Deploy war on tomcat running on OpenShift

In this short blog, I will show you how you can deploy war file on Tomcat running on OpenShift. For Java, OpenShift supports three deployment options – JbossAS-7, JBossEAP-6, and JBossEWS-1.0 or Tomcat. In all of the three options it supports both binary deployment (war file) and source code deployment(maven project). I have talked about how you can do source code deployment on tomcat in my previous blog.

Step 1: Sign up for an OpenShift Account

If you don’t already have an OpenShift account, head on over to the website and signup with promo code ews. It is completely free and Red Hat gives every user three free Gears on which to run your applications. At the time of this writing, the combined resources allocated for each user is 1.5 GB of memory and 3 GB of disk space.

Step 2: Install the client tools on your machine

Note: If you would rather watch a screencast of this step, check out the following videos where I demo how to install the client tools.


Linux Ubuntu

Linux Fedora


The OpenShift client tools are written in a very popular programming language called Ruby. With OSX 10.6 or later and most Linux distributions, ruby is installed by default so installing the client tools is a snap. Simply issue the following command on your terminal application:

sudo gem install rhc

Step 3 : Setting up OpenShift

The rhc client tool makes it very easy to setup your openshift instance with ssh keys, git and your applications namespace. The namespace is a unique name per user which becomes part of your application url. For example, if your namespace is cix and application name is bookshop then url of the application will be The command is shown below.

rhc setup -l openshift_login

Step 4 : Creating Tomcat Application

After installing the client tools and setting up OpenShift account, next step is to create the bookshop application. This is a very simple Spring JPA application which has only one entity called Book. So, a user can do CRUD operations on book entity. To create a book entity, execute the command shown below.

rhc app create -a bookshop -t jbossews-1.0

This will create an application container for us, called a gear, and setup all of the required SELinux policies and cgroup configuration. OpenShift will also setup a private git repository for you and propagate your DNS out world wide.

Step 5 : Download the WAR file

Because we are doing binary deployment in this blog, we have to remove the src folder and pom.xml file from git repository and add the war file.

git rm -rf src/ pom.xml
git commit -am "removing default files"

Next download the war file from and copy the war file in webapps directory. The name ROOT for war makes sure that the application is accessible at the root context i.e.

git add .
git commit -am "committing bookshop war file"

Step 6 : Pushing the code to OpenShift

Finally push the code to OpenShift using git.

git push

The git push command upload the binary to the application gear and runs the action hooks specified in .openshift/action_hooks folder.

Configuring JNDI DataSource with OpenShift Tomcat Cartridge

This short blog post will tell you how to configure JNDI datasource with OpenShift Tomcat cartridge. After configuring, we will also make it work with a sample Spring MVC application. Let’s get started.

Step 1 : Create Tomcat Application

After you have signed up for OpenShift and setup your account. Execute the rhc app create command as shown below to create tomcat application as shown below.

rhc app create -a tomcatjndidemo -t jbossews-1.0

Step 2 : Adding PostgreSQL Cartridge

Next we will add postgresql cartridge to our application by executing the command as shown below.

rhc cartridge add -a tomcatjndidemo -c postgresql-8.4

Step 3 : Defining Datasource in Tomcat Configuration Files

OpenShift gives you the flexibility to edit the tomcat configuration files. These files are location in .openshift/config folders inside tomcatjndidemo folder. If you look into this directory you will find that there are 5 files. For adding datasource we have to make changes in two files — context.xml and server.xml

In server.xml you have to define a resource under GlobalNamingResource as shown below.

<Resource name="jdbc/postgresqldb" auth="Container" type="javax.sql.DataSource"
	driverClassName="org.postgresql.Driver" initialSize="5" maxWait="5000"
	maxActive="120" maxIdle="5" validationQuery="select 1"

Next change that you have to make is in context.xml. You have to define resource link to the datasource as shown below.

 <ResourceLink name="jdbc/postgresqldb" global="jdbc/postgresqldb" type="javax.sql.DataSource"/>

Step 4 : Updating Tomcat Classpath with PostgreSQL JDBC Driver

Tomcat will require PostgreSQL JDBC driver jar to make connection with PostrgreSQL. You can’t copy the jars to tomcat lib directory as it is not writable. To do that, first ssh into the application instance and then download the jar in $OPENSHIFT_DATA_DIR as shown below.


Next update the in your application .openshift/config folder to scan the OPENSHIFT_DATA_DIR as shown below. Please replace the openshift path with value of you OPENSHIFT_DATA_DIR environment variable.


Step 5 : Pushing Changes to OpenShift

Now you can push the changes to OpenShift as shown below.

git commit -am "made changes for tomcat jndi datasource"
git push

Step 6 : Testing the DataSource

The last step in this blog is to test the datasource configuration we added in step 3 and step 4. To do that pull the code from my github repository. The code is a simple Spring MVC application which do CRUD operations on Member entity. Please note that the code also contains the tomcat configuration changes. So, please update the with your $OPENSHIFT_DATA_DIR value.

git remote add jndi git://
git pull -s recursive -X theirs jndi master

Next do git push which will build the war file and deploy the application to tomcat. The application should be accessible at