Near Real Time Searching

Near Real Time (NRT) search means that documents are available for search almost immediately after being indexed.

This allows additions and updates to documents to be seen in 'near' real time. Solr does not block updates while a commit is in progress. Nor does it wait for background merges to complete before opening a new search of indexes and returning.

With NRT, you can modify a commit command to be a soft commit, which avoids parts of a standard commit that can be costly. You will still want to do standard commits to ensure that documents are in stable storage, but soft commits let you see a very near real time view of the index in the meantime.

However, pay special attention to cache and autowarm settings as they can have a significant impact on NRT performance.

Commits and Optimizing

A commit operation makes index changes visible to new search requests. A hard commit uses the transaction log to get the id of the latest document changes, and also calls fsync on the index files to ensure they have been flushed to stable storage and no data loss will result from a power failure. The current transaction log is closed and a new one is opened. See the "transaction log" discussion below for data loss issues.

A soft commit is much faster since it only makes index changes visible and does not fsync index files, or write a new index descriptor or start a new transaction log. Search collections that have NRT requirements (that want index changes to be quickly visible to searches) will want to soft commit often but hard commit less frequently. A softCommit may be "less expensive", but it is not free, since it can slow throughput. See the "transaction log" discussion below for data loss issues.

An optimize is like a hard commit except that it forces all of the index segments to be merged into a single segment first. Depending on the use, this operation should be performed infrequently (e.g., nightly), if at all, since it involves reading and re-writing the entire index. Segments are normally merged over time anyway (as determined by the merge policy), and optimize just forces these merges to occur immediately.

Soft commit takes uses two parameters: maxDocs and maxTime.


Integer. Defines the number of documents to queue before pushing them to the index. It works in conjunction with the update_handler_autosoftcommit_max_time parameter in that if either limit is reached, the documents will be pushed to the index.


The number of milliseconds to wait before pushing documents to the index. It works in conjunction with the update_handler_autosoftcommit_max_docs parameter in that if either limit is reached, the documents will be pushed to the index.

Use maxDocs and maxTime judiciously to fine-tune your commit strategies.

Transaction Logs (tlogs)

Transaction logs are a "rolling window" of at least the last N (default 100) documents indexed. Tlogs are configured in solrconfig.xml, including the value of N. The current transaction log is closed and a new one opened each time any variety of hard commit occurs. Soft commits have no effect on the transaction log.

When tlogs are enabled, documents being added to the index are written to the tlog before the indexing call returns to the client. In the event of an un-graceful shutdown (power loss, JVM crash, kill -9 etc) any documents written to the tlog that was open when Solr stopped are replayed on startup.

When Solr is shut down gracefully (i.e. using the bin/solr stop command and the like) Solr will close the tlog file and index segments so no replay will be necessary on startup.


An autocommit also uses the parameters maxDocs and maxTime. However it’s useful in many strategies to use both a hard autocommit and autosoftcommit to achieve more flexible commits.

A common configuration is to do a hard autocommit every 1-10 minutes and a autosoftcommit every second. With this configuration, new documents will show up within about a second of being added, and if the power goes out, soft commits are lost unless a hard commit has been done.

For example:


It’s better to use maxTime rather than maxDocs to modify an autoSoftCommit, especially when indexing a large number of documents through the commit operation. It’s also better to turn off autoSoftCommit for bulk indexing.

Optional Attributes for commit and optimize


Block until a new searcher is opened and registered as the main query searcher, making the changes visible. Default is true.


Open a new searcher making all documents indexed so far visible for searching. Default is true.


Perform a soft commit. This will refresh the view of the index faster, but without guarantees that the document is stably stored. Default is false.


Valid for commit only. This parameter purges deleted data from segments. The default is false.


Valid for optimize only. Optimize down to at most this number of segments. The default is 1.

Example of commit and optimize with optional attributes:

<commit waitSearcher="false"/>
<commit waitSearcher="false" expungeDeletes="true"/>
<optimize waitSearcher="false"/>

Passing commit and commitWithin Parameters as Part of the URL

Update handlers can also get commit-related parameters as part of the update URL. This example adds a small test document and causes an explicit commit to happen immediately afterwards:

   <field name="id">testdoc</field></doc></add>&commit=true

Alternately, you may want to use this:


This example causes the index to be optimized down to at most 10 segments, but won’t wait around until it’s done (waitFlush=false):

curl 'http://localhost:8983/solr/my_collection/update?optimize=true&maxSegments=10&waitFlush=false'

This example adds a small test document with a commitWithin instruction that tells Solr to make sure the document is committed no later than 10 seconds later (this method is generally preferred over explicit commits):

curl http://localhost:8983/solr/my_collection/update?commitWithin=10000
  -H "Content-Type: text/xml" --data-binary '<add><doc><field name="id">testdoc</field></doc></add>'
While the stream.body feature is great for development and testing, it should normally not be enabled in production systems, as it lets a user with READ permissions post data that may alter the system state. The feature is disabled by default. See RequestDispatcher in SolrConfig for details.

Changing Default commitWithin Behavior

The commitWithin settings allow forcing document commits to happen in a defined time period. This is used most frequently with Near Real Time Searching, and for that reason the default is to perform a soft commit. This does not, however, replicate new documents to slave servers in a master/slave environment. If that’s a requirement for your implementation, you can force a hard commit by adding a parameter, as in this example:


With this configuration, when you call commitWithin as part of your update message, it will automatically perform a hard commit every time.

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