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Short Description
JMeter Docker Image for Distributed Testing on EC2 Container Service (ECS)
Full Description

JMeter for ECS

JMeter Images for Distributed Testing on EC2 Container Service (ECS)

This application uses two images:

  • smithmicro/jmeter - Contains the JMeter software that is deployed in ECS
  • smithmicro/lucy - The orchestration image that can run behind a corporate firewall and manages AWS resources

Warning: Using these Docker images will incur compute and storage costs in AWS. Care is taken to terminate all instances and volumes after JMeter tests complete, but bugs could allow these resources to continue to run. See the issues list for more detail.

How to Use

The smithmicro/lucy Docker image can be run as-is with a number of required environement variables.

Prerequisites to use this image:

  • Create a VPC with at least one subnet as ECS requires the use of VPC **
  • Create a VPC security group that allows ports 22, 1099, 50000 and 51000 (tcp) and 4445 (udp) to the VPC **
  • Create a security key pair and place in the keys subdirectory
  • Have your AWS CLI Access Key ID/Secret Access Key handy
  • Replace or edit the included plans/demo.jmx to run your specific tests
  • Ensure you have a Role named ecsInstanceRole. This is created by the ECS first-run experience.

** If you do not have a VPC created, you can use the included script to create the VPC, Subnet and required Security Group.

Docker run template:

docker run -v <oath to jmx>:/plans -v <path to pem>:/keys -v <path to logs>:/logs \
    --env AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID=<key id> \
    --env AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY=<access key> \
    --env AWS_DEFAULT_REGION=<region> \
    --env SECURITY_GROUP=<security group within your VPC> \
    --env SUBNET_ID=<subnet IDs within your VPC> \
    --env KEY_NAME=<key pair name without extension> \
    --env MINION_COUNT=<number of minions> \
    smithmicro/lucy /plans/demo.jmx

For 5 test instances in N. Virginia, docker run would look like this, assuming your jmeter-key.pem file is located in the keys subdirectory:

docker run -v $PWD/plans:/plans -v $PWD/keys:/keys -v $PWD/logs:/logs \
    --env AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY=abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789ABCDEF \
    --env AWS_DEFAULT_REGION=us-east-1 \
    --env SECURITY_GROUP=sg-12345678 \
    --env SUBNET_ID=subnet-12345678,subnet-87654321 \
    --env KEY_NAME=jmeter-key \
    --env MINION_COUNT=5 \
    smithmicro/lucy /plans/demo.jmx


This Docker image replaces the JMeter master/slave nomenclature with Gru, Minion and Lucy. Gru manages the Minions from within ECS, but Lucy orchestrates the entire process.

|  EC2                                 |
|  +--------------------------------+  |
|  |  ECS                           |  |
|  |                +--------+      |  |
|  |  +-------+     | +--------+    |  |      +--------+
|  |  |       |---->| | +--------+ ---------->|        |
|  |  |  Gru  |<----| | |        | ---------->| Target |
|  |  |       |     +-| | Minion | ---------->|        |
|  |  +-------+       +-|        |  |  |      +--------+
|  |     ^ |            +--------+  |  |
|  +-----|-|------------------------+  |
         | |
    .jmx | | .log/.jtl
         | v
     |          |
     |   Lucy   |
     |          |

Lucy runs the script to perform the following steps:

  • Step 1 - Create the ECS Cluster
  • Step 2 - Wait for the cluster to have all container instances registered
  • Step 3 - Run a Minion Task with the requested instance count
  • Step 4 - Get Gru and Minion's instance ID's
  • Step 5 - Get IP addresses from Gru and Minions
  • Step 6 - Run Gru with the specified JMX
  • Step 7 - Fetch the results from Gru
  • Step 8 - Delete the cluster


The lucy container uses 3 volumes:

  • /plans - mapped into the orchestrator to provide the input JMX files
  • /keys - mapped into the orchestrator to provide the PEM file
  • /logs - mapped into the orchestrator to provide the output jmeter.log and results.jtl

Environment Variables

The following required and optional environment variables are supported:

Variable Required Default Notes
AWS_DEFAULT_REGION Yes None AWS Region (e.g. us-east-1)
INPUT_JMX Yes None File path of JMeter Test file to run (.jmx). You can optionally specify this as the first command line option of docker run
KEY_NAME Yes None AWS Security Key Pair .pem file (do not specify the .pem extension)
SECURITY_GROUP Yes None AWS Secuirty group that allows ports 22,1099,50000,51000/tcp and 4445/udp from all ports (e.g. sg-12345678)
SUBNET_ID Yes None One or more Subnets (comma separated) that are assigned to your VPC
VPC_ID VPC assigned to SUBNET_ID We dautomatically erive this from your SUBNET_ID
JMETER_VERSION latest smithmicro/lucy Image tag. See Docker Hub for available versions.
INSTANCE_TYPE t2.micro To double your memory, pass t2.small
MEM_LIMIT 950m If you are using t2.small, set MEM_LIMIT to 1995m
PEM_PATH /keys This must match your Volume map. See Volume section above.
CLUSTER_NAME JMeter Name that appears in your AWS Cluster UI
GRU_PRIVATE_IP None Set to true if you would like to run Lucy within AWS. See GitHub Issue 8 for details.
JMETER_FLAGS None Custom JMeter command line options. For example, passing -X will tell the Minion to exit at the end of the test
RETAIN_CLUSTER None Set to true if you want to re-use your cluster for future tests. Warning, you will incur AWS charges if you leave your cluster running.
CUSTOM_PLUGIN_URL None The URL of a custom plugin you want to install in the Minions. File will be copied to $JMETER_HOME/lib/ext.


All current JMeter Plugins are installed via the Plugins Manager.

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