Running Rally with Docker

Rally is available as a Docker image.


The following Rally functionality isn’t supported when using the Docker image:


You can test the Rally Docker image by first issuing a simple command to list the available tracks:

$ docker run elastic/rally list tracks

    ____        ____
   / __ \____ _/ / /_  __
  / /_/ / __ `/ / / / / /
 / _, _/ /_/ / / / /_/ /
/_/ |_|\__,_/_/_/\__, /

Available tracks:

Name           Description                                                                                                                                                                        Documents    Compressed Size    Uncompressed Size    Default Challenge        All Challenges
-------------  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  -----------  -----------------  -------------------  -----------------------  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
geopoint       Point coordinates from PlanetOSM                                                                                                                                                   60,844,404   481.9 MB           2.3 GB               append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts,append-no-conflicts-index-only,append-fast-with-conflicts
eventdata      This benchmark indexes HTTP access logs generated based sample logs from the website using the generator available in  20,000,000   755.1 MB           15.3 GB              append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts
nested         StackOverflow Q&A stored as nested docs                                                                                                                                            11,203,029   663.1 MB           3.4 GB               nested-search-challenge  nested-search-challenge,index-only
so             Indexing benchmark using up to questions and answers from StackOverflow                                                                                                            36,062,278   8.9 GB             33.1 GB              append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts
geoshape       Shapes from PlanetOSM                                                                                                                                                              60,523,283   13.4 GB            45.4 GB              append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts
http_logs      HTTP server log data                                                                                                                                                               247,249,096  1.2 GB             31.1 GB              append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts,append-no-conflicts-index-only,append-sorted-no-conflicts,append-index-only-with-ingest-pipeline,update
geonames       POIs from Geonames                                                                                                                                                                 11,396,505   252.4 MB           3.3 GB               append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts,append-no-conflicts-index-only,append-sorted-no-conflicts,append-fast-with-conflicts
noaa           Global daily weather measurements from NOAA                                                                                                                                        33,659,481   947.3 MB           9.0 GB               append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts,append-no-conflicts-index-only
percolator     Percolator benchmark based on AOL queries                                                                                                                                          2,000,000    102.7 kB           104.9 MB             append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts
nyc_taxis      Taxi rides in New York in 2015                                                                                                                                                     165,346,692  4.5 GB             74.3 GB              append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts,append-no-conflicts-index-only,append-sorted-no-conflicts-index-only,update,append-ml
geopointshape  Point coordinates from PlanetOSM indexed as geoshapes                                                                                                                              60,844,404   470.5 MB           2.6 GB               append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts,append-no-conflicts-index-only,append-fast-with-conflicts
metricbeat     Metricbeat data                                                                                                                                                                    1,079,600    87.6 MB            1.2 GB               append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts
pmc            Full text benchmark with academic papers from PMC                                                                                                                                  574,199      5.5 GB             21.7 GB              append-no-conflicts      append-no-conflicts,append-no-conflicts-index-only,append-sorted-no-conflicts,append-fast-with-conflicts

[INFO] SUCCESS (took 3 seconds)

As a next step, we assume that Elasticsearch is running on es01:9200 and is accessible from the host where you are running the Rally Docker image. Run the nyc_taxis track in test-mode using:

$ docker run elastic/rally race --track=nyc_taxis --test-mode --pipeline=benchmark-only --target-hosts=es01:9200


We didn’t need to explicitly specify esrally as we’d normally do in a normal CLI invocation; the entrypoint in the Docker image does this automatically.

Now you are able to use all regular Rally commands, bearing in mind the aforementioned limitations.


The Docker image ships with a default configuration file under /rally/.rally/rally.ini. To customize Rally you can create your own rally.ini and bind mount it using:

docker run -v /home/<myuser>/custom_rally.ini:/rally/.rally/rally.ini elastic/rally ...


It is highly recommended to use a local bind mount (or a named volume) for the directory /rally/.rally in the container. This will ensure you have persistence across invocations and any tracks downloaded and extracted can be reused, reducing the startup time. You need to ensure the UID is 1000 (or GID is 0 especially in OpenShift) so that Rally can write to the bind-mounted directory.

If your local bind mount doesn’t contain a rally.ini the container will create one for you during the first run.


mkdir myrally
sudo chgrp 0 myrally

# First run will also generate the rally.ini
docker run --rm -v $PWD/myrally:/rally/.rally elastic/rally race --track=nyc_taxis --test-mode --pipeline=benchmark-only --target-hosts=es01:9200


# inspect results
$ tree myrally/benchmarks/races/
└── 1d81930a-4ebe-4640-a09b-3055174bce43
    └── race.json

1 directory, 1 file

In case you forgot to bind mount a directory, the Rally Docker image will create an anonymous volume for /rally/.rally to ensure logs and results get persisted even after the container has terminated.

For example, after executing our earlier quickstart example docker run elastic/rally race --track=nyc_taxis --test-mode --pipeline=benchmark-only --target-hosts=es01:9200, docker volume ls shows a volume:

$ docker volume ls
local               96256462c3a1f61120443e6d69d9cb0091b28a02234318bdabc52b6801972199

To further examine the contents we can bind mount it from another image e.g.:

$ docker run --rm -i -v=96256462c3a1f61120443e6d69d9cb0091b28a02234318bdabc52b6801972199:/rallyvolume -ti python:3.8.2-slim /bin/bash
root@9a7dd7b3d8df:/# cd /rallyvolume/
root@9a7dd7b3d8df:/rallyvolume# ls
root@9a7dd7b3d8df:/rallyvolume/.rally# ls
benchmarks  logging.json  logs      rally.ini
# head -4 benchmarks/races/1d81930a-4ebe-4640-a09b-3055174bce43/race.json
 "rally-version": "1.2.1.dev0",
 "environment": "local",
 "race-id": "1d81930a-4ebe-4640-a09b-3055174bce43",

Specifics about the image

Rally runs as user 1000 and its files are installed with uid:gid 1000:0 (to support Arbitrary User IDs).

Extending the Docker image

You can also create your own customized Docker image on top of the existing one. The example below shows how to get started:

FROM elastic/rally:1.2.1
COPY --chown=1000:0 rally.ini /rally/.rally/

You can then build and test the image with:

docker build --tag=custom-rally .
docker run -ti custom-rally list tracks