Funkload + Fabric = quick and dirty distributed load system

We're currently using The Grinder for our Sync load tests at Mozilla Services. Grinder will let you write the tests using Jython and run a distributed load test. Despite the Java and Jython environment layer which is always painful to set up, Grinder works well.

But do not expect it to produce nice reports, you're on your own for this. You need to work on the raw results to produce nice diagrams. Do not expect either to perform some operations on the test nodes before and after the distributed load test is executed. Tests are driven via an UI and while it's probably possible to script them via Java... it's Java. And well, the feedback when the tests are running is nearly inexistant.

The distributed load system of my dreams must:
- let me run arbitrary commands on every node before and after it runs the test. And retrieve results then merge them in a consolidated result. - let me write complex unittest-based functional tests that I can also use to check the health of a server. - provide basic reporting features - be written in Python ;)

Oh.. hold on.. I have it : Funkload and Fabric.

Funkload let you write complex functional tests, does load testing with complex cycles and produces nice reports.

And then there's Fabric, which allows you to run commands via SSH on a pool of servers.

Funkload is not distributed but it's fairly simple to drive it via Fabric. And when all nodes have finished the execution --whom you can watch via the Fabric stdout-- you can get them back and merge them in a single file.

So basically, the fabric script looks like this:

from fabric.api import run, get, env

def runtest():

    run('fl-run-bench testmodule TestClass.test_function')

    file = '/path/to/results.xml'

    get(file, env.host_string + '-results.xml')

This will run the command on the distant server, then download the xml file. All through SSH. It can be launched on every server with:

$ fab -H runtest

Fabric does not provide parallel execution yet, so you have to create a batch to run the script on every server in parallel processes. But this feature should be included in Fabric 1.1. There's a branch for this:

Then you can merge the files in a single XML file like this:

from funkload.MergeResultFiles import MergeResultFiles

import os

def merge_results():

    files = []

    for file_ in os.listdir(HERE):

        if not file_.endswith('-results.xml'):



    MergeResultFiles(files, 'results.xml')

And finally, create an HTML output:

$ bin/fl-build-report --html -o html results.xml

Granted, there's no control of the nodes during the tests, that feature would require a small TCP server that drives Funkload on each server. And that would obsoletes the need for Fabric I guess. But for setting up a quick distributed test, I am good with SSH for now.

I should also mention Benchmaster, which do something similar but seems complex to configure compared to a simple Fabric script.

Funbric ? :D

Comments !