Perfomance Testing with Gatling

How many of you have ever created automated performance tests before running application on production? Usually, developers attaches importance to the functional testing and tries to provide at least some unit and integration tests. However, sometimes a performance leak may turn out to be more serious than undetected business error, because it can affect the whole system, not the only the one business process.
Personally, I have been implementing performance tests for my application, but I have never run them as a part of the Continuous Integration process. Of course it took place some years, my knowledge and experience were a lot smaller… Anyway, recently I have became interested in topics related to performance testing, partly for the reasons of performance issues with the application in my organisation. As it happens, the key is to find the right tool. Probably many of you have heard about JMeter. Today I’m going to present the competitive solution – Gatling. I’ve read it generates rich and colorful reports with all the metrics collected during the test case. That feature seems to be better than in JMeter.
Before starting the discussion about Gatling let me say some words about theory. We can distinguish between two types of performance testing: load and stress testing. Load testing verifies how the system function under a heavy number of concurrent clients sending requests over a certain period of time. However, the main goal of that type of tests is to simulate the standard traffic similar to that, which may arise on production. Stress testing takes load testing and pushes your app to the limits to see how it handles an extremely heavy load.

What is Gatling?

Gatling is a powerful tool for load testing, written in Scala. It has a full support of HTTP protocols and can also be used for testing JDBC connections and JMS. When using Gatling you have to define test scenario as a Scala dsl code. It is worth to mention that it provides a comprehensive informative HTML load reports and has plugins for inteegration with Gradle, Maven and Jenkins.

Building sample application

Before we run any tests we need to have something for tests. Our sample application is really simple. Its source code is available as usual on GitHub. It exposes RESTful HTTP API with CRUD operations for adding and searching entity in the database. I use Postgres as a backend store for the application repository. The application is build on the top of Spring Boot framework. It also uses Spring Data project as a persistence layer implementation.

plugins {
    id 'org.springframework.boot' version '1.5.9.RELEASE'
}
dependencies {
	compile group: 'org.springframework.boot', name: 'spring-boot-starter-web'
	compile group: 'org.springframework.boot', name: 'spring-boot-starter-data-jpa'
	compile group: 'org.postgresql', name: 'postgresql', version: '42.1.4'
	testCompile group: 'org.springframework.boot', name: 'spring-boot-starter-test'
}

There is one entity Person which is mapped to the table person.

@Entity
@SequenceGenerator(name = "seq_person", initialValue = 1, allocationSize = 1)
public class Person {
	@Id
	@GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.SEQUENCE, generator = "seq_person")
	private Long id;
	@Column(name = "first_name")
	private String firstName;
	@Column(name = "last_name")
	private String lastName;
	@Column(name = "birth_date")
	private Date birthDate;
	@Embedded
	private Address address;
	// ...
}

Database connection settings and hibernate properties are configured in application.yml file.

spring:
  application:
    name: gatling-service
  datasource:
    url: jdbc:postgresql://192.168.99.100:5432/gatling
    username: gatling
    password: gatling123
  jpa:
    properties:
      hibernate:
        hbm2ddl:
          auto: update

server:
  port: 8090

Like I have already mentioned the application exposes API methods for adding and searching persons in database. Here’s our Spring REST controller implementation.

@RestController
@RequestMapping("/persons")
public class PersonsController {

	private static final Logger LOGGER = LoggerFactory.getLogger(PersonsController.class);

	@Autowired
	PersonsRepository repository;

	@GetMapping
	public List<Person> findAll() {
		return (List<Person>) repository.findAll();
	}

	@PostMapping
	public Person add(@RequestBody Person person) {
		Person p = repository.save(person);
		LOGGER.info("add: {}", p.toString());
		return p;
	}

	@GetMapping("/{id}")
	public Person findById(@PathVariable("id") Long id) {
		LOGGER.info("findById: id={}", id);
		return repository.findOne(id);
	}

}

Running database

The next after the sample application development is to run the database. The most suitable way of running it for the purposes is by Docker image. Here’s a Docker command that start Postgres containerand initializes gatling user and database.

docker run -d --name postgres -e POSTGRES_DB=gatling -e POSTGRES_USER=gatling -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=gatling123 -p 5432:5432 postgres

Providing test scenario

Every Gatling test suite should extends Simulation class. Inside it you may declare a list of scenarios using Gatling Scala DSL. Our goal is to run 30 clients which simultaneously sends requests 1000 times. First, the clients adds new person into the database by calling POST /persons method. Then they try to search person using its id by calling GET /persons/{id} method. So, totally 60k would be sent to the application: 30k to POST endpoint and 30k to GET method. Like you see on the code below the test scenario is quite simple. ApiGatlingSimulationTest is available under directory src/test/scala.

class ApiGatlingSimulationTest extends Simulation {

  val scn = scenario("AddAndFindPersons").repeat(1000, "n") {
        exec(
          http("AddPerson-API")
            .post("http://localhost:8090/persons")
            .header("Content-Type", "application/json")
            .body(StringBody("""{"firstName":"John${n}","lastName":"Smith${n}","birthDate":"1980-01-01", "address": {"country":"pl","city":"Warsaw","street":"Test${n}","postalCode":"02-200","houseNo":${n}}}"""))
            .check(status.is(200))
        ).pause(Duration.apply(5, TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS))
  }.repeat(1000, "n") {
        exec(
          http("GetPerson-API")
            .get("http://localhost:8090/persons/${n}")
            .check(status.is(200))
        )
  }

  setUp(scn.inject(atOnceUsers(30))).maxDuration(FiniteDuration.apply(10, "minutes"))

}

To enable Gatling framework for the project we should also define the following dependency in the Gradle build file.

testCompile group: 'io.gatling.highcharts', name: 'gatling-charts-highcharts', version: '2.3.0'

Running tests

There are some Gradle plugins available, which provides support for running tests during project build. However, we may also define simple gradle task that just run tests using io.gatling.app.Gatling class.

task loadTest(type: JavaExec) {
   dependsOn testClasses
   description = "Load Test With Gatling"
   group = "Load Test"
   classpath = sourceSets.test.runtimeClasspath
   jvmArgs = [
        "-Dgatling.core.directory.binaries=${sourceSets.test.output.classesDir.toString()}"
   ]
   main = "io.gatling.app.Gatling"
   args = [
           "--simulation", "pl.piomin.services.gatling.ApiGatlingSimulationTest",
           "--results-folder", "${buildDir}/gatling-results",
           "--binaries-folder", sourceSets.test.output.classesDir.toString(),
           "--bodies-folder", sourceSets.test.resources.srcDirs.toList().first().toString() + "/gatling/bodies",
   ]
}

The Gradle task defined above may be run with command gradle loadTest. Of course, before running tests you should launch the application. You may perform it from your IDE by starting the main class pl.piomin.services.gatling.ApiApplication or by running command java -jar build/libs/sample-load-test-gatling.jar.

Test reports

After test execution the report is printed in a text format.

