flood

Generic performance testing tool.

npm install flood
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About

For performance testing, it is generally necessary to configure many machines generating simultaneous load against an endpoint. With servers these days having many CPU cores, a good tool should utilize all cores.

Flood has simplified the process of aggregating test counters across many machines with many CPUs.

Installation

To install the package globally, run:

# npm install flood -g

This will add two commands to your system, flood and flood-watch.

Configuration

flood

Machines that will actually generate the load by spawning worker threads will be running the flood command. This service listens for jobs and executes them. An HTTP-like listener is opened on port 5143, where clients may submit jobs and wait for completion. Here is an example in curl:

curl -i -X POST \
    -H 'Content-Type: text/javascript' \
    -H 'X-Signature: XXXXXXXXXXXX' \
    -d @mytest.js \
    http://localhost:5143/test/mytest.js

The test file mytest.js simply needs to define exports.counters and exports.run. The exports.counters is an array of counter names the test can then increment. The exports.run is a function that is called which should run indefinitely, incrementing counters.

exports.counters = ['beeps'];

exports.run = function (snapshot) {
  function beep() {
    snapshot.counterInc('beeps');
    setImmediate(beep);
  }
  beep();
};

Along with the counterInc() function, there is a counterAdd() function that will produce slightly different behavior but is useful for finding averages of arbitrary data produced by your tests, such as the time in milliseconds requests take to run.

exports.counters = ['timers'];

exports.run = function (snapshot) {
  function stuff() {
    var start = getMilliseconds();
    // do stuff...
    var end = getMilliseconds();
    snapshot.counterAdd('timers', (end-start));
    setImmediate(stuff);
  }
  stuff();
};

Optionally, exports.setUp may be a function that initializes the test, before snapshot timers begin. It must call its callback argument when complete. Additional arguments passed to callback will be given to exports.run:

exports.counters = ['beeps'];

exports.setUp = function (callback) {
  require('fs').readFile('beeps.txt', function (err, beepsData) {
    callback(beepsData);
  }
};

exports.run = function (snapshot, beepsData) {
  function beep() {
    snapshot.counterInc('beeps');
    setImmediate(beep);
  }
  beep();
};

The service configuration file, flood.conf.json, is installed into the etc directory of the node package (likely /usr/lib/node_modules/flood/). This file has several options:

  • clientPort: The port to listen for connections on.

  • urlPrefix: The expected prefix for every POST, without trailing slash.

  • publicKeyFile: The public key file used to verify digital signatures of incoming test scripts. Must correspond to the privateKeyFile option given in flood-watch configuration.

flood-watch

The intention of the flood-watch process is to connect to all the flood processes and aggregate all their counters over a set time. A single argument with the JSON configuration file is passed to flood-watch, which looks something like this:

{
  "clients": [
    "localhost"
  ],
  "clientPort": 5143,
  "dependencies": [],
  "privateKeyFile": "/etc/flood/private.pem",
  "snapshots": 10,
  "interval": 1000,
  "workerModule": "beeps.js",
  "numWorkers": 0
}

The options are:

  • clients: A socket connection is initiated to the flood service on each host in the list to run the test.

  • clientPort: The port to use for client connections.

  • dependencies: An array of packages to be installed locally by npm before running the test.

  • privateKeyFile: A private key file used to generate a digital signature of the the test file. Verification of the signature by the flood service prevents execution of malicious scripts.

  • snapshots: Number of counter snapshots to gather for the test. Corresponds to the X-Snapshots header to the flood service.

  • interval: The length, in milliseconds, of each snapshot window. The entire run-length of the test is given by interval * snapshots. Corresponds to the X-Snapshot-Length header.

  • workerModule: This file is read in and passed to the flood service as the test file.

  • numworkers: The number of worker threads created by each machine running the flood service. Positive numbers indicate an exact number of threads, while zero and negatives will subtract from the number of CPU cores. Corresponds to the X-Workers header.

Public and Private Keys

To streamline the process of generating private and public keys for digital content signatures, flood installs a script called flood-genkeys. This script will generate private.pem and public.pem in the directory specified by the first given argument (defaults to /etc/flood).

Don't forget the private key only needs to be accessible by the machine running flood-watch, and the public key only needs to be accessible by the machines running flood.

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