Benchmark Open Commerce Search Stack with Rally

Benchmark Open Commerce Search Stack
with Rally

In my last article, we learned how to create and run a Rally-Track. In this article, we’ll take a deeper and look at a real-world Rally example. I’ve chosen to use OCSS, where we can easily have more than 50.000 documents in our index and about 100.000 operations per day. So let’s begin by identifying which challenges make sense for our sample project.

Identify what you want to test for your benchmarking

Before benchmarking, it must be clear what we want to test. This is needed to prepare the Rally tracks and determine which data to use for the benchmark. In our case, we want to benchmark the user’s perspective on our stack. The open-commerce search stack, or OCSS, uses ElasticSearch for a commerce search engine. In this context, a user has two main tasks within ElasticSearch:

  • searching
  • indexing

We can now divide these two operations into three cases. Below, you will find them listed in order of importance for the project at hand:

  1. searching
  2. searching while indexing
  3. indexing


In the context of OCSS, search performance has a direct impact on usability. As a result, search performance is the benchmark we focus on most in our stack. Furthermore, [OCSS] does more than transforming the user query into a simple ElasticSearch query. OCSS goes a step further and uses a single search query to generate one or more complex ElasticSearch queries (take a look here for more detailed explanation). For this reason, our test must account for this as well.

Searching while Indexing

Sometimes it’s necessary to simultaneously search and index your complete product data. The current [OCSS] search index is independent of the product data. This architecture was born out of Elasticsearch’s lack of native standard tools (not requiring hackarounds over snapshots) to clearly and permanently define nodes for indexing and nodes for searching. As a result, the indexing load influences the whole cluster performance. This must be benchmarked.


The impact of indexing time to the user within OCSS is marginal. However, in the interest of a comprehensive understanding of the data, we will also test indexing times independently. And rounding off our index tests: we want to determine how long a complete product index could possibly take to run.

What data should be used for testing and how to get it

For our benchmark, we will need two sets of data. The index data itself, with the index settings and the search queries from OCSS to ElasticSearch. The index data and settings within Elasticsearch are easily extracted using the Rally create-track command. Enabling the spring-profile: trace-searches allows us to retrieve the Elasticsearch queries generated by the OCSS based on the user query. Then configure the logback function in OCSS so that each search records to the searches.log. This log contains both the raw user query and the generated Elasticsearch query from OCSS.

How to create a track under normal circumstances

After we have the data and basic track (generated by the create-track command) without challenges, it’s time to execute our challenges from above. However, because Rally has no operation to iterate and subsequently render every file line as a search, we would have to create a custom runner to provide this operation.

Do it the OCSS way

We will not do this by hand in our sample but rather enable the trace-searches profile and use the OCSS bash script to extract the index data and settings. This will generate a track based on the index and search data outlined in the cases above.

So once we have OCSS up and running and enough time has passed to gather a representative number of searches, we can use the script to create a track using production data. For more information, please take a look here. The picture below is a good representation of what we’re looking at:

Make sure you have all requirements installed before running the following commands.

First off: identify the data index within OCSS: