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Logstash Benchmark

This section documents how to setup logstash for benchmarking to compare against tremor-script.

The following benchmarks were taken with tremor v0.5.0 on June 2019.


Assert that JDK 8 or higher is on your system path

$ java -version
java version "1.8.0_192-ea"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_192-ea-b04)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.192-b04, mixed mode)
$ javac -version
javac 1.8.0_192-ea

Assert that JRuby 9.2 or higher is on your system path

$ jruby -v
jruby (2.5.3) 2019-02-11 15ba00b Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM 25.192-b04 on 1.8.0_192-ea-b04 +jit [darwin-x86_64]

Assert that the rake and bundler ruby tools are installed

$ gem install rake bundler
Fetching: rake-12.3.2.gem (100%)
Successfully installed rake-12.3.2
Fetching: bundler-2.0.2.gem (100%)
Successfully installed bundler-2.0.2
2 gems installed

Clone and build logstash and its benchmark tool

git clone
cd logstash
gradle clean assemble
cd tools/benchmark-cli
gradle clean assemble

Benchmark methodology

In the first ( this ) version, this was a manual process

Number of logstash workers ( default 2 )

Batch size for micro-batching queues in logstash workers ( default 128 )

Identity baseline benchmark

Literally named baseline and is a equivalent in functionality to tremor's empty-passthrough-json benchmark

For each logstash tunable, run a benchmark

Given the baseline logstash benchmark and record results and initial analysis

Document command line arguments required to evaluated each run/iteration

$ java -cp build/libs/benchmark-cli.jar org.logstash.benchmark.cli.Main \
      --testcase=baseline --distribution-version=5.5.0 \
      --ls-workers <num-workers> \
      --ls-batch-size <batch-size>

For each tremor tunable, run a benchmark

Given the empty-passthrough-json equivalent benchmark

Tremor has no performance related tunables

Tremor's benchmark framework has no performance related tunables for the empty-passthrough-json equivalent benchmark

Record results

Benchmark conditioning and environment

The benchmark-cli tool that ships with logstash suffers from a number of issues.

The number of events in each run is fixed and limited to 1 million events per run.

No accomodation is made for warmup to ensure that the JVM has reached a stable state before results recording begins.

The framework also incorrectly terminates after each run once 1 million results have been submitted. It should not complete until all workers have drained their respective queues and the benchmark reaches a quiescent state. Quiescence is not asserted.

This means that the number of recorded processed events can be less than the configured target by a significant margin. As these are micro-benchmarks and we are concerned with Order of Magnitude differences in performance we have not expended effort resolving these issues.

A further issue with the logstash benchmark-cli tool is that the results suffer from the coordinated ommission problem.

The coordinated ommission problem, is a term first-coined by Gil Tene based on the observations in benchmarking the Azul Vega hardware and Zing JVM with C4 garbage collector and related ZTS subsystems). In a nutshell, coordinated-ommission is where a benchmarking tool ( usually unintentionally ) incorrectly records events under measurement time spans by failing to record the intended verses actual time to record. Specifically, it is insufficient to record the start time and end time of a particular event of interest. Capturing the start and end time allows the delta or servicing time to be computed. It does not capture any synchronization overhead, waiting time, delays or other system induced hiccups introduced between up to the point the event should have started. We fail to capture unintentional drift introduced artificially by the benchmark framework when CO is in force. Well-designed benchmarks should be CO-free.

Tremor's benchmarking facility allows events to be injected at a fixed frequency. This tactic ( which more specifically, pins the intended commencement time for an event to begin processing to a starting epoch ) is sufficient to practically account for any hiccups or drift in expected verses actual inter-arrival based on designed constraints in a benchmark framework. By selecting a fixed static frequency any measured hiccups should be outside of the control of the benchmark framework - they are either artefacts of the scenario under test, or the system upon which it is being tested. These conditions are optimal in all benchmark testing, but an absolute necessity for any latency-sensitive testing, especially where fine-grained statistic quartiles are being computed if they are to impart results that are fit for low-level analysis and interpretation.

Coordinated-ommission-free benchmarks are important for micro-benchmarking and latency-driven benchmarking. However, as we are interested in Order of Magnitude ( finger in the air ) characteristics rather than isolating long-tail latencies or understanding fine grained latency characteristics on a per-event basis ( say, at the long-tail of performance beyond the 99.99th percentile )

In short, tremor makes some effort to account for coordinated-ommission where relevant, but logstash's benchmark framework does not. However, as we are taking a 50,000 foot view of characteristic throughput and are not focusing on specific per-event latency characteristics the identified issues are negligeable for our analysis.

It would be incorrect however, to focus on per-event performance characteristics or focus in on specific latency quartiles or throughput quartiles to derive any sigificance. Such an analysis would require more effort and would not necessarily deliver any greater value.

We have not used lab quality environments to run any of the benchmarks. All benchmarks were run on the same development grade laptop ( not ideal ) with the same background processes active on an intel / Mac OS X x86_64 environment. As such we consider the results indicative of characteristics and good enough for high level analysis.

It should, however, be a small task to follow this report to replicate the characteristic results detailed in this report and accompanying evidence and to replicate same on similar resources.

Baseline Analysis

Logstash's benchmark-cli was put through 40 variations of its two tunable parameters.

We tested with 1, 2, 4 and 8 logstash workers.

We tested each worker configuration with queue batch size bounds of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 and 512.

The best of 3 runs was recorded.

As tremor has no tunables we recorded the best of 3 runs.

Logstash is configured out of the box for 2 workers and a batch size of 128. There are marginally better configurations possible with 4 or 8 workers showing marginal throughput benefits given the use-case selected. Configuring a single worker has a significant negative impact on performance.

As such logstash is well-configured out of the box, at least for typical development or non-production activities.

The optimal configuration on the test machine was configured with 8 workers ( default 2 ) and a batch size of 256 ( default 128 ). This is less than 1% of a difference. Generally speaking, batch sizes of less than 32 tend to significantly reduce throughput for any number of configured workers. Also, generally speaking, the improvement from 2 worker threads to more does not demonstrate any improvement in scaling. As such multi-core scaling with logstash does not seem to be of much benefit beyond 2 workers ( threads ).

It should be noted that the benchmark creates artificial conditions and that the baseline working-set is atypical of production working sets. On the other hand, this conditioning is the same with respect to tremor whose baseline benchmark is equivalent.

In both cases we ingest, forward and publish an event or pass it through the system under test.

As logstash is configured for a fixed ceiling of events ( 1 million ) for a benchmark run, and tremor is configured for a specific test duration ( as many events as possible in 40 seconds ) we need to baseline the results. We bias in favor of tremor as normative and compute the effective throughput at 40 seconds for each logstash run. So a 63 second run with 8 workes and a batch size of 1 38 seconds run at batch size 256 respectively for logstash is counted as the equivalent 40 seconds run as follows:

Logstash Default (W2 W128) Logstash Worst (W1 B1) Logstash Best (W8 B256) Tremor (baseline)
1033811 466708 1041943 21402853

Note that we truncate / floor round the equivalent logstash 40-second results for each selected configuration.

Relative to the worst case logstash benchmark run performance:

Logstash W2 W128 ( default ) Logstash W8 B1 Logstash W8 B256 Tremor ( baseline )
2.22 1 2.23 45.86

Logstash can itself benefit from at least a 2x improvement, and this is consistent with the default out of the box configuration.

Tremor, however, is a factor of 45 better than the logstash worst case. Tremor, compared to the logstash best case, is still a factor of 20.54 higher throughput.

So the total effective range of improvement for the given benchmark ( all other things considered equal ) is somewhere between a 20x to 45x increase in throughput favoring tremor over logstash for the baseline use case based on exprimental conditions detailed in this report.

Production Analysis

We don't typically deploy logstash or tremor into production as a distribution proxy or interconnect that passes through events. Logstash would be a pretty bad choice compared to tremor. But tremor, although it has excellent conditioning and is designed for elegantly handling back-pressure and saturation conditions for log shipping and distribution - it does not provide the delivery semantics, retention and feature-set of technologies such as Kafka.

For the level 1 traffic limiting, traffic shaping and rate limiting use cases in Level 3 Logging at Wayfair for which tremor was originally designed we have seen a 7x-8x improvement in density compared to logstash for v0.4 of tremor. v0.5 should increase this to the 10x ballpark as we benefit from SIMD vectorization of JSON deserialization. However, there is further room for improvement as the tremor-script langauge has evolved to handle level 2 logging to replace ruby and logstash with far richer configuration than level 1. In v0.5 performance is a non-goal; as such there are many optimisations to the new tremor-script domain specific langauge that we have yet to undertake - so in practice for level 2 logging we won't see the full benefit of SIMD vectorization as some of those gains are ammortised by additional essential complexity of providing a richer DSL to support replacing logstash in level 2.

Indicatively, we stand to see a range of 20x-40x improvement. In production we have observed closer to a 7x-8x improvement in density with the L3 replacement, and with the v0.4 upgrade to L1 in GCP pre-live. We expect a further modest incremental improvement in L1 with v0.5, and a good ~10x over logstash for L2 this ( v0.5 ) release.

Apache Logs Scenario

Logstash ships with a benchmark where logstash is configured for Apache log processing and elementization. We have ported this benchmark to tremor for coparative purposes.

Tremor processes 44109658 messages in 100 seconds fixed interval ( continuously replaying ), whereas logstash takes 751 seconds to process the same 6900000 log records.

This is 48x speedup in favour of tremor.

Logging Level 2 Replacement Scenario

Tremor ships with a benchmark where the enrichment component of logstash replacement running in production has been used to drive the implementation of tremor-script features in the v0.5 release.

We have minimally modified the logstash benchmark client to support running logstash equivalent configuration of tremor ( or vice-versa ) to get as close to possible to a fair apples-to-apples comparison. We have stopped short of fixing fundemental issues with the logstash benchmark framework itself.

Tremor process 2262222 records in 100 seconds fixed interval ( continuously replaying ), whereas logstash takes 66 seconds to process 200000 records. This equates to a ballpark 7.5x speedup in favour of tremor.

Logging Level 2 Replacement bad case

Benchmarking the validation/transformation scenario involves a more complex script with loops and deeper nested expressions. Here some of the shortcuts we took to implement the new tremor script in a reasonable timeframe surface as performance bottlenecks.

Again ran the transformation script with both Logstash as well tremor with configurations as close to equivalent as possible.

Tremor processes 73132 records in 100 seconds fixed interval ( continuously replaying ), whereas logstash takes 87 seconds to process 150000 records. In this case tremor is about 2.3x slower then a comparable logstasv configuration.