================================================================================
---- Global Information --------------------------------------------------------
> request count                                      60000 (OK=60000  KO=0     )
> min response time                                      2 (OK=2      KO=-     )
> max response time                                   1338 (OK=1338   KO=-     )
> mean response time                                    80 (OK=80     KO=-     )
> std deviation                                        106 (OK=106    KO=-     )
> response time 50th percentile                         50 (OK=50     KO=-     )
> response time 75th percentile                         93 (OK=93     KO=-     )
> response time 95th percentile                        253 (OK=253    KO=-     )
> response time 99th percentile                        564 (OK=564    KO=-     )
> mean requests/sec                                319.149 (OK=319.149 KO=-     )
---- Response Time Distribution ------------------------------------------------
> t < 800 ms                                         59818 (100%) > 800 ms < t < 1200 ms                                 166 (  0%) > t > 1200 ms                                           16 (  0%)
> failed                                                 0 (  0%)
================================================================================

But that what is really cool in Gatling is an ability to generate reports in a graphical form. HTML reports are available under directory build/gatling-results. The first report shows global information with total number of requests and maximum response time by percentiles. For example, you may see that maximum response time in 95% of responses for GetPerson-API is 206 ms.

gatling-1

We may check out such report for all requests or filter them to see only those generated by selected API. In the picture below there is visualization only for GetPerson-API.

gatling-2

Here’s the graph with percentage of requests grouped by average response time.

gatling-3

Here’s the graph which ilustrates timeline with average response times. Additionally, that timeline also shows the statistics by percentiles.

gatling-4

Here’s the graph with number of requests processed succesfully by the application in a second.

gatling-5

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Envoy Proxy with Microservices

Introduction

I came across Envoy proxy for the first time a couple weeks ago, when one of my blog readers suggested me to write an article about it. I had never heard about it before and my first thought was that it is not my area of experience. In fact, this tool is not as popular as its competition like nginx or haproxy, but it provides some interesting features among which we can distinguish out-of-the-box support for MongoDB, Amazon RDS, flexibility around discovery and load balancing or generating a lot of useful traffic statistics. Ok, we know a little about its advantages but what exactly is Envoy proxy? ‘Envoy is an open source edge and service proxy, designed for cloud-native applications’. It was originally developed by Lift as a high performance C++ distributed proxy designed for standalone services and applications, as well as for large microservices service mesh. It sounds really good right now. That’s why I decided to take a closer look on it and prepare a sample of service discovery and distributed tracing realized with Envoy and microservices based on Spring Boot.

Envoy Configuration

In the most of previous samples basing on Spring Cloud we have used Zuul as edge and proxy. Zuul is popular Netflix OSS tool acting as API Gateway in your microservices architecture. As it turns out, it can be successfully replaced by Envoy proxy. One of the things I really like in Envoy is the way to create configuration. The default format is JSON and is validated against JSON schema. This JSON properties and schema are documented well and can be easily understood. Just what you’d expect from modern solution the recomended way to get started with it is by using the pre-built Docker images. So, in the beginning we have to create Dockerfile for bulding Docker image with Envoy and provide configuration file in JSON format. Here’s my Dockerfile. Parameters service-cluster and service-node are optional and has to do with provided configuration for service discovery, which I’ll say more about in a minute.

FROM lyft/envoy:latest
RUN apt-get update
COPY envoy.json /etc/envoy.json
CMD /usr/local/bin/envoy -c /etc/envoy.json --service-cluster samplecluster --service-node sample1

I assume you have a basic knowledge about Docker and its commands, which is mandatory at this point. After providing envoy.json configuration file we can proceed with building Docker image.

docker build -t envoy:v1 .

Then just run it using docker run command. Useful ports should be exposes outside.

docker run -d --name envoy -p 9901:9901 -p 10000:10000 envoy:v1

The first pretty helpful feature is local HTTP administrator server. It can be configured in JSON file inside admin property. For the example purpose I selected port 9901 and as you probably noticed I also had exposed that port outside Envoy Docker container. Now, admin console is available under http://192.168.99.100:9901/. If you invoke that address it prints all available commands. For me the most helpful were stats, which print all important statistics related with proxy and logging, where I could changed logging level dynamically for some of defined categories. So, first if you had any problems with Envoy try to change logging level by calling /logging?name=level and watch them on Docker container after running docker logs envoy command.

"admin": {
    "access_log_path": "/tmp/admin_access.log",
    "address": "tcp://0.0.0.0:9901"
}

The next required configuration property is listeners. There we define routing settings and the address on which Envoy will listen for incoming TCP connection. The notation tcp://0.0.0.0:10000 is the wild card match for any IPv4 address with port 10000. This port is also exposed outside Envoy Docker container. In this case it will therefore be our API gateway available under http://192.168.99.100:10000/ address. We will come back to the proxy configuration details at a ltare stage and now let’s take a closer look on the architecture of presented example.

"listeners": [{
    "address": "tcp://0.0.0.0:10000",
    ...
}]

Architecture

The architecture of described solution is visible on the figure below. We have Envoy proxy as API Gateway, which is an entry point to our system. Envoy integrates with Zipkin and sends there tracing messages with information about incoming HTTP requests and responses sent back. Two sample microservices Person and Product register itself in service discovery on startup and deregister on shutdown. They are hidden from external clients behind API Gateway . Envoy has to fetch actual configuration with addresses of registered services and route incoming HTTP request properly. If there are multiple instances of each service available it should perform load balancing.

envoy-arch

As it turns out Envoy does not support well known discovery servers like Consul or Zookeeper, but defines its own generic REST based API, which needs to be implemented to enable cluster members fetching. The main method of this API is GET /v1/registration/:service used for fetching the list of currently registered instances of service. Lyft’s provides its default implementation in Python, but for the example purpose we develope our own solution using Java and Spring Boot. Sample application source code is available on GitHub. In addition to service discovery implementation you would also find there two sample microservices.

Service Discovery

Our custom discovery implementation does nothing more than exposing REST based API with methods for registration, unregistration and fetching service’s instances. GET method needs to return specific JSON structure which matches the following schema.

{
    "hosts": [{
        "ip_address": "...",
        "port": "...",
        ...
    }]
}

Here’s REST controller class with discovery API implementation.

@RestController
public class EnvoyDiscoveryController {

    private static final Logger LOGGER = LoggerFactory.getLogger(EnvoyDiscoveryController.class);

    private Map<String, List<DiscoveryHost>> hosts = new HashMap<>();

    @GetMapping(value = "/v1/registration/{serviceName}")
    public DiscoveryHosts getHostsByServiceName(@PathVariable("serviceName") String serviceName) {
        LOGGER.info("getHostsByServiceName: service={}", serviceName);
        DiscoveryHosts hostsList = new DiscoveryHosts();
        hostsList.setHosts(hosts.get(serviceName));
        LOGGER.info("getHostsByServiceName: hosts={}", hostsList);
        return hostsList;
    }

    @PostMapping("/v1/registration/{serviceName}")
    public void addHost(@PathVariable("serviceName") String serviceName, @RequestBody DiscoveryHost host) {
        LOGGER.info("addHost: service={}, body={}", serviceName, host);
        List<DiscoveryHost> tmp = hosts.get(serviceName);
        if (tmp == null)
            tmp = new ArrayList<>();
        tmp.add(host);
        hosts.put(serviceName, tmp);
    }

    @DeleteMapping("/v1/registration/{serviceName}/{ipAddress}")
    public void deleteHost(@PathVariable("serviceName") String serviceName, @PathVariable("ipAddress") String ipAddress) {
        LOGGER.info("deleteHost: service={}, ip={}", serviceName, ipAddress);
        List<DiscoveryHost> tmp = hosts.get(serviceName);
        if (tmp != null) {
            Optional<DiscoveryHost> optHost = tmp.stream().filter(it -> it.getIpAddress().equals(ipAddress)).findFirst();
            if (optHost.isPresent())
                tmp.remove(optHost.get());
            hosts.put(serviceName, tmp);
        }
    }

}

Let’s get back to the Envoy configuration settings. Assuming we have built an image from Dockerfile visible below and then ran the container on default port we can invoke it under address http://192.168.99.100:9200. That address should be placed in envoy.json configuration file. Service discovery connection settings should be provided inside Cluster Manager section.

FROM openjdk:alpine
MAINTAINER Piotr Minkowski <piotr.minkowski@gmail.com>
ADD target/envoy-discovery.jar envoy-discovery.jar
ENTRYPOINT ["java", "-jar", "/envoy-discovery.jar"]
EXPOSE 9200

Here’s fragment from envoy.json file. Cluster for service discovery should be defined as a global SDS configuration, which must be specified inside sds property (1). The most important thing is to provide a correct URL (2) and on the basis of that Envoy automatically tries to call endpoint GET /v1/registration/{service_name}. The last interesting configuration field for that section is refresh_delay_ms, which is responsible for setting a delay between fetches a list of services registered in a discovery server. That’s not all. We also have to define cluster members. They are identified by the name (4). Their type is sds (5), what means that this cluster uses service discovery server for locating network addresses of calling microservice with the name defined in the service-name property.

"cluster_manager": {
    "clusters": [{
        "name": "service1", (4)
        "type": "sds", // (5)
	"connect_timeout_ms": 5000,
	"lb_type": "round_robin",
	"service_name": "person-service" // (6)
    }, {
        "name": "service2",
        "type": "sds",
        "connect_timeout_ms": 5000,
        "lb_type": "round_robin",
        "service_name": "product-service"
    }],
    "sds": { // (1)
	"cluster": {
		"name": "service_discovery",
		"type": "strict_dns",
		"connect_timeout_ms": 5000,
		"lb_type": "round_robin",
		"hosts": [{
			"url": "tcp://192.168.99.100:9200" // (2)
		}]
	},
	"refresh_delay_ms": 3000 // (3)
    }
}

Routing configuration is defined for every single listener inside route_config property (1). The first route is configured for person-service, which is processing by cluster service1 (2), second for product-service processing by service2 cluster. So, our services are available under http://192.168.99.100:10000/person and http://192.168.99.100:10000/product adresses.

{
    "name": "http_connection_manager",
    "config": {
        "codec_type": "auto",
        "stat_prefix": "ingress_http",
        "route_config": { // (1)
            "virtual_hosts": [{
		"name": "service",
		"domains": ["*"],
		"routes": [{
			"prefix": "/person", // (2)
			"cluster": "service1"
		}, {
			"prefix": "/product", // (3)
			"cluster": "service2"
		}]
            }]
        },
	"filters": [{
		"name": "router",
		"config": {}
        }]
    }
}

Building Microservices

The routing on Envoy proxy has been already configured. We still don’t have running microservices. Their implementation is based on Spring Boot framework and do nothing more than expose REST API providing simple operations on the object’s list and registering/unregistering service on discovery server. Here’s @Service bean responsible for that registration. The onApplicationEvent method is fired after application startup and destroy method just before gracefully shutdown.

@Service
public class PersonRegister implements ApplicationListener<ApplicationReadyEvent> {

    private static final Logger LOGGER = LoggerFactory.getLogger(PersonRegister.class);

    private String ip;
    @Value("${server.port}")
    private int port;
    @Value("${spring.application.name}")
    private String appName;
    @Value("${envoy.discovery.url}")
    private String discoveryUrl;

    @Autowired
    RestTemplate template;

	@Override
	public void onApplicationEvent(ApplicationReadyEvent event) {
		LOGGER.info("PersonRegistration.register");
		try {
			ip = InetAddress.getLocalHost().getHostAddress();
			DiscoveryHost host = new DiscoveryHost();
			host.setPort(port);
			host.setIpAddress(ip);
			template.postForObject(discoveryUrl + "/v1/registration/{service}", host, DiscoveryHosts.class, appName);
		} catch (Exception e) {
			LOGGER.error("Error during registration", e);
		}
	}

	@PreDestroy
	public void destroy() {
		try {
			template.delete(discoveryUrl + "/v1/registration/{service}/{ip}/", appName, ip);
			LOGGER.info("PersonRegister.unregistered: service={}, ip={}", appName, ip);
		} catch (Exception e) {
			LOGGER.error("Error during unregistration", e);
		}
	}

}

The best way to shutdown Spring Boot application gracefully is by its Actuator endpoint. To enable such endpoints for the service include spring-boot-starter-actuator to your project dependencies. Shutdown is disabled by default, so we should add the following properties to application.yml to enable it and additionally disable default security (endpoints.shutdown.sensitive=false). Now, just by calling POST /shutdown we can stop our Spring Boot application and test unregister method.

endpoints:
  shutdown:
    enabled: true
    sensitive: false

Same as before for microservices we also build docker images. Here’s person-service Dockerfile, which allows to override default service and SDS port.

FROM openjdk:alpine
MAINTAINER Piotr Minkowski <piotr.minkowski@gmail.com>
ADD target/person-service.jar person-service.jar
ENV DISCOVERY_URL http://192.168.99.100:9200
ENTRYPOINT ["java", "-jar", "/person-service.jar"]
EXPOSE 9300

To build image and run container of the service with custom listen port type the following docker commands.

docker build -t piomin/person-service .
docker run -d --name person-service -p 9301:9300 piomin/person-service

Distributed Tracing

It is time for the last piece of the puzzle – Zipkin tracing. Statistics related to all incoming requests should be sent there. The first part of configuration in Envoy proxy is inside tracing property which specifies global settings for the HTTP tracer.

"tracing": {
    "http": {
        "driver": {
            "type": "zipkin",
            "config": {
                "collector_cluster": "zipkin",
                "collector_endpoint": "/api/v1/spans"
            }
        }
    }
}

Network location and settings for Zipkin connection should be defined as a cluster member.

"clusters": [{
    "name": "zipkin",
    "connect_timeout_ms": 5000,
    "type": "strict_dns",
    "lb_type": "round_robin",
    "hosts": [
      {
        "url": "tcp://192.168.99.100:9411"
      }
    ]
}]

We should also add new section tracing in HTTP connection manager configuration (1). Field operation_name is required and sets a span name. Only ‘ingress’ and ‘egress’ values are supported.

"listeners": [{
	"filters": [{
        "name": "http_connection_manager",
        "config": {
			"tracing": { // (1)
				"operation_name": "ingress" // (2)
			}
			// ...
		}
	}]
}]

Zipkin server can be started using its Docker image.

docker run -d --name zipkin -p 9411:9411 openzipkin/zipkin

Summary

Here’s a list of running Docker containers for the test purpose. As you probably remember we have Zipkin, Envoy, custom discovery, two instances of person-service and one of product-service. You can add some person objects by calling POST /person and that display a list of all persons by calling GET /person. The requests should be load balanced between two instances basing on entries in the service discovery.

envoy-1

Information about every request is sent to Zipkin with a service name taken –service-cluster Envoy proxy running parameter.

envoy-2

Microservices Configuration With Spring Cloud Config

Preface

Although every microservice instance is an independent unit, we usually manage them from one central location. We are talking about watching the application logs (Kibana), metrics ans statistics (Zipkin, Grafana), instance monitoring and configuration management. I’m going to say a little more about configuration management with Spring Cloud Config framework.

Spring Cloud Config provides server and client-side support for externalized configuration in a distributed system. With the Config Server you have a central place to manage external properties for applications across all environments.

The concept of using configuration server inside microservices architecture is visualized on the figure below. The configuration is stored in the version control system (in the most cases it is Git) as a YAML or properties files. Spring Cloud Config Server pulls configuration from VCS and exposes it as RESTful endpoints. Configuration server registers itself at a discovery service. Every microservice application connects to registration service to discover an address of configuration server using its name. Then it invokes REST endpoint to download the newest configuration settings on startup.

config-server

Sample application

Sample application source code is available on GitHub. For the purpose of this example, I also created a repository for storing configuration files, which is available here. Let’s begin from configuration server. To enable configuration server and its registration in the discovery service we have to add following dependencies into pom.xml.

<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.cloud</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-cloud-config-server</artifactId>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.cloud</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-cloud-starter-eureka</artifactId>
</dependency>

In the application main class we should add the following annotations.

@SpringBootApplication
@EnableConfigServer
@EnableDiscoveryClient
public class ConfigServer {

	public static void main(String[] args) {
		SpringApplication.run(ConfigServer.class, args);
	}

}

The last thing to do is to define configuration in application.yml. I set default port, application name (for discovery) and Git repository address and credentials. Spring Cloud Config Server by default makes a clone of the remote git repository and if the local copy gets dirty it cannot update the local copy from remote repository.  To solve this problem I set a force-pull property to force Spring Cloud Config Server pull from remote repository every time a new request is incoming.

server:
  port: ${PORT:9999}

spring:
  application:
    name: config-server
  cloud:
    config:
      server:
        git:
          uri: https://github.com/piomin/sample-config-repo.git
          force-pull: true
          username: ${github.username}
          password: ${github.password}

It’s everything that had to be done on the server side. If you run your Spring Boot application it should be visible in discovery service as config-server. To enable interaction with config server on the client side we should add one dependency in pom.xml.

<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.cloud</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-cloud-starter-config</artifactId>
</dependency>

According to theory we should not have basic configuration defined in application.yml file but in bootstrap.yml. Why we need have anything there? At least application has to know discovery server address to be able to invoke configuration server. In addition, we can override default parameters for configuration invoking, such as config server discovery name (the default is configserver), configuration name, profile and label. By default microservice tries to detect configuration with name equal to ${spring.application.name}, label equal to ‘master’ and profiles read from ${spring.profiles.active} property.

spring:
  application:
    name: account-service
  cloud:
    config:
      discovery:
        enabled: true
        serviceId: config-server
      name: account
      profile: development
      label: develop

eureka:
  client:
    serviceUrl:
      defaultZone: http://localhost:8761/eureka/
  instance:
    leaseRenewalIntervalInSeconds: 1
    leaseExpirationDurationInSeconds: 2

The further part of the application configuration is located in the dedicated repository in account-development.yml file. Application tries to find this file in ‘develop’ branch. Such a file is cloned by configuration server and exposed in all the following REST endpoints:
/{application}/{profile}[/{label}]
/{application}-{profile}.yml
/{label}/{application}-{profile}.yml
/{application}-{profile}.properties
/{label}/{application}-{profile}.properties

If you call in your web browser our example configuration available under first endpoint http://localhost:9999/account/development/develop you should see full configuration in JSON format, where properties are available inside propertySources. Let me say some words about account-service configuration. Here’s YAML file where I set server port, mongo database connection settings, ribbon client configuration and specific application settings – the list of test accounts.

server:
  port: ${PORT:2222}

spring:
  data:
    mongodb:
      host: 192.168.99.100
      port: 27017
      username: micro
      password: micro

ribbon:
  eureka:
    enabled: true

test:
  accounts:
    - id: 1
      number: '0654321789'
      balance: 2500
      customerId: 1
    - id: 2
      number: '0654321780'
      balance: 0
      customerId: 1
    - id: 3
      number: '0650981789'
      balance: 12000
      customerId: 2

Before running application you should start mongo database.

docker run -d --name mongo -p 27017:27017 mongodb

All the find endpoints can be switched to connect mongodb repository or test accounts repository read form remote configuration by passing parameter ‘true’ in the end of each REST path. Test data is read from configuration file which is stored under ‘test’ key.

@Repository
@ConfigurationProperties(prefix = "test")
public class TestAccountRepository {

	private List<Account> accounts;

	public List<Account> getAccounts() {
		return accounts;
	}

	public void setAccounts(List<Account> accounts) {
		this.accounts = accounts;
	}

	public Account findByNumber(String number) {
		return accounts.stream().filter(it -> it.getNumber().equals(number)).findFirst().get();
	}

}

Dynamic configuration reload

Ok, now our application configuration is loaded from server on startup. But let’s imagine we need to dynamically reload it without application restart. It is also possible with Spring Cloud Config. To enable this feature we need to add a dependency on the spring-cloud-config-monitor library and activate the Spring Cloud Bus. In the presented sample I used AMQP message broker RabbitMQ as cloud bus provider.

<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.cloud</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-cloud-config-monitor</artifactId>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.cloud</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-cloud-starter-bus-amqp</artifactId>
</dependency>

To enable monitor for configuration server set the following property in application.yml file.

spring:
  application:
    name: config-server
  cloud:
    config:
      server:
        monitor:
          github:
            enabled: true

Now we have /monitor endpoint available on config server. The library spring-cloud-starter-bus-amqp should also be added on the client side. Monitor endpoint can be invoked by webhook configured on Git repository manager like Github, Bitbucket or Gitlab. We can also easily simulate such a webhook by calling POST /monitor manually. For example GitHub command should has the header X-Github-Event: push and JSON body with changes information like {"commits": [{"modified": ["account-service.yml"]}]}.

Like I mentioned before for the sample we use RabbitMQ server. It can be launched using its docker image.

docker run -d --name rabbit -p 30000:5672 -p 30001:15672 rabbitmq:management

To override spring auto configuration for RabbitMQ put following lines in your configuration on the both client and server side.

spring:
  rabbitmq:
    host: 192.168.99.100
    port: 30000
    username: guest
    password: guest

I also have to modify a little client service configuration to make it works with push notifications. Now it looks like as you can see below. When I overrided default application name using spring.cloud.config.* properties the event RefreshRemoteApplicationEvent has not been reveived by account service.

spring:
  application:
    name: account-service
  cloud:
    config:
      discovery:
        enabled: true
        serviceId: config-server
      profile: default

To enable dynamic configuration refreshing add @RefreshScope annotation to Spring bean. I enabled refresh on the client’s side beans: AccountController and TestAccountRepository. Finally we can test our configuration.

1. I changed and committed one property inside account-service.yml, for example balance for test.accounts with id=1.

2. Then I called POST request on /monitor endpoint with payload {"commits": [{"modified": ["account-service.yml"]}]}

3. If account service received refresh event from configuration server you should see in your logs the following fragment:
Received remote refresh request. Keys refreshed [test.accounts[0].balance]

4. Now, you can invoke test endpoint for modified account number, for me it was http://localhost:2222/accounts/0654321789/true.

Conclusion

With the Config Server you have a central place to manage configuration for applications across all environments. You can take advantage of the benefits offered by VCS systems such as branching or versioning or define native support for local files. The configuration can be reloaded only at application startup or dynamically after each change committed in the VCS repository. Spring Cloud Config Server is available for discovery and can be autodetected by all microservices registered at register server like Eureka. There are several alternative mechanisms for automatic configuration management for Spring Boot applications like Spring Cloud Consul Config or Spring Cloud Zookeeper Config.

Custom metrics visualization with Grafana and InfluxDB

If you need a solution for querying and visualizing time series and metrics probably your first choice will be Grafana. Grafana is a visualization dashboard and it can collect data from some different databases like MySQL, Elasticsearch and InfluxDB. At present it is becoming very popular to integrate with InfluxDB as a data source. This is a solution specifically designed for storing real-time metrics and events and is very fast and scalable for time-based data. Today, I’m going to show an example Spring Boot application of metrics visualization based on Grafana, InfluxDB and alerts using Slack communicator.

Spring Boot Actuator exposes some endpoint useful for monitoring and interacting with application. It also includes a metrics service with gauge and counter support. Gauge records a single value, counter records incremented or decremented value in all previous steps. The full list of basic metrics is available in Spring Boot documentation here and these are for example free memory, heap usage, datasource pool usage or thread information. We can also define our own custom metrics. To allow exporting such values into InfluxDB we need to declare bean @ExportMetricWriter. Spring Boot has not build-in metrics exporter for InfluxDB, so we have add influxdb-java library into pom.xml dependencies and define connection properties.

	@Bean
	@ExportMetricWriter
	GaugeWriter influxMetricsWriter() {
		InfluxDB influxDB = InfluxDBFactory.connect("http://192.168.99.100:8086", "root", "root");
		String dbName = "grafana";
		influxDB.setDatabase(dbName);
		influxDB.setRetentionPolicy("one_day");
		influxDB.enableBatch(10, 1000, TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS);

		return new GaugeWriter() {

			@Override
			public void set(Metric<?> value) {
				Point point = Point.measurement(value.getName()).time(value.getTimestamp().getTime(), TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS)
						.addField("value", value.getValue()).build();
				influxDB.write(point);
				logger.info("write(" + value.getName() + "): " + value.getValue());
			}
		};
	}

The metrics should be read from Actuator endpoint, so we should declare MetricsEndpointMetricReader bean.

	@Bean
	public MetricsEndpointMetricReader metricsEndpointMetricReader(final MetricsEndpoint metricsEndpoint) {
		return new MetricsEndpointMetricReader(metricsEndpoint);
	}

We can customize exporting process by declaring properties inside application.yml file. In the code fragment below there are two parameters: delay-millis which set metrics export interval to 5 seconds and includes, where we can define which metric should be exported.

spring:
  metrics:
    export:
      delay-millis: 5000
      includes: heap.used,heap.committed,mem,mem.free,threads,datasource.primary.active,datasource.primary.usage,gauge.response.persons,gauge.response.persons.id,gauge.response.persons.remove

To easily run Grafana and InfluxDB let’s use docker.

docker run -d --name grafana -p 3000:3000 grafana/grafana
docker run -d --name influxdb -p 8086:8086 influxdb

Grafana is available under default security credentials admin/admin. The first step is to create InfluxDB data source.

grafana-3
Now, we can create our new dashboard and add some graphs. Before it run Spring Boot sample application to export metrics some data into InfluxDB. Grafana has user friendly support for InfluxDB queries, where you can click the entire configuration and have a hint of syntax. Of course there is also a possibility of writing text queries, but not all of query language features are available.

grafana-4

Here’s the picture with my Grafana dashboard for metrics passed in includes property. On the second picture below you can see enlarged graph with average REST methods processing time.

grafana-1

grafana-2

We can always implement our custom service which generates metrics sent to InfluxDB. Spring Boot Actuator provides two classes for that purpose: CounterService and GaugeService. Below, there is example of GaugeService usage, where the random value between 0 and 100 is generated in 100ms intervals.

@Service
public class FirstService {

    private final GaugeService gaugeService;

    @Autowired
    public FirstService(GaugeService gaugeService) {
        this.gaugeService = gaugeService;
    }

    public void exampleMethod() {
    	Random r = new Random();
    	for (int i = 0; i < 1000000; i++) {
    		this.gaugeService.submit("firstservice", r.nextDouble()*100);
    		try {
			Thread.sleep(100);
			} catch (InterruptedException e) {
				e.printStackTrace();
			}
		}
    }

}

The sample bean FirstService is starting after application startup.

@Component
public class Start implements ApplicationListener<ContextRefreshedEvent> {

	@Autowired
	private FirstService service1;

	@Override
	public void onApplicationEvent(ContextRefreshedEvent contextRefreshedEvent) {
		service1.exampleMethod();
	}

}

Now, let’s configure alert notification using Grafana dashboard and Slack. This feature is available from 4.0 version. I’m going to define a threshold for statistics sent by FirstService bean. If you have already created graph for gauge.firstservice (you need to add this metric name into includes property inside application.yml) go to edit section and then to Alert tab. There you can define alerting condition by selecting aggregating function (for example avg, min, max), evaluation interval and threshold value. For my sample visible in the picture below I selected alerting when maximum value is bigger than 95 and conditions should be evaluated in 5 minute intervals.

grafana-5

After creating alert configuration we should define notification channel. There are some interesting supported notification types like email, Hip Chat, webhook or Slack. When configuring Slack notification we need to pass recipient’s address or channel name and incoming webhook URL. Then, add new notification for your alert sent to Slack in Notifications section.

grafana-6

I created dedicated channel #grafana for Grafana notification on my Slack account and attached incoming webhook to this channel by searching it in Channel Settings -> Add app or integration.

grafana-7

Finally, run my sample application and don’t forget to logout from Grafana Dashboard in case you would like to receive alert on Slack.

Monitoring Microservices With Spring Boot Admin

A few days ago I came across an article about Spring Boot Admin framework. It is a simple solution created to manage and monitor Spring Boot applications. It is based on endpoints exposed by Spring Boot Actuator. It is worth emphasizing that application only allows monitoring and does not have such capabilities like creating new instances, restarting, so it is not a competition for the solutions like Pivotal Cloud Foundry. More about this solution can be read in my previous article Spring Cloud Microservices at Pivotal Platform. Despite this, Spring Boot Admin seems to be an interesting enough to take a closer look on it.

If you have to manage the system consisting of multiple microservices you need to collect all relevant information in one place. This applies to the logs when we usually use ELK stack (Elasticsearch + Logstash + Kibana), metrics (Zipkin) and details about the status of all application instances, which are running right now. If you are interested in more details about ELK or Zipkin I recommend my previous article Part 2: Creating microservices – monitoring with Spring Cloud Sleuth, ELK and Zipkin.

If you already using Spring Cloud Discovery I’ve got good news for you. Although Spring Boot Admin was created by Codecentric company, it fully integrates with Spring Cloud including the most popular service registration and discovery servers like Zookeeper, Consul and Eureka. It is easy to create your admin server instance. You just have to set up Spring Boot application and add annotation @EnableAdminServer into your main class.

@SpringBootApplication
@EnableDiscoveryClient
@EnableAdminServer
@EnableAutoConfiguration
public class Application {

	public static void main(String[] args) {
		SpringApplication.run(Application.class, args);
	}

}

In the sample application available as usual on GitHub, we enabled discovery from Eureka by adding annotation @EnableDiscoveryClient. There is no need to register admin service in Eureka, because we only need to collect information about all registered microservices. There is also a possibility to include Spring Boot Admin to your Eureka server instance, but admin context should be changed (property spring.boot.admin.context-path) to prevent clash with Eureka UI. Here’s application.yml configuration file for the sample with independent admin service.

eureka:
  client:
    registryFetchIntervalSeconds: 5
    registerWithEureka: false
    serviceUrl:
      defaultZone: ${DISCOVERY_URL:http://localhost:8761}/eureka/
  instance:
    leaseRenewalIntervalInSeconds: 10

management:
  security:
    enabled: false

Here is the list of dependencies included in pom.xml.

<dependencies>
	<dependency>
		<groupId>org.springframework.cloud</groupId>
		<artifactId>spring-cloud-starter-eureka</artifactId>
	</dependency>
	<dependency>
		<groupId>de.codecentric</groupId>
		<artifactId>spring-boot-admin-server</artifactId>
		<version>1.5.1</version>
	</dependency>
	<dependency>
		<groupId>de.codecentric</groupId>
		<artifactId>spring-boot-admin-server-ui</artifactId>
		<version>1.5.1</version>
	</dependency>
</dependencies>

Now you only need to build and run your server with java -jar admin-service.jar. UI dashboard is available under http://localhost:8080 as you on the figure below. Services are grouped by name and there is information how many instances of each microservice is running.

boot-admin-1

On the client side we have to add those two dependencies below. Spring Boot Actuator is required as a mentioned before, Jolokia library is used for more advanced features like JMX mbeans and log level management.

<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-actuator</artifactId>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>org.jolokia</groupId>
	<artifactId>jolokia-core</artifactId>
</dependency>

To display information visible in the figure below like version, Git commit details below for each application we need to add two maven plugins into pom.xml. First of them will generate build-info.properties file with most important application info. Second includes git.properties file with all information about last commit. Result are available under Spring Boot Actuator info endpoint.

<plugin>
	<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-boot-maven-plugin</artifactId>
	<configuration>
		<mainClass>pl.piomin.microservices.account.Application</mainClass>
		<addResources>true</addResources>
	</configuration>
	<executions>
		<execution>
			<goals>
				<goal>build-info</goal>
				<goal>repackage</goal>
			</goals>
			<configuration>
				<additionalProperties>
					<java.target>${maven.compiler.target}</java.target>
					<time>${maven.build.timestamp}</time>
				</additionalProperties>
			</configuration>
		</execution>
	</executions>
</plugin>
<plugin>
	<groupId>pl.project13.maven</groupId>
	<artifactId>git-commit-id-plugin</artifactId>
	<configuration>
		<failOnNoGitDirectory>false</failOnNoGitDirectory>
	</configuration>
</plugin>

I created two microservices in the sample application account-service and customer-service. Run some instances of them on different ports with command java -jar -DPORT=[port] [service-name].jar. Information visible in Version and Info columns is taken from build-info.properties and git.properties files.

boot-admin-2

Here’s full list of parameters for account-service.

boot-admin-3-details

There also some other interesting features offered by Spring Boot Admin. In the Trace section we can browse HTTP requestes and responses history with date, status and method information. It could be filtered by path fragment.

boot-admin-1-trace

By adding Jolokia dependency we are able to view and change log level for every category in the Logging section.

boot-admin-5-logs

We can collect configuration details for every instance of microservice.

boot-admin-7-env

In the Journal tab there is list of status changes for all services monitored by Spring Boot Admin.

boot-admin-11-journal

Conclusion

Spring Boot Admin is an excellent tool for visualizing endpoints exposed by Spring Boot Actuator with healhchecks and application details. It has easy integration with Spring Cloud and can group all running instances of microservice by its name taken from Eureka (or some other registration and discovery servers) registry. However, I see a lack of the possibility for remote application restart. I think it would be quite easy to implement using a tool such as Ansible and the information displayed by the Spring Boot Actuator endpoints.

Generating large PDF files using JasperReports

During the last ‘Code Europe’ conference in Warsaw appeared many topics related to microservices architecture. Several times I heard the conclusion that the best candidate for separation from monolith is service that generates PDF reports. It’s usually quite independent from the other parts of application. I can see a similar approach in my organization, where first microservice running in production mode was the one that generates PDF reports. To my surprise, the vendor which developed that microservice had to increase maximum heap size to 1GB on each of its instances. This has forced me to take a closer look at the topic of PDF reports generation process.
The most popular Java library for creating PDF files is JasperReports. During generation process, this library by default stores all objects in RAM memory. If such reports are large, this could be a problem my vendor encountered. Their solution, as I have mentioned before, was to increase the maximum size of Java heap 🙂

This time, unlike usual, I’m going to start with the test implementation. Here’s simple JUnit test with 20 requests per second sending to service endpoint.

public class JasperApplicationTest {

	protected Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(JasperApplicationTest.class.getName());
	TestRestTemplate template = new TestRestTemplate();

	@Test
	public void testGetReport() throws InterruptedException {
		List<HttpStatus> responses = new ArrayList<>();
		Random r = new Random();
		int i = 0;
		for (; i < 20; i++) {
			new Thread(new Runnable() {
				@Override
				public void run() {
					int age = r.nextInt(99);
					long start = System.currentTimeMillis();
					ResponseEntity<InputStreamResource> res = template.getForEntity("http://localhost:2222/pdf/{age}", InputStreamResource.class, age);
					logger.info("Response (" +  (System.currentTimeMillis()-start) + "): " + res.getStatusCode());
					responses.add(res.getStatusCode());
					try {
						Thread.sleep(50);
					} catch (InterruptedException e) {
						e.printStackTrace();
					}
				}
			}).start();
		}

		while (responses.size() != i) {
			Thread.sleep(500);
		}
		logger.info("Test finished");
	}
}

In my test scenario I inserted about 1M records into the person table. Everything works fine during running test. Generated files had about 500kb size and 200 pages. All requests were succeeded and each of them had been processed about 8 seconds. In comparison with single request which had been processed 4 seconds it seems to be a good result. The situation with RAM is worse as you can see in the figure below. After generating 20 PDF reports allocated heap size increases to more than 1GB and used heap size was about 550MB. Also CPU usage during report generation increased to 100% usage. I could easily image generating files bigger than 500kb in the production mode…

jasper-1

In our situation we have two options. We can always add more RAM memory or … look for another choice 🙂 Jasper library comes with solution – Virtualizers. The virtualizer cuts the jasper report print into different files and save them on the hard drive and/or compress it. There are three types of virtualizers:
JRFileVirtualizer, JRSwapFileVirtualizer and JRGzipVirtualizer. You can read more about them here. Now, look at the figure below. Here’s illustration of memory and CPU usage for the test with JRFileVirtualizer. It looks a little better than the previous figure, but it does not knock us down 🙂 However, requests with the same overload as for the previous test take much longer – about 30 seconds. It’s not a good message, but at least the heap size allocation is not increases as fast as for previous sample.

jasper-2

Same test has been performed for JRSwapFileVirtualizer. The requests was average processed around 10 seconds. The graph illustrating CPU and memory usage is rather more similar to in memory test than JRFileVirtualizer test.

jasper-3

To see the difference between those three scenarios we have to run our application with maximum heap size set. For my tests I set -Xmx128m -Xms128m. For test with file virtualizers we receive HTTP responses with PDF reports, but for in memory tests the exception is thrown by the sample application: java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: GC overhead limit exceeded.

For testing purposes I created Spring Boot application. Sample source code is available as usual on GitHub. Here’s full list of Maven dependencies for that project.

<dependency>
	<groupId>net.sf.jasperreports</groupId>
	<artifactId>jasperreports</artifactId>
	<version>6.4.0</version>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-web</artifactId>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-data-jpa</artifactId>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
	<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-test</artifactId>
	<scope>test</scope>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>mysql</groupId>
	<artifactId>mysql-connector-java</artifactId>
	<scope>runtime</scope>
</dependency>

Here’s application main class. There are @Bean declarations of file virtualizers and JasperReport which is responsible for template compilation from .jrxml file. To run application for testing purposes type java -jar -Xms64m -Xmx128m -Ddirectory=C:\Users\minkowp\pdf sample-jasperreport-boot.jar.

@SpringBootApplication
public class JasperApplication {

	@Value("${directory}")
	private String directory;

	public static void main(String[] args) {
		SpringApplication.run(JasperApplication.class, args);
	}

	@Bean
	JasperReport report() throws JRException {
		JasperReport jr = null;
		File f = new File("personReport.jasper");
		if (f.exists()) {
			jr = (JasperReport) JRLoader.loadObject(f);
		} else {
			jr = JasperCompileManager.compileReport("src/main/resources/report.jrxml");
			JRSaver.saveObject(jr, "personReport.jasper");
		}
		return jr;
	}

	@Bean
	JRFileVirtualizer fileVirtualizer() {
		return new JRFileVirtualizer(100, directory);
	}

	@Bean
	JRSwapFileVirtualizer swapFileVirtualizer() {
		JRSwapFile sf = new JRSwapFile(directory, 1024, 100);
		return new JRSwapFileVirtualizer(20, sf, true);
	}

}

There are three endpoints exposed for the tests:
/pdf/{age} – in memory PDF generation
/pdf/fv/{age} – PDF generation with JRFileVirtualizer
/pdf/sfv/{age} – PDF generation with JRSwapFileVirtualizer

Here’s method generating PDF report. Report is generated in fillReport static method from JasperFillManager. It takes three parameters as input: JasperReport which encapsulates compiled .jrxml template file, JDBC connection object and map of parameters. Then report is ganerated and saved on disk as a PDF file. File is returned as an attachement in the response.

	private ResponseEntity<InputStreamResource> generateReport(String name, Map<String, Object> params) {
		FileInputStream st = null;
		Connection cc = null;
		try {
			cc = datasource.getConnection();
			JasperPrint p = JasperFillManager.fillReport(jasperReport, params, cc);
			JRPdfExporter exporter = new JRPdfExporter();
			SimpleOutputStreamExporterOutput c = new SimpleOutputStreamExporterOutput(name);
			exporter.setExporterInput(new SimpleExporterInput(p));
			exporter.setExporterOutput(c);
			exporter.exportReport();

			st = new FileInputStream(name);
			HttpHeaders responseHeaders = new HttpHeaders();
			responseHeaders.setContentType(MediaType.valueOf("application/pdf"));
			responseHeaders.setContentDispositionFormData("attachment", name);
			responseHeaders.setContentLength(st.available());
		    return new ResponseEntity<InputStreamResource>(new InputStreamResource(st), responseHeaders, HttpStatus.OK);
		} catch (Exception e) {
			e.printStackTrace();
		} finally {
			fv.cleanup();
			sfv.cleanup();
			if (cc != null)
				try {
					cc.close();
				} catch (SQLException e) {
					e.printStackTrace();
				}
		}
		return null;
	}

To enable virtualizer during report generation we only have to pass one parameter to the map of parameters – instance of virtualizer object.

	@Autowired
	JRFileVirtualizer fv;
	@Autowired
	JRSwapFileVirtualizer sfv;
	@Autowired
	DataSource datasource;
	@Autowired
	JasperReport jasperReport;

	@ResponseBody
	@RequestMapping(value = "/pdf/fv/{age}")
	public ResponseEntity<InputStreamResource> getReportFv(@PathVariable("age") int age) {
		logger.info("getReportFv(" + age + ")");
		Map<String, Object> m = new HashMap<>();
		m.put(JRParameter.REPORT_VIRTUALIZER, fv);
		m.put("age", age);
		String name = ++count + "personReport.pdf";
		return generateReport(name, m);
	}

Template file report.jrxml is available under /src/main/resources directory. Inside queryString tag there is SQL query which takes age parameter in WHERE statement. There are also five columns declared all taken from SQL query result.

<?xml version = "1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE jasperReport PUBLIC "//JasperReports//DTD Report Design//EN"    "http://jasperreports.sourceforge.net/dtds/jasperreport.dtd">

<jasperReport xmlns="http://jasperreports.sourceforge.net/jasperreports"               xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"               xsi:schemaLocation="http://jasperreports.sourceforge.net/jasperreports    http://jasperreports.sourceforge.net/xsd/jasperreport.xsd"               name="report2" pageWidth="595" pageHeight="842"                columnWidth="555" leftMargin="20" rightMargin="20"               topMargin="20" bottomMargin="20">
    <parameter name="age" class="java.lang.Integer"/>
    <queryString>
        <![CDATA[SELECT * FROM person WHERE age = $P{age}]]>
    </queryString>
    <field name="id" class="java.lang.Integer" />
    <field name="first_name" class="java.lang.String" />
    <field name="last_name" class="java.lang.String" />
    <field name="age" class="java.lang.Integer" />
    <field name="pesel" class="java.lang.String" />

    <detail>
        <band height="15">

            <textField>
                <reportElement x="0" y="0" width="50" height="15" />

                <textElement textAlignment="Right" verticalAlignment="Middle"/>

                <textFieldExpression class="java.lang.Integer">
                    <![CDATA[$F{id}]]>
                </textFieldExpression>
            </textField>       

            <textField>
                <reportElement x="100" y="0" width="80" height="15" />

                <textElement textAlignment="Left" verticalAlignment="Middle"/>

                <textFieldExpression class="java.lang.String">
                    <![CDATA[$F{first_name}]]>
                </textFieldExpression>
            </textField> 

            <textField>
                <reportElement x="200" y="0" width="80" height="15" />

                <textElement textAlignment="Left" verticalAlignment="Middle"/>

                <textFieldExpression class="java.lang.String">
                    <![CDATA[$F{last_name}]]>
                </textFieldExpression>
            </textField>               

            <textField>
                <reportElement x="300" y="0" width="50" height="15"/>
                <textElement textAlignment="Right" verticalAlignment="Middle"/>

                <textFieldExpression class="java.lang.Integer">
                    <![CDATA[$F{age}]]>
                </textFieldExpression>
            </textField>

           <textField>
                <reportElement x="380" y="0" width="80" height="15" />

                <textElement textAlignment="Left" verticalAlignment="Middle"/>

                <textFieldExpression class="java.lang.String">
                    <![CDATA[$F{pesel}]]>
                </textFieldExpression>
            </textField>         

        </band>
    </detail>

</jasperReport>

And the last thing we have to do is to properly set database connection pool settings. A natural choice for Spring Boot application is Tomcat JDBC pool.

spring:
  application:
    name: jasper-service
  datasource:
    url: jdbc:mysql://192.168.99.100:33306/datagrid?useSSL=false
    username: datagrid
    password: datagrid
    tomcat:
      initial-size: 20
      max-active: 30

Final words

In this article I showed you how to avoid out of memory exception while generating large PDF reports with JasperReports. I compared three solutions: in memory generation and two methods based on cutting the jasper print into different files and save them on the hard drive. For me, the most interesting was the solution based on single swapped file with JRSwapFileVirtualizer. It is slower a little than in memory generation but works faster than similar tests for JRFileVirtualizer and in contrast to in memory generation didn’t avoid out of memory exception for files larger than 500kb with 20 requests per second.

Exposing Microservices over REST Protocol Buffers

Today exposing RESTful API with JSON protocol is the most common standard. We can find many articles describing advantages and disadvantages of JSON versus XML. Both these protocols exchange messages in text format. If an important aspect affecting to the choice of communication protocol in your systems is performance you should definitely pay attention to Protocol Buffers. It is a binary format created by Google as:

A language-neutral, platform-neutral, extensible way of serializing structured data for use in communications protocols, data storage, and more.

Protocol Buffers, which is sometimes referred as Protobuf is not only a message format but also a set of language rules that define the structure of messages. It is extremely useful in service to service communication what has been very well described in that article Beating JSON performance with Protobuf. In that example Protobuf was about 5 times faster than JSON for tests based on Spring Boot framework.

Introduction to Protocol Buffers can be found here. My sample is similar to previous samples from my weblog – it is based on two microservices account and customer which calls one of account’s endpoint. Let’s begin from message types definition provided inside .proto file. Place your .proto file in src/main/proto directory. Here’s account.proto defined in account service. We set java_package and java_outer_classname to define package and name of Java generated class. Message definition syntax is pretty intuitive. Account object generated from that file has three properties id, customerId and number. There is also Accounts object which wrappes list of Account objects.

syntax = "proto3";

package model;

option java_package = "pl.piomin.services.protobuf.account.model";
option java_outer_classname = "AccountProto";

message Accounts {
	repeated Account account = 1;
}

message Account {

	int32 id = 1;
	string number = 2;
	int32 customer_id = 3;

}

Here’s .proto file definition from customer service. It a little more complicated than the previous one from account service. In addition to its definitions it contains definitions of account service messages, because they are used by @Feign client.

syntax = "proto3";

package model;

option java_package = "pl.piomin.services.protobuf.customer.model";
option java_outer_classname = "CustomerProto";

message Accounts {
	repeated Account account = 1;
}

message Account {

	int32 id = 1;
	string number = 2;
	int32 customer_id = 3;

}

message Customers {
	repeated Customer customers = 1;
}

message Customer {

	int32 id = 1;
	string pesel = 2;
	string name = 3;
	CustomerType type = 4;
	repeated Account accounts = 5;

	enum CustomerType {
		INDIVIDUAL = 0;
		COMPANY = 1;
	}

}

We generate source code from the message definitions above by using protobuf-maven-plugin maven plugin. Plugin needs to have protocExecutable file location set. It can be downloaded from Google’s Protocol Buffer download site.

<plugin>
	<groupId>org.xolstice.maven.plugins</groupId>
	<artifactId>protobuf-maven-plugin</artifactId>
	<version>0.5.0</version>
	<executions>
		<execution>
			<id>protobuf-compile</id>
			<phase>generate-sources</phase>
			<goals>
				<goal>compile</goal>
			</goals>
			<configuration>
				<outputDirectory>src/main/generated</outputDirectory>
				<protocExecutable>${proto.executable}</protocExecutable>
			</configuration>
		</execution>
	</executions>
</plugin>

Protobuf classes are generated into src/main/generated output directory. Let’s add that source directory to maven sources with build-helper-maven-plugin.

<plugin>
	<groupId>org.codehaus.mojo</groupId>
	<artifactId>build-helper-maven-plugin</artifactId>
	<executions>
		<execution>
			<id>add-source</id>
			<phase>generate-sources</phase>
			<goals>
				<goal>add-source</goal>
			</goals>
			<configuration>
				<sources>
					<source>src/main/generated</source>
				</sources>
			</configuration>
		</execution>
	</executions>
</plugin>

Sample application source code is available on GitHub. Before proceeding to the next steps build application using mvn clean install command. Generated classes are available under src/main/generated and our microservices are ready to run. Now, let me describe some implementation details. We need two dependencies in maven pom.xml to use Protobuf.

<dependency>
	<groupId>com.google.protobuf</groupId>
	<artifactId>protobuf-java</artifactId>
	<version>3.3.1</version>
</dependency>
<dependency>
	<groupId>com.googlecode.protobuf-java-format</groupId>
	<artifactId>protobuf-java-format</artifactId>
	<version>1.4</version>
</dependency>

Then, we need to declare default HttpMessageConverter @Bean and inject it into RestTemplate @Bean.

    @Bean
    @Primary
    ProtobufHttpMessageConverter protobufHttpMessageConverter() {
        return new ProtobufHttpMessageConverter();
    }

    @Bean
    RestTemplate restTemplate(ProtobufHttpMessageConverter hmc) {
        return new RestTemplate(Arrays.asList(hmc));
    }

Here’s REST @Controller code. Account and Accounts from AccountProto generated class are returned as a response body in all three API methods visible below. All objects generated from .proto files have newBuilder method used for creating new object instances. I also set application/x-protobuf as default response content type.

@RestController
public class AccountController {

	@Autowired
	AccountRepository repository;

	protected Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(AccountController.class.getName());

	@RequestMapping(value = "/accounts/{number}", produces = "application/x-protobuf")
	public Account findByNumber(@PathVariable("number") String number) {
		logger.info(String.format("Account.findByNumber(%s)", number));
		return repository.findByNumber(number);
	}

	@RequestMapping(value = "/accounts/customer/{customer}", produces = "application/x-protobuf")
	public Accounts findByCustomer(@PathVariable("customer") Integer customerId) {
		logger.info(String.format("Account.findByCustomer(%s)", customerId));
		return Accounts.newBuilder().addAllAccount(repository.findByCustomer(customerId)).build();
	}

	@RequestMapping(value = "/accounts", produces = "application/x-protobuf")
	public Accounts findAll() {
		logger.info("Account.findAll()");
		return Accounts.newBuilder().addAllAccount(repository.findAll()).build();
	}

}

Method GET /accounts/customer/{customer} is called from customer service using @Feign client.

@FeignClient(value = "account-service")
public interface AccountClient {

    @RequestMapping(method = RequestMethod.GET, value = "/accounts/customer/{customerId}")
    Accounts getAccounts(@PathVariable("customerId") Integer customerId);

}

We can easily test described configuration using JUnit test class visible below.

@SpringBootTest(webEnvironment = WebEnvironment.RANDOM_PORT)
@RunWith(SpringRunner.class)
public class AccountApplicationTest {

	protected Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(AccountApplicationTest.class.getName());

	@Autowired
	TestRestTemplate template;

	@Test
	public void testFindByNumber() {
		Account a = this.template.getForObject("/accounts/{id}", Account.class, "111111");
		logger.info("Account[\n" + a + "]");
	}

	@Test
	public void testFindByCustomer() {
		Accounts a = this.template.getForObject("/accounts/customer/{customer}", Accounts.class, "2");
		logger.info("Accounts[\n" + a + "]");
	}

	@Test
	public void testFindAll() {
		Accounts a = this.template.getForObject("/accounts", Accounts.class);
		logger.info("Accounts[\n" + a + "]");
	}

	@TestConfiguration
	static class Config {

		@Bean
		public RestTemplateBuilder restTemplateBuilder() {
			return new RestTemplateBuilder().additionalMessageConverters(new ProtobufHttpMessageConverter());
		}

	}

}

Conclusion

This article shows how to enable Protocol Buffers for microservices project based on Spring Boot. Protocol Buffer is an alternative to text-based protocols like XML or JSON and surpasses them in terms of performance. Adapt to this protocol using in Spring Boot application is pretty simple. For microservices we can still uses Spring Cloud components like Feign or Ribbon in combination with Protocol Buffers same as with REST over JSON or XML.