Running Apache JMeter 3.1 Distributed Load Testing Tool using Docker Compose v3.1 on Swarm Mode Cluster

Apache JMeter is a popular open source software used as a load testing tool for analyzing and measuring the performance of web application or multitude of services. It is 100% pure Java application, designed to test performance both on static and dynamic resources and web dynamic applications. It simulates a heavy load on one or multitude of servers, network or object to test its strength/capability or to analyze overall performance under different load types. The various applications/server/protocol includes – HTTP, HTTPS (Java, NodeJS, PHP, ASP.NET), SOAP / REST Web services, FTP,Database via JDBC, LDAP, Message-oriented middleware (MOM) via JMS,Mail – SMTP(S), POP3(S) and IMAP(S), native commands or shell scripts, TCP, Java Objects and many more.


JMeter is extremely easy to use and doesn’t take time to get familiar with it.It allows concurrent and simultaneous sampling of different functions by a separate thread group. JMeter is highly extensible which means you can write your own tests. JMeter also supports visualization plugins allow you extend your testing.JMeter supports many testing strategies such as Load Testing, Distributed Testing, and Functional Testing. JMeter can simulate multiple users with concurrent threads, create a heavy load against web application under test.


Architecture of JMeter Distributed Load Testing:
JMeter Distributed Load Testing uses client-server model. It is a kind of testing which use multiple systems to perform stress testing. Distributed testing is applied for testing web sites and server applications when they are working with multiple clients simultaneously.
It includes:
1. Master –  the system running JMeter GUI, which controls the test.
2. Slave –  the system running JMeter-server, which takes commands from the GUI and send requests to the target system(s).
3. Target (System Under Test)– the web server which undergoes stress test.


What Docker has to offer for Apache JMeter?

Good Question ! With every new installation of Apache JMeter, you need to download/install JMeter on every new node participating in Distributed Load Testing. Installing JMeter requires dependencies to be installed first like JAVA, default-jre-headless, iputils etc. The complexity begins when you have multitude OS distributions running on your infrastructure. You can always use automation tools or scripts to enable this solution but again there is an extra cost of maintenance and skills required to troubleshoot with the logs when something goes wrong in the middle of the testing.

With Docker, it is just a matter of 1 Docker Compose file and an one-liner command to get the entire infrastructure ready. Under this blog, I am going to show how a single Docker Compose v3.1 file format can help you setup the entire JMeter Distributed Load Testing tool – all working on Docker 17.03 Swarm Mode cluster.

I will leverage 4-node Docker 17.04 Swarm Cluster running on my Google Cloud Engine platform to showcase this solution as shown below:


Under this setup, I will be using instance “master101” as master/client node while the rest of worker nodes as “server/slaves” nodes. All of these instances are running Ubuntu 17.04 with Docker 17.03 installed. You are free to choose any latest Linux distributions which supports Docker executables.

First, let us ensure that you have the latest Docker 17.03 running on your machine:

$curl -sSL | sh



Ensure that the latest Docker compose is installed which supports v3.0 file format:

 $curl -L`uname -s`-`uname -m` > /usr/local 
 $chmod +x /usr/local/bin/docker-compose


Docker Compose for Apache JMeter Distributed Load Testing

One can use docker stack deploy command to quickly setup JMeter Distributed Testing environment. This command requires docker-compose.yml file which holds the declaration of services (apache-jmeter-master and apache-jmeter-server) respectively. Let us clone the repository as shown below to get started –

Run the below commands on the Swarm Master node –

$git clone

$cd jmeter-docker

Under this directory, you will find docker-compose.yml file which is shown below:



In the above docker-compose.yml, there are two service definitions – master and server. Through this docker compose file format, we can push master/client service definition to the master node and server specific service definition which has to be pushed to all the slave nodes. The constraints sections takes care of this functionality. This compose file will automatically create an overlay network called jm-network across the cluster.

Let us start the required services out of the docker-compose file as shown below:

$sudo docker stack deploy -c docker-compose.yml myjmeter

Untitled picture

Checking if the services are up and running through docker service ls command:


Let us verify if constraints worked correctly or not as shown below:



As shown above, the constraints worked well pushing the containers to the right node.

It’s time to enter into one of the container running on the master node as shown below:


Using docker exec command, one can enter into the container and browse to /jmeter/apache-jmeter-3.1/bin directory.


Pushing the JMX file into the container

   $docker exec -i <container-running-on-master-node> sh -c 'cat > /jmeter/apache-jmeter-3.1/bin/jmeter-docker.jmx' < jmeter-docker.jmx

Starting the Load testing

  $docker exec -it <container-on-master-node> bash
  root@daf39e596b93:/#cd /jmeter/apache-jmeter-3.1/bin
  $./jmeter -n -t jmeter-docker.jmx -R<list of containers running on slave nodes seperated by commas)

Planning to move from Apache JMeter running on VMs to Containers??

This is very important topic which I don’t want to miss out , though we are at the end of this blog post. You might be using Virtual Infrastructure for setting up Apache JMeter Distributed Load tool. Generally, each  VM is assigned with static IP and it does make sense as your System Under Test will see load coming from different static IP. The above docker-compose file uses an overlay network and IPs are in the range of 172.16.x.x which gets assigned automatically and taken care by Docker  Swarm Networking. In case you are looking out for static IP which should get assigned to each containers automatically, then for sure you need macvlan to be implemented. Follow to achieve this.

In my next blog post, I will cover further interesting stuffs related to JMeter Distributed Load Testing tool. Drop me a message through tweet (@ajeetsraina) if you face any issue with the above solution.

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Running Apache JMeter 3.1 Distributed Load Testing via Docker Compose on Swarm Mode



  • tanuj wadhawan

    Hi Ajeet,

    Thanks for sharing the useful insights on integrating Docker with Jmeter in order to ease out the setting of jmeter infra during distributed mode of test execution.

    Further i need your assistance in setting up below setup on AWS EC2 instances :-

    1.) Procuring 2 AWS EC2 instances.
    2.) Installing jmeter , jdk & other dependencies & set up distributed mode of jmeter using Docker on above procured instances. Note – Master & Slave needs to run on different Ec2 instances.
    3.) Execute the test
    4.) During load test execution , if more AWS EC2 instances would be require due to high load since auto scale is activated , Can docker help to extend the setup to new EC2 instances on run time.

    Could you please share your insights.