Dynamic Jenkins Slave Provisioning on OpenShift

Posted: January 31st, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | 1 Comment »

OpenShift Jenkins Kubernetes Logo

In a previous post, Clustering Jenkins on OpenShift, we introduced how to run the Jenkins Continuous Integration server connected to a collection of slave instances that are used to run Jenkins jobs, all within OpenShift. The slave instances were configured as a pool of running Docker containers that are automatically discovered by the Jenkins master through the use of the Jenkins Swarm plugin. This pool could be scaled up or down as necessary and provides the ability to handle the most robust workload that is only capped by the resource limitations of the cloud infrastructure. While this approach gives administrators the flexibility to define the state of their infrastructure, it can result in wasted resources as slaves become idle waiting to take on incoming job requests. An alternative approach is for the Jenkins master to dynamically provision slave instances as necessary within the OpenShift environment. This process is facilitated by the Jenkins Kubernetes plugin and in a few short steps, Jenkins can be configured to run jobs using dynamically provisioned slaves or complement a set of existing statically defined slaves using the Swarm plugin as described earlier.

Prior to creating any resources within OpenShift, let’s discuss the components involved in being able to dynamically provision Jenkins slave instances.

Note: I will forego a discussion on the topics of Jenkins masters and slaves. I suggest reading the previous entry which provided an overview of these concepts.

When using the Jenkins swarm plugin as in the previous post, slave instances were provisioned by OpenShift in a predetermined manner similar to any other application deployment. The number of slave instances can be governed by project members or cluster administrators . These instances are configured with the parameters necessary to communicate with the Jenkins master, which in turned allowed them to register themselves to take on workload. The registration and discovery of the slaves does provide a substantial benefit to Jenkins administrators as they no longer needed to manually configure the slave instances within Jenkins. However, when working with the Kubernetes plugin, the responsibility to provision new slave instances belongs to the Jenkins master and is based on the current workload of the master. When the Jenkins master determines that there is a need for additional resources to perform jobs, it will utilize a preconfigured Docker image to perform the job. The plugin communicates with the Kubernetes (OpenShift) API to create a new container/pod. Using the parameters automatically specified by the plugin to start the container, the slave has all of the information that it needs to communicate back with the master to complete the registration and to perform the job. Once the job completes, the slave is then destroyed.

Jenkins Cluster Kubernetes Overview

Creating a Jenkins Cluster in OpenShift

Posted: January 3rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | 4 Comments »

Note: OpenShift version 3.4 now provides support for executing dynamic slaves within the platform. More information can be found here

A Continuous Integration server can act as a focal point for managing the builds and deployments of applications. As organizations adopt many of the principles of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery, the stability of a continuous integration server, such as Jenkins, becomes magnified. The majority of the components within Jenkins that most users are familiar with, such as the user interface and job configuration and execution, occurs on the Jenkins master. However, the execution of these jobs can be delegated to external agents, called slaves, to offload processing from the master. The utilization of slave agents is a natural progression many organizations move towards as they expand their Jenkins usage. Slaves are nothing more than instances that run a small Java program that communicates with the master to perform job execution. There are several strategies for configuring and managing slaves. The default implementation is to configure a slave on the master and have the master manage the lifecycle of the slave. While this process works and is the most straightforward, the time that it takes to configure and provision slaves is time consuming as there are a number of manual steps that needs to occur on both the master and the slave instances. Another strategy is for slaves to advertise and register themselves to the master. This is accomplished using the Jenkins Swarm plugin and is even more beneficial when working in a cloud environment, such as OpenShift, as slave instances can be dynamically allocated and scaled as necessary. Let’s walkthrough how jobs in Jenkins can be executed using a cluster of slave instances all running in OpenShift.

First, let’s review the architecture of this implementation. Since OpenShift runs Docker containers, both the master and slave instances will each be running as Docker containers within OpenShift. There is no requirement that both the slave and master components needs to be running in OpenShift. But for simplicity, this is the architecture that will be described. Many organizations leveraging OpenShift as their Platform as a Service still utilize an existing Jenkins instance outside of OpenShift and I will cover how you can extend this demonstration to handle that use case. The project can be found on GitHub and contains the resources for adding the Jenkins master and slave components to an OpenShift environment.


Red Hat provides a supported Jenkins Docker image that can be used within OpenShift, and that is what we will use as the base for the image representing the Jenkins master. The only modifications that will need to be added to the master is the inclusion of the Swarm plugin. The docker image containing the slave is a Red Hat Enterprise Linux image with the addition of Swarm client. Additional build tools, such as Maven, can be added to extend the functionality of the slave, but was omitted from this demonstration. Feel free to fork and extend and/or modify to suit your specific use case. The benefit of the swarm plugin is that slaves can come and go without any manual configuration on the master. By default, the master discovers slaves with Jenkins Swarm plugin using UDP broadcast. However, in our case, slaves connect directly to the master. The Jenkins master listens for incoming slave connections on port 50000. Within OpenShift, containers can communicate with each other using Kubernetes Services. A Kubernetes service is an network abstraction over a group or pods, or containers deployed on the same host. Two services have been defined in this implementation:

  • jenkins – Load balances requests to the Jenkins master for the Jenkins UI on port 8080
  • jenkins-slave – Load balances requests to the Jenkins master for agent communication on port 50000

Both of these services enable the slaves to communicate with the master. Kubernetes services expose environment variables that can be consumed by pods.The slave docker image uses a wrapper script to start up the java process containing the slave agent where these environment variables are referenced along with additional parameters such as the user name and password that will be used to connect to the master as well as the number of build executors. We will see how we can configure and manage these properties later on. Also included in the repository are two OpenShift templates that allow for the cluster to be instantiated with ease. The difference between the two templates is that one provides support for persistent storage. More information on persistent storage can be found in the OpenShift documentation. The following diagram depicts architecture created by the template.

OpenShift Jenkins Cluster Diagram

The Jenkins route is used to handle requests from outside the OpenShift environment, such as a typical user accessing the Jenkins user interface which is then passed down to the service and then ultimately into the master pod. Now that we have an understanding of the architecture created by the template, lets discuss how to create and run the Jenkins cluster within OpenShift. To get started, first clone the repository to your local machine

git clone https://github.com/sabre1041/ose-jenkins-cluster

If an OpenShift project is not already created, create a new project for Jenkins

oc new-project jenkins

Enter the directory containing the Git repository cloned previously and add the templates to the project

oc create -f jenkins-cluster-persistent-template.json,jenkins-cluster-ephemeral-template.json

Both templates should now be available in the project. Let’s instantiate the jenkins-cluster-ephemeral template (Note: This template does not use persistent storage for the master. All settings and configurations will be lost once the pod dies)

oc new-app --template=jenkins-cluster-ephemeral

New builds of both the Jenkins master and slave images will be started. You can track the progress by executing the following command:

oc get builds

Once the builds complete successfully, the new docker images will be pushed to the integrated registry and new containers will be launched. The Jenkins user interface can then be accessed at http://jenkins.<project>.<default-domain-suffix>. The default username and password is admin:password. Once authenticated, you are presented with the Jenkins main user interface containing a list of jobs. The default Jenkins image from Red Hat contains a sample job called “OpenShift Sample”. While we will not be utilizing this job, feel free to explore how it can be used in conjunction with OpenShift to create a continuous integration and continuous delivery process. On the left side of the page, you will see a list of build executors. This section is where Jenkins slaves will be listed. Since the template configured the build of a docker image and ultimately deployed a container, you should see one slave agent that has automatically connected to the Jenkins master using the Swarm plugin.

Jenkins User Interface

  Since there is an available executor to run jobs as it is currently idle, lets create a very simple Jenkins job to validate the setup. On the left side of the page, select New Item Enter a name for the job, such as Test OpenShift Job, select Freestyle Project and then click OK to create the job. A freestyle project will then be created and then take you to the configuration page. Configure a somewhat trivial implementation that will pause for 10 seconds that will allow for the job to be validated running on the slave and then print “hello world” to the console. Still on the job configuration page, click Add Build Step and then Execute Shell. Enter the following into the textbox

sleep 10
echo "Hello World"

Click Save to apply the job configuration Run the job by hitting Build Now on the lefthand side. A new build will be scheduled on the slave and once complete, it will be available in the build history dialog

 Test OpenShift Jenkins

View the result of the first job execution by clicking #1 under the build history. On the top right corner, the location of where the build occurred should be visible.

Jenkins Job Result

With the job running successfully on the slave, lets discuss how OpenShift will be able to help handle increased load on the slaves in the future. One of the benefits of running within OpenShift is the ability to scale with ease by increasing the number of slave instances that are deployed into the cluster. To scale up the number of slaves, increase the number of replicas on the deploymentConfig.

oc scale dc jenkins-slave --replicas=2

As we saw earlier, new slave instances will automatically discover and register themselves to the master. With a second slave instance created, refreshing the Jenkins user interface should not show both slaves registered:

 Jenkins User Interface-2

Increasing the number of slave instances is one way to manage job load from the master. Alternatively, instead of adding additional slave instances, the number of executors within each slave can be manipulated. This will allow for multiple jobs to be run concurrently on each slave. The number of executors that a slave allocates is specified in the wrapper script by reading the value of the EXECUTORS environment variable which is defined in the OpenShift Deployment Configuration. By default, this value is specified to be one. To increase the number of executors for each slave, execute the following command:

oc env dc/jenkins-slave EXECUTORS=2

This will cause a redeployment of the Jenkins slaves as the Deployment Configuration was changed. Refresh the Jenkins user interface to show two executors are now available under each slave.

Jenkins User Interface-3

The ability to manipulate either the number of slaves instances and the number of executors within each slave allows for greater control managing job resources within a Jenkins environment. The combination of the Jenkins Swarm plugin running in an OpenShift environment provides the stability and reliability for a robust continuous integration environment.

Visualizing the OpenShift API with Swagger – Revisited

Posted: September 8th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

Several months ago, an article was published by OpenShift lead engineer Clayton Coleman on how the OpenShift API can be expressed using Swagger. For those who have never heard of Swagger previously, it is a framework for describing and producing a visualization of a RESTful API. The post gave users an excellent introduction to the resources exposed by OpenShift. Fast forward a few months, and now that OpenShift has been officially released, it is a fine time to revisit Clayton’s post and provide updates to allow users to interact with the GA version of the the product and cover any necessary configurations that need to be made beforehand.

First, let’s revisit the OpenShift architecture and how the Swagger framework is integrated into the product. Two restful endpoints are exposed by OpenShift: The Kubernetes API and the OpenShift API. Each provide decorated swagger endpoints which can be accessed at the following locations:

Kubernetes API:


OpenShift API:


The cURL command can be used to validate the endpoints against an existing OpenShift environment which will produce a Swagger formatted json result. The power of the Swagger framework is realized by the ability to take this API representation and present it in a consumable form for the user to interact with such as retrieving results and invoking requests. These interactions are facilitated using the Swagger UI.

User Interface

The Swagger UI is a set of HTML, CSS and JavaScript components that produce the representation of the API. An updated customized Swagger UI implementation is available to communicate with OpenShift and can be found at http://openshiftv3swagger-sabre1041.rhcloud.com/.

Since the Swagger UI is a client based application that may be served from a domain other than OpenShift, settings within OpenShift would need to be configured on the master to allow for Cross-origin resource sharing (CORS). The OpenShift master configuration file located at /etc/openshift/master/master-config.yaml contains the key coorsAllowOrigins which defines the origins that are allowed to invoke the API. To allow all origins, add a – “.*” to the list similar to the following:

  - localhost
  - ".*"

Restart the OpenShift service on the master to apply the changes:

systemctl openshift-master restart

Return back to the Swagger UI and you will notice several input fields at the top of the page which correspond to the following fields:

OpenShift Swagger Navigation Bar


  • Master Base URL – URL (host and port) of the OpenShift Master
  • API Type – Type of API to invoke (Kubernetes or OpenShift)
  • API Version – Version of the OpenShift API (use v1 for OpenShift V3 GA)
  • Authentication Token – User token of a privileged user to execute commands as (explained later)

The endpoint is unsecured by default so listing the functions can be completed without entering a token. First, enter the URL of your OpenShift master. For example, this could be https://master.openshift.example.com:8443. Next, select the API to invoke (either the Kubernetes or OpenShift API) from the dropdown. Then enter the api version in the next textbox (A dropdown of values is available to aid with input selection). Then hit the Explore button. It may take a moment for the page to render, but once finished, the  list of functions for the selected API should be presented.


OpenShift Swagger Functions

Consult the Swagger documentationfor the full range of capabilities provided by the the framework.

Authentication Token

Many of the API functions require an authenticated user for invocation. An authentication token can be obtained from a user registered in OpenShift to invoke additional functions in the swagger UI. The token can be obtained using the OpenShift CLI from a developer machine.

Assuming the CLI tools have been previously installed, first login to OpenShift

oc login https://<openshift_master>:8443

After successfully authenticating, obtain the token for the session

oc whoami -t

The token value should be provided. Enter this value in the token textbox in the Swagger UI to allow for the execution of additional resources the user is authorized to invoke.

The source code for the project is located at https://github.com/sabre1041/openshift-api-swagger and contributions are always welcome.

Role Based Access Control in JBoss Fuse 6.2

Posted: June 24th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Role Based Access ControlOne of the features introduced in JBoss Fuse 6.2 is the ability to utilize Role Based Access Control (RBAC) to govern the capabilities authenticated users have when interacting with the container. RBAC is important because it allows for a delineation of the roles and responsibilities of users managing the Fuse container to exist. For example, a team may have a set of individuals who manage the configuration of the container including all deployed applications in a system administrator role while another team may have a set of individuals whom have the responsibility for monitoring the state of deployed application. RBAC provides the ability to restrict access to the monitoring team to only view the state of the container in a read only manner while providing unrestricted access to the administrator team. Fuse and the underlying Karaf container provide a flexible framework for configuring and managing Role Based Access Control configurations. RBAC was initially introduced in Karaf 3.0.0 and subsequently ported back version 2.4.0 for which Fuse is based off of.

Fuse provides a number of standard roles that can be applied to users. These roles are defined in the following table:

Roles Description
Monitor, Operator, Maintainer Read only access
Deployer, Auditor An appropriate level or read-write access who want the ability to deploy and run applications, but blocks access to sensitive container
Administrator, SuperUser Unrestricted access to the container

The enforcement of Role Based Access Control in Fuse is accomplished with the help of two mechanisms: JMX Guard and OSGi guard. JMX guard is a mechanism that is configured at the JVM level to intercept all invocations made against the JMX interface, similar to a Servlet Filter. As an invocation is made, JMX guard verifies the requestor has the appropriate permissions and based on the assentation, they are either granted access to the resource or denied. OSGi guard on the other hand governs the ability to invoke methods on an OSGi service in the form of a proxy between the client and the service. Both JMX and OSGi guard use Access Control List’s (ACL’s) for declaring the methods and services that are to be secured and the roles that have access. All of the ACL files are located within the etc/auth folder of Fuse. There are two types of ACL’s, JMX and command based. Default configurations have been provided, but you are free to modify and customize as necessary.

There are four primary locations where RBAC is enforced:

  • JMX – Direct invocations are protected by JMX Guard
  • Fuse Management Console – Communicates using REST via Jolokia technology. Since Jolokia it is situated on top of the JMX, it affords the same protection that JMX provides
  • Karaf commands – Enforcement is provided whether commands are entered on the virual terminal in the Fuse Management Console, remote connection via SSH or using the CLI
  • OSGi Services – Protections against invocations of individual methods

Applying roles to users is dependent on the authentication scheme being used. By default, Fuse comes enabled with the PropertiesLoginModule which utilizes a configuration file located at etc/users.properties to define the authentication and authorization of users. Users can be added one line at a time in the file in the following format:


For example, to configure a user called monitor with password monitor and the role Monitor, it would appear in the following format:


As previously discussed, users who have the monitor role have a read only view of the container. To validate proper enforcement of this role to this newly created user, start up the Fuse container and navigate to the Fuse Management Console at http://localhost:8181. Enter monitor for both the user name and password and click login to access the console. Navigate to the OSGi tab to view the current status of the components running in the OSGi container. The list of installed bundles within the container are shown by defaults and can be sorted and filtered if desired. Select the camel-core bundle. When logged in as a user with access to modify components, a dialog is available for starting, stopping, updating and refreshing the bundle as shown below:

Role Based Access Control - Admin

But since the monitor user only has read access, this dialog will not be present and the view will appear as the following:

Role Based Access Control - Monitor

This type of read only protection is also extended to other core components of the Fuse Management Console such as ActiveMQ and Camel JMX pages and can be further customized. With the inclusion of Role Based Access Control support, it is now even easier to manage and govern access to the JBoss Fuse platform. A full description of the features and capabilities of Role Based Access control can be found in the JBoss Fuse product documentation.

Spring Boot, Docker and Websockets Integration with Apache Camel

Posted: April 1st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Software today is being developed and released at a breakneck pace. No longer are organizations relying on a yearly, quarterly or monthly release cycle, but can now churn out multiple releases daily or even hourly. Two technologies that help facilitate this type of delivery model are Spring Boot and Docker. Spring Boot provides a lightweight microcontainer architecture for rapid development and deployment. It takes a Configuration over Convention approach to application development by leveraging resources on the java classpath to configure the application, which are then packaged into an executable jar. Since Spring Boot contains an embedded web container, an external container such as Tomcat is not required (Spring boot can be packaged into a traditional archive for deployment if desired). Docker on the other hand is one of the fastest growing technologies today and has changed the way many organizations package and deploy applications. It allows for an entire application environment to be assembled into images and deployed within containers. Docker Images are typically small in size and the creation of container is extremely fast compared to traditional virtualization technologies enabling rapid deployment and portability across machines.

With the recent release of version 2.15.0, the Apache Camel project now provides direct integration and support for both Spring Boot and Docker. The spring-boot component allows for the Camel context to be autoconfigured by components and configurations from a spring boot application. This includes the auto detection of Camel routes and injection of spring boot properties for use within Camel. The Camel Docker component communicates with the Docker daemon through the Docker rest API and exposes operations such as manipulating Docker images and containers within Camel to be notified when events within Docker occur. To illustrate the integration with these technologies along with several other components released in recent versions of Camel, a sample application has been developed.

The sample application is called spring-boot-docker-camel application can be found on GitHub

There are two primary goals of the application:

  • Expose statistics from Docker such as listing images and containers
  • Expose events originating within Docker


To facilitate user interaction with the application, a web page will be configured to allow users to view events from the Docker daemon in real time and also provide links to retrieve statistics from Docker. Instead of invoking the Docker rest API directly, Camel will be positioned to proxy the requests and expose a restful interface. Camel makes it easy to create restful endpoints by providing a DSL for creation and configuration. Since it is desired for events from Docker to be viewable on the web page, careful considerations should be made on the most efficient method to architect the solution. A polling mechanism to a Camel endpoint could be implemented by the web page, but this would be an expensive operation with regards to network traffic, as the majority of the requests would result in no consumable responses. On the other hand, if websockets were utilized, the amount of network traffic between the client and the server could be drastically reduced and be more efficient as the client would receive a response from the server immediately as an event occurs instead of waiting for the next polling interval. Spring Boot provides the capabilities to define and publish websockets endpoints that Camel can publish events to. Lets step through each aspect of the application to get a better understanding of the components involved and how they are able to integrate with each other.

Get in the Classroom with Pax Exam for OSGi Integration Testing

Posted: September 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Pax ExamAs developers, we are cognizant that testing is a critical component of the development process. In a previous post, we demonstrated the importance of testing applications in a remote container using the Red Hat JBoss Fuse platform and JBoss Developer Studio (Eclipse). The process of remote debugging is a form of integration testing. While the majority of testing is primarily composed of unit testing in an isolated environment, integration testing affords the developer the ability to validate their application with the systems they will interact with. When developing OSGi applications, there are several integration testing frameworks to choose from. Pax Exam has established itself as one of the most popular due to its flexibility and support for multiple container types including Apache Karaf, the underlying platform for JBoss Fuse. Integration tests using Pax Exam can simulate functionality not only within the base OSGi container, but also integrate with other core Fuse platform components including Apache Aries Blueprint and Apache Camel. Fuse provides template applications as a starting point for developers to begin creating applications of their own. These typically consist of a project, ready to be deployed to the Fuse container, along with unit tests to validate expected outcomes and to demonstrate unit testing of Fuse technologies. One area which unfortunately lacking is these templates is the use of integration testing. The following will introduce a template application that demonstrates the use of integration testing in JBoss Fuse platform technologies using Pax Exam.

The majority of applications designed for the Fuse platform are built using Apache Maven. Maven is not only the recommended build tool, but is also used by the Fuse platform itself for dependency resolution. It comes as no surprise that Fuse template projects utilize Maven Archetypes, the project templating toolkit for Maven. To be consistent with the Fuse template projects, Maven Archetypes were utilized to demonstrate Pax Exam integrating testing and the Fuse platform. The actual creation of Maven Archetypes is beyond the scope