Riemann - a Clojure application on OSv

Riemann - a Clojure Application on OSv

By Tzach Livyatan

Clojure applications run on the JVM, so they’re usually simple to run on OSv. We have hello world in Clojure running, but this time I wanted to port a real, non-toy, Clojure application. I chose Riemann, a widely-used application for aggregating system events (and more).

I used Capstan, a tool for building and running applications on OSv. Jump to the end result, or follow the steps I took:

Following the Capstan guideline, I added a Capstanfile to the project. Here are the parts of Capstanfile you need to know about:

  • Set the base image. In this case I chose a base image with Java (open-jdk)
    base: cloudius/osv-openjdk
  • Build the jar file, taking advantage of the lein uberjar command, which packages the application with all dependencies into one jar file.
    build: lein uberjar
  • Copy the build artifacts to the base image, producing a new image:
      /riemann.jar: ./target/riemann-0.2.5-SNAPSHOT-standalone.jar
      /riemann.config: ./riemann.config

I also copy the config file, which Riemann will look for.

  • The run command for the VM is executed when the VM starts.
    cmdline: /java.so -jar /riemann.jar

That’s it. Done with the Capstanfile.

Let’s test it!

>capstan run
WARN [2014-04-13 14:11:22,029] Thread-9 - riemann.core - instrumentation service caught
java.io.IOException: Cannot run program "hostname": error=0, vfork failed
	at java.lang.ProcessBuilder.start(ProcessBuilder.java:1041)
	at java.lang.Runtime.exec(Runtime.java:617)
	at clojure.java.shell$sh.doInvoke(shell.clj:116)
	at clojure.lang.RestFn.invoke(RestFn.java:408)

No luck. It turns out that Riemann is using

(sh "hostname")

which uses vfork to run a child process. On any OS its not very efficient to fork just to get the hostname, and on current OSv it simply won’t work. To bypass the problem, I replace this call with:

(.getHostName (java.net.InetAddress/getLocalHost))

which uses a Java getHostName.

Let’s try again

>capstan run

This time it works, but how do I test it and connect to it?

Let’s use Capstan port forwarding

capstan run -f 5555:5555 -f 5556:5556

This will forward host ports 5555 and 5556 to the corresponding ports on the OSv VM.

Success :)

Now we can switch to another terminal and run:


to generate traffic for Riemann and


to launch a Riemann web GUI. Here is how it looks:

"Riemann GUI riemann-dash

Now we’re ready to do further stress testing. If you do find any problem, or have any question, you’re invited to join the osv-dev list and ask, or post an issue to the GitHub repository.

Tzach Livyatan