume to the EC2 instance. Please take a note of the EC2 device mount point, for example /dev/sdg and see here where it maps to in Linux and in RedHat:

3. SSH into the instance and execute the /opt/MarkLogic/bin/mlcmd init-volumes-from-system command to create a filesystem for the volume and update the Metadata Database with the new volume configuration. The init-volumes-from-system command will output a detailed report of what it is doing. Note the mount directory of the volume from this report.

4. Once the volume is attached and mounted to the instance, log into the Administrator Interface on that host and create a forest or forests, specifying host name of the instance and the mount directory of the volume as the forest Data Directory. For details on how to create a forest, see Creating a Forest in the Administrator's Guide.

5. Once the status of the new forest is set to "open", attach the new forest(s) to the database and retire all the forest(s) on the old volume. If you only have 1 data volume then this includes forests for Schemas, Security, Triggers, Modules etc. It is possible to script this part using XQuery, JS or REST:

This will trigger rebalancing - database fragments will start to move to the new forests. This process will take several hours or days, depending on the size of data and the Admin UI will show you an estimate.

The Admin UI for this is covered here:

and here is more information on rebalancing:

6. Once the old forest(s) have 0 fragments in them you can detach them and delete the old forest(s). The migration to a new volume is complete.

7. Optional removing of the old volume. If your original volume was data only, the original volume should be empty after this procedure and you can:

a) unmount the volume in Linux

b) delete the volume in AWS EC2 console

c) issue /opt/MarkLogic/bin/mlcmd sync-volumes-to-mdb. This will preserve the new volume mappings in the Cloud Formation template and the volumes will be preserved and remounted when nodes are restarted or even terminated.

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