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Run Chaos Toolkit locally with Docker

Docker is a fantastic approach to package up your Chaos Toolkit experiment dependencies and make it easy for anyone to run your experiments.

Official Images

Chaos Toolkit offers three base images you can use.

  • chaostoolkit/chaostoolkit:latest This is an Alpine based image and does not contain any extensions
  • chaostoolkit/chaostoolkit:basic This is an Ubuntu based image and does not contain any extensions
  • chaostoolkit/chaostoolkit:full This is an Ubuntu based image and does contains many popular extensions

Create your Own Container Image

While an image such as chaostoolkit/chaostoolkit:full is a good default to start with, you will likely want to create your own image with specific extensions and dependencies for your needs.

Let’s see how to get on about it.

FROM chaostoolkit/chaostoolkit:basic  # (1)!

COPY pyproject.toml pdm.lock /home/svc/  # (2)!

USER root  # (3)!

WORKDIR /home/svc

RUN apt-get update && \  # (4)!
    apt-get install -y --no-install-recommends curl python3.11-venv build-essential gcc && \  # (5)!
    curl -o -sSL && \  # (6)!
    python3.11 -p /home/svc && \  # (7)!
    export PATH=/home/svc/bin:$PATH && \
    pdm use .venv && \  # (8)!
    pdm install --no-editable --no-self && \  # (9)!
    rm && \
    chown --recursive svc:svc /home/svc/.venv  && \  # (10)!
    apt-get remove -y build-essential gcc && \  # (11)!
    apt-get clean && \
    rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*

USER 1001  # (12)!
  1. Let’s start with the Ubuntu base
  2. Copy the file listing the Python packages we want to install, see in the next section
  3. Switch back to the admin user as we need to run priviledged commands
  4. Refresh the system
  5. We need the curl command to retrieve the Python package manager PDM used to install yopur packages. We also install the essentials to build extensions that require compilation. If your do not require it, you can usually safely remove build-essential and gcc to speed up the build
  6. Fetch PDM
  7. Install the pdm tool in the existing home directory
  8. Switch to the Python environment created on the base image
  9. Install your Python dependencies
  10. Make everything we just installed owned by the svc user created in the base image
  11. Tidy up
  12. Switch bask to the svc user from now on

Before you can create your image, you now need to create a pyproject.toml file listing the dependencies you wish to install. Here a basic one:

name = "my-experiment"  # (1)!
version = "0.1.0"  # (2)!
dependencies = []  # (3)!
requires-python = ">=3.11"

requires = ["pdm-backend"]
build-backend = "pdm.backend"

distribution = false
  1. Set any name you need, for the purpose of this file this name is not relevant
  2. Not relevant to our needs here so leave as-is
  3. Contains the list of dependencies

To add dependencies, run the following command:

pdm add chaostoolkit-kubernetes


Install pdm from pdm.

The first time this command is run, it generates the pdm.lock file describing the specific version to install.

We’re done!

You can now create the image with:

docker build -t my/chaostoolkit .

Once this image has been published to a container registry, it is available to use by anyone with access or from other environments such as Kubernetes or serverless providers.

Run an Experiment

Let’s assume you have this Chaos Toolkit experiment:

    "version": "1.0.0",
    "title": "Hello world!",
    "description": "Say hello to the world.",
    "method": [
        "type": "action",
        "name": "say-hello",
        "provider": {
          "type": "process",
          "path": "echo",
          "arguments": "hello"

You can run this experiment as follows:

docker run -v `pwd`/experiment.json:/home/svc/experiment.json my/chaostoolkit run experiment.json