Apache JMeter™ can perform load testing for streaming by the Azure Media Services.
This tutorial explains how to load testing to Azure Media Services streaming from JMeter with BlazeMeter - Video Streaming Plugin (HLS Plugin) and how to view that results.

In this case, the streaming videos are available to the public without any content protection.

Also, since JMeter and that plugin do not provide reports and graphs appropriate for load testing of video streaming, send the results to Azure Application Insights so that you can view the results in Application Insights and Log Analytics.

Not only Azure Media Services, but also other video delivery servers, you can do the same to view the results.

Outline of steps

  1. Get the endpoint URL of the video streaming
  2. Get the endpoint URL of the Azure Application Insights
  3. Install JMeter plugins
  4. Add a Thread Group
  5. Add a bzm - Streaming Sampler
  6. Add a backend listener
  7. Run the test
  8. View results with Application Insights / Log Analytics

Details of steps

  1. Get the endpoint URL of the video streaming
    Get the streaming video endpoint URL by Azure Media Service.
    In Azure Portal, go to "Assets (new) > {target asset}" of the target media service and click "Show URLs" to note down the endpoint URL of the protocol to be tested.
    This value will be used later in the configuration of the Streaming Sampler in JMeter.
    Streaming URL
  2. Get the endpoint URL of the Azure Application Insights
    Get the Application Insights Instrumentation Key that JMeter will send the results to.
    In Azure Portal, note the instrumentation key from the Application Insights Overview.
    This value will be used later in the configuration of the Backend Listener in JMeter.
    Application Insights - Instrumentation Key
  3. Install JMeter plugins
    Install the BlazeMeter - Video Streaming Plugin (HLS Plugin), a sampler for MPEG-DASH and HLS streaming, and the jmeter-backend-azure plugin to send JMeter results to Azure Application Insights.
    • Install the JMeter Plugins Manager
      1. Download JMeter Plugins Manager
        Download the latest version of JMeter Plugins Manager from the following site.
        https://jmeter-plugins.org/install/Install/
      2. Place the downloaded file in the JMeter plugin directory
        Copy the JMeter Plugins Manager jar file that you just downloaded to $JMETER_HOME/lib/ext.
    • Install plugins
      1. Start or restart the JMeter
      2. Start the "JMeter Plugins Manager" from the menu Options > Plugins Manager.
      3. In the Available Plugins tab, select "BlazeMeter - HLS Plugin" and "Azure Backend listener", and Click [Apply Changes and Restart JMeter] to restart the JMeter.

    BlazeMeter - Video Streaming Plugin version 3.0.3 or earlier does not support HLS protocol delivery from Azure Media Services.
    You can use version 3.1 or later, or replace version 3.0.3 with a jar file that I customized.

  4. Add a Thread Group
    Add a "Thread Group" to the Test Plan.
    Add > Threads (Users) > Thread Group
  5. Add a bzm - Streaming Sampler
    Add a "bzm - Streaming Sampler" to the Thread Group.
    Add > Sampler > bzm - Streaming Sampler
    bzm - Streaming Sampler
    • Video
      • URL: Enter the Azure Media Services endpoint URL that you noted earlier.
        eg.)

        https://jmeterdemo-jpea.streaming.media.azure.net/00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000/Filename.ism/manifest(format=m3u8-aapl)
        
    • Protocol
      If you want to test the HLS protocol from Azure Media Services, you need to select "HLS".
      For MPEG-DASH, please select either "Automatic" or "MPEG-DASH".

    Make the appropriate selection in Bandwidth and Resolution.
    (In most cases, you will probably choose Max for both.)

  6. Add a backend listener
    Add a "Backend Listener" to the test plan or thread group.
    Add > Listener > Backend Listener
    Backend Listener
    • Backend Listener implementation: "io.github.adrianmo.jmeter.backendlistener.azure.AzureBackendClient"
    • Parameters
      • testName:
        Name of the test. This value is used to differentiate metrics across test runs or plans in Application Insights and allow you to filter them.
      • instrumentationKey:
        The Application Insights Instrumentation Key that you noted earlier.
      • responseHeaders: "X-MEDIA-SEGMENT-DURATION"
  7. Run the test

View results with Application Insights / Log Analytics

This time, view result in Workbooks of Application Insights.
Note that the table and column names are different between Application Insights and Log Analytics.
This is a mapping of the table and columns referenced in the samples in this article.

- Application Insights Log Analytics
Table requests AppRequests
Columns name Name
success Success
duration DurationMs
customDimensions Properties
  1. Create Application Insights Workbook
    Open the Application Insights Workbooks to which JMeter is sending the results and click "Empty" in the Quick start.
    Workbooks - Gallery

  2. Add parameters
    To create a selection of test results to be displayed, "+ Add" > "Add parameter" and add the following parameters.

    • Parameter 1

      • Parameter name: DaysAgo
      • Display name: Last ? days
      • Parameter type: Text
      • Required?: On
      • Add Validations
        • Regular Expression: ^[0-9]+$
        • Match: On
        • Message: Enter a number greater than 1.
    • Parameter 2

      • Parameter name: name
      • Parameter type: Drop down
      • Required?: On
      • Get data from: Query
      • Application Insights Logs Query
        • Time Range: Set in query

        • Kusto

          requests
          | where timestamp >= ago({DaysAgo}d)
          | summarize
              TestStartTime
                  = max(tolong(customDimensions.TestStartTime))
              by name = tostring(name)
          | sort by TestStartTime desc
          | project name
          
    • Parameter 3

      • Parameter name: TestStartTime
      • Parameter type: Drop down
      • Required?: On
      • Get data from: Query
      • Application Insights Logs Query
        • Time Range: Set in query

        • Kusto

          requests
          | where name == "{name}"
              and timestamp >= ago({DaysAgo}d)
          | extend TestStartTime
              = tostring(customDimensions.TestStartTime)
          | distinct TestStartTime
          | project
              TestStartTime,
              formattedTestStartTime
                  = format_datetime(
                      unixtime_milliseconds_todatetime(tolong(TestStartTime)),
                      'yyyy/MM/dd HH:mm:ss'
                  )
          | sort by TestStartTime desc
          
    • Parameter 4

      • Parameter name: interval

      • Parameter type: Drop down

      • Required?: On

      • : interval for graph

      • Get data from: JSON

      • JSON Input

        ["1s", "1m", "10m", "1h", "1d"]
        

    Once you are done with the settings, choose the appropriate value.
    Parameters

  3. Create Video Streaming Report
    Click "+ Add" > "Add query" to add the table.

    • Time Range: Set in query
    • Application Insights Logs Query
    requests
    | where name == "{name}"
        and customDimensions.TestStartTime == "{TestStartTime}"
    | extend seg = iif(success == True, (duration / (toreal(customDimensions.['aih.x-media-segment-duration']) * 1000)), real(null))
    | summarize
        Samples = count(),
        SegmentSamples = count(),
        Average = tolong(avg(duration)),
        Min = min(duration),
        Max = max(duration),
        MediaSegmentDuration = round(avg(toreal(customDimensions.['aih.x-media-segment-duration']) * 1000), 1),
        SegAvg = avg(seg),
        lt50per = countif(seg <= 0.5),
        50to90per = countif(seg > 0.5 and seg <= 0.9),
        90to100per = countif(seg > 0.9 and seg <= 1),
        gt100per = countif(seg > 1),
        ErrorCount = countif(success == false),
        ReceivedKB = sum(tolong(customDimensions.Bytes)),
        StartTime = min(tolong(customDimensions.SampleStartTime)),
        EndTime = max(tolong(customDimensions.SampleEndTime))
        by Label = tostring(customDimensions.SampleLabel)
    | extend s = 0
    | union (
    requests
    | where name == "{name}"
        and customDimensions.TestStartTime == "{TestStartTime}"
    | extend
        seg = iif(success == True, (duration / (toreal(customDimensions.['aih.x-media-segment-duration']) * 1000)), real(null)),
        segWerror = customDimensions.['aih.x-media-segment-duration']
    | summarize
        Samples = count(),
        SegmentSamples = countif(toreal(segWerror) > 0),
        Average = tolong(avg(duration)),
        Min = min(duration),
        Max = max(duration),
        MediaSegmentDuration = round(avg(toreal(customDimensions.['aih.x-media-segment-duration']) * 1000), 1),
        SegAvg = avg(seg),
        lt50per = countif(seg < 0.5),
        50to90per = countif(seg > 0.5 and seg <= 0.9),
        90to100per = countif(seg > 0.9 and seg <= 1),
        gt100per = countif(seg > 1),
        ErrorCount = countif(success == false),
        ReceivedKB = sum(tolong(customDimensions.Bytes)),
        StartTime = min(tolong(customDimensions.SampleStartTime)),
        EndTime = max(tolong(customDimensions.SampleEndTime))
    | extend Label = 'TOTAL', s = 9
    )
    | extend
        tp = Samples / ((EndTime - StartTime) / 1000.0),
        KBPeriod = (EndTime - StartTime) * 1024 / 1000.0
    | sort by s asc
    | project
        Label, Samples, ['Avg.'] = Average,
        Min, Max,
        ['Avg. seg. len.'] = iif(SegAvg >= 0, toreal(MediaSegmentDuration), real(null)),
        ['Resp. / Seg. len.'] = iif(SegAvg >= 0, strcat(round(SegAvg * 100, 3), '%'), ''),
        ['<50%'] = iif(SegAvg >= 0, strcat(round(lt50per * 100.0 / SegmentSamples, 2), '%'), ''),
        ['50-90%'] = iif(SegAvg >= 0, strcat(round(50to90per * 100.0 / SegmentSamples, 2), '%'), ''),
        ['90-100%'] = iif(SegAvg >= 0, strcat(round(90to100per * 100.0 / SegmentSamples, 2), '%'), ''),
        ['>100%'] = iif(SegAvg >= 0, strcat(round(gt100per * 100.0 / SegmentSamples, 2), '%'), ''),
        ['Error %'] = strcat(round(ErrorCount * 100.0 / Samples, 2), '%'),
        ['Throughput'] = iif(tp < 1.0,
                            strcat(round(tp * 60, 1), '/min'),
                            strcat(round(tp, 1), '/sec')
                        ),
        ['Received KB/sec'] = round(ReceivedKB / KBPeriod, 2),
        ['Avg. Bytes'] = round(ReceivedKB / toreal(Samples), 1)
    | project-reorder
        Label, Samples, ['Avg.'], Min, Max,
        ['Avg. seg. len.'], 
        ['Resp. / Seg. len.'],
        ['<50%'], ['50-90%'], ['90-100%'], ['>100%'],
        ['Error %'], ['Throughput'],
        ['Received KB/sec'], ['Avg. Bytes']
    

    Video Streaming Report
    Based on the Summary Report, the following items have been added.

    • Avg. seg. len.: Average length of media segments (ms).
    • Resp. / Seg. len.: Response time as a percentage of media segment length.
    • <50%: Percentage of requests with a response time of less than 50% of the media segment length.
    • 50-90%: Percentage of requests with response times between 50% and 90% of the media segment length.
    • 90-100%: Percentage of requests with response times between 90% and 100% of the media segment length.
    • >100%: Percentage of requests whose response time exceeds the length of the media segment.
  4. Create Graph
    Click "+ Add" > "Add query" to add the Graph.
    Plot the segment length in milliseconds and response time for the Video segment and Audio segment.

    • Application Insights Logs Query
    requests
    | where name == "{name}"
        and customDimensions.TestStartTime == "{TestStartTime}"
        and customDimensions.SampleLabel matches regex "- (audio|video|media) segment$"
    | extend
        Label = customDimensions.SampleLabel,
        SampleStartTime
            =  unixtime_milliseconds_todatetime(tolong(customDimensions.SampleStartTime)),
        SegmentDuration = toreal(customDimensions.['aih.x-media-segment-duration']) * 1000
    | summarize
        ['audio resp.'] = avgif(duration, Label hassuffix "- audio segment"),
        ['audio length'] = avgif(SegmentDuration, Label hassuffix "- audio segment"),
        ['video resp.'] = avgif(duration, Label hassuffix "- video segment"),
        ['video length'] = avgif(SegmentDuration, Label hassuffix "- video segment"),
        ['media resp.'] = avgif(duration, Label hassuffix "- media segment"),
        ['media length'] = avgif(SegmentDuration, Label hassuffix "- media segment")
        by bin(SampleStartTime, totimespan("{interval}"))
    | project
        SampleStartTime,
        ['audio resp.'],
        ['audio length'],
        ['video resp.'],
        ['video length'],
        ['media resp.'],
        ['media length']
    | render timechart
    
    • Time Range: Set in query
    • Chart Settings

      If the "Chat Settings" button does not appear, select something other than "Set by query" under "Visualization" and then select "Set by query" again.

      • Legend Settings
        • Show metric info: Off
        • Show series legend: On

    Video Streaming Graph

  5. Save the Workbook
    Click the "Save" icon to save the Workbook.

By selecting the parameters appropriately, you will see the following.
Video Streaming Report

If the response time of a request for a media segment exceeds the length of that media segment, it will consume the buffer that the player client has.
It is desirable to have a low response time to media segment length ratio, as this can add up to a client running out of buffers and waiting for media to play.

This is how to run tests against Azure Media Services streaming from JMeter and refer to the results in Azure Application Insights / Log Analytics.

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