- Tags Java, JavaEE, Payara, NGINX, Oracle
- Published on 02 05 2019
From field experiences I must affirm that one of the greatest and stable combinations is Java Application Servers + Reverse Proxies, although some of the functionality is a clear overlap, I tend to put reverse proxies in front of application servers for the following reasons (please see NGINX page for more details):
- Load balancing: The reverse proxy acts as traffic cop and could be used as API gateway for clustered instances/backing services
- Web acceleration: Most of our applications nowadays use SPA frameworks, hence it is worth to cache all the js/css/html files and free the application server from this responsibility
- Security: Most of the HTTP requests could be intercepted by the reverse proxy before any attempt against the application server, increasing the opportunity to define rules
- SSL Management: It is easier to install/manage/deploy OpenSSL certificates in Apache/NGINX if compared to Java KeyStores. Besides this, Let's Encrypt officially support NGINX with plugins.
To demonstrate this functionality, this tutorial combines the following stack in a classic (non-docker) way, however most of the concepts could be useful for Docker deployments:
- Payara 5 as application server
- NGINX as reverse proxy
- Let's encrypt SSL certificates
It is assumed that a clean Oracle Linux 7.x (7.6) box will be used during this tutorial and tests will be executed over Oracle Cloud with
Preparing the OS
Since Oracle Linux is binary compatible with RHEL, EPEL repository will be added to get access to Let's Encrypt. It is also useful to update the OS as a previous step:
yum -y update yum -y install https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm
Setting up Payara 5
In order to install Payara application server a couple of dependencies will be needed, specially a Java Developer Kit. For instance OpenJDK is included at Oracle Linux repositories.
yum -y install java-1.8.0-openjdk-headless yum -y install wget yum -y install unzip
Once all dependencies are installed, it is time to download, unzip and install Payara. It will be located at
/opt following standard Linux conventions for external packages:
cd /opt wget -O payara-5.191.zip https://search.maven.org/remotecontent?filepath=fish/payara/distributions/payara/5.191/payara-5.191.zip unzip payara-5.191.zip rm payara-5.191.zip
It is also useful to create a
payara user for administrative purposes, to administrate the domain(s) or to run Payara as Linux service with systemd:
adduser payara chown -R payara:payara payara5 echo 'export PATH=$PATH:/opt/payara5/glassfish/bin' >> /home/payara/.bashrc chown payara:payara /home/payara/.bashrc
A systemd unit is also needed:
echo '[Unit] Description = Payara Server v5 After = syslog.target network.target [Service] User=payara ExecStart = /usr/bin/java -jar /opt/payara5/glassfish/lib/client/appserver-cli.jar start-domain ExecStop = /usr/bin/java -jar /opt/payara5/glassfish/lib/client/appserver-cli.jar stop-domain ExecReload = /usr/bin/java -jar /opt/payara5/glassfish/lib/client/appserver-cli.jar restart-domain Type = forking [Install] WantedBy = multi-user.target' > /etc/systemd/system/payara.service systemctl enable payara
Additionally if remote administration is needed, secure admin should be enabled:
sudo -u payara /opt/payara5/bin/asadmin --host localhost --port 4848 change-admin-password systemctl start payara sudo -u payara /opt/payara5/bin/asadmin --host localhost --port 4848 enable-secure-admin systemctl restart payara
Oracle Cloud default configuration will create a VNIC attached to your instance, hence you should check the rules in order to allow access to ports.
By default, Oracle Linux instances have a restricted set of rules in iptables and SELinux, hence ports should be opened with firewalld and SELinux should be configured to allow reverse proxy traffic:
firewall-cmd --zone=public --permanent --add-service=http firewall-cmd --zone=public --permanent --add-service=https firewall-cmd --zone=public --permanent --add-port=4848/tcp setsebool -P httpd_can_network_connect 1
With this, the access is guaranteed to http+https+payara admin port.
Setting up NGINX reverse proxy
NGINX is available at EPEL:
yum -y install nginx systemctl enable nginx
At this time your will need a FQDN pointing to your server, otherwhise Let's encrypt validation won't work. For this tutorial the
ocl.nabenik.com domain will be used. If your domain propagated properly you should see a page like this:
Don't worry the Fedora logo is due EPEL usage, but you're running Oracle Linux :).
Now it's time to setup NGINX as reverse proxy, an opinionated deployment option is to create a
/etc/nginx/sites-enabled structure inside NGINX configuration, to isolate/manage multiple domains with the same instance (aka virtual hosts).
To enable the new host, a symlink is created on
ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/ocl.nabenik.com.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/ocl.nabenik.com.conf
After that you should include the following line inside
/etc/nginx/nginx.conf, just before config file ending.
It is also useful to check your configuration with
nginx -t, if all works property you should reach payara after NGINX reload.
Setting up Let's Encrypt
Once the reverse proxy is working, certbot should be enough to add an SSL certificate, the plugin itself will create a challenge at
^~ /.well-known/acme-challenge/, hence the proxy exclusion is mandatory (as reflected in the previous configuration step).
yum install -y certbot-nginx certbot --nginx -d ocl.nabenik.com
One of the caveats of using certbot is the dependency of python version. Another alternative if you find any issues is to install it with
yum install -y python-pip pip install certbot-nginx certbot --nginx -d ocl.nabenik.com
If everything works as expected, you should see the Payara page under SSL.
Finally and most importantly, Let's Encrypt certificates are valid just for 90 days, hence you could add certification renewal (
crontab -e) as a cron task
15 3 * * * /usr/bin/certbot renew --quiet