Circuit Breakers

Solr’s circuit breaker infrastructure allows prevention of actions that can cause a node to go beyond its capacity or to go down. The premise of circuit breakers is to ensure a higher quality of service and only accept request loads that are serviceable in the current resource configuration.

When To Use Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers should be used when the user wishes to trade request throughput for a higher Solr stability. If circuit breakers are enabled, requests may be rejected under the condition of high node duress with HTTP error code 429 'Too Many Requests'.

It is up to the client to handle this error and potentially build retry logic as this should be a transient situation.

In a request to a sharded collection, the circuit breaker is only checked on the node handling the initial request, not for inter-node requests. It is therefore recommended to load balance client requests across Solr nodes to avoid hotspots.

Circuit Breaker Configurations

Circuit breakers can be configured globally for the entire node, or for each collection individually, or a combination. Per-collection circuit breakers are checked before global circuit breakers, and if there is a conflict, the per-collection circuit breaker takes precedence. Typically, any per-collection circuit breaker thresholds are set lower than global thresholds.

A circuit breaker can register itself to be checked for query requests and/or update requests. A user may register circuit breakers of the same type with different thresholds for each request type.

Global Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers can be configured globally using environment variables, e.g. in, or system properties. The variables available are:

Name Environment Variable Name System Property Name

JVM Heap Usage


solr.circuitbreaker.query.mem, solr.circuitbreaker.update.mem

System CPU Usage


solr.circuitbreaker.query.cpu, solr.circuitbreaker.update.cpu

System Load Average


solr.circuitbreaker.query.loadavg, solr.circuitbreaker.update.loadavg

For example, you can enable a global CPU circuit breaker that rejects update requests when above 95% CPU load, by setting the following environment variable: SOLR_CIRCUITBREAKER_UPDATE_CPU=95.

Per Collection Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers are configured as independent <circuitBreaker> entries in solrconfig.xml as shown in the below examples. By default, only search requests are affected.

Currently Supported Circuit Breakers

The legacy configuration syntax using CircuitBreakerManager is deprecated as of Solr 9.4, but will continue to work. The "CPU" circuit breaker used by this legacy plugin when configuring a cpuThreshold is actually the LoadAverageCircuitBreaker described below. Also, the CircuitBreakerManager will return a HTTP 503 code instead of the HTTP 429 code used by the new circuit breakers.

JVM Heap Usage

This circuit breaker tracks JVM heap memory usage and rejects incoming requests with a 429 error code if the heap usage exceeds a configured percentage of maximum heap allocated to the JVM (-Xmx). The main configuration for this circuit breaker is controlling the threshold percentage at which the breaker will trip.

To enable and configure the JVM heap usage based circuit breaker, add the following:

Per collection in solrconfig.xml
<circuitBreaker class="org.apache.solr.util.circuitbreaker.MemoryCircuitBreaker">
 <double name="threshold">75</double>
Global in

The threshold is defined as a percentage of the max heap allocated to the JVM.

For the circuit breaker configuration, a value of "0" maps to 0% usage and a value of "100" maps to 100% usage.

It does not logically make sense to have a threshold below 50% or above 95% of the max heap allocated to the JVM. Hence, the range of valid values for this parameter is [50, 95], both inclusive.

Consider the following example:

JVM has been allocated a maximum heap of 5GB (-Xmx) and threshold is set to 75. In this scenario, the heap usage at which the circuit breaker will trip is 3.75GB.

System CPU Usage Circuit Breaker

This circuit breaker tracks system CPU usage and triggers if the recent CPU usage exceeds a configurable threshold.

This is tracked with the JMX metric OperatingSystemMXBean.getSystemCpuLoad(). That measures the recent CPU usage for the whole system. This metric is provided by the package, which is not implemented on all JVMs. If the metric is not available, the circuit breaker will be disabled and log an error message. An alternative can then be to use the System Load Average Circuit Breaker.

To enable and configure the CPU utilization based circuit breaker:

Per collection in solrconfig.xml
<circuitBreaker class="org.apache.solr.util.circuitbreaker.CPUCircuitBreaker">
 <double  name="threshold">75</double>
Global in

The triggering threshold is defined in percent CPU usage. A value of "0" maps to 0% usage and a value of "100" maps to 100% usage. The example above will trip when the CPU usage is equal to or greater than 75%.

System Load Average Circuit Breaker

This circuit breaker tracks system load average and triggers if the recent load average exceeds a configurable threshold.

This is tracked with the JMX metric OperatingSystemMXBean.getSystemLoadAverage(). That measures the recent load average for the whole system. A "load average" is the number of processes using or waiting for a CPU, usually averaged over one minute. Some systems include processes waiting on IO in the load average. Check the documentation for your system and JVM to understand this metric. For more information, see the Wikipedia page for Load,

To enable and configure the Load average circuit breaker:

Per collection in solrconfig.xml
<circuitBreaker class="org.apache.solr.util.circuitbreaker.LoadAverageCircuitBreaker">
 <double  name="threshold">8.0</double>
Global in

The triggering threshold is a floating point number matching load average. The example circuit breaker above will trip when the load average is equal to or greater than 8.0.

The System Load Average Circuit breaker behavior is dependent on the operating system, and may not work on some operating systems like Microsoft Windows. See JavaDoc for more.

Advanced example

In this example we will prevent update requests above 80% CPU load, and prevent query requests above 95% CPU load. Supported request types are query and update. This would prevent expensive bulk updates from impacting search. Note also the support for short-form class name.

Per collection in solrconfig.xml
  <circuitBreaker class="solr.CPUCircuitBreaker">
   <double  name="threshold">80</double>
   <arr name="requestTypes">

  <circuitBreaker class="solr.CPUCircuitBreaker">
   <double  name="threshold">95</double>
   <arr name="requestTypes">
Global in

Performance Considerations

While JVM or CPU circuit breakers do not add any noticeable overhead per request, having too many circuit breakers checked for a single request can cause a performance overhead.

In addition, it is a good practice to exponentially back off while retrying requests on a busy node. See the Wikipedia page for Exponential Backoff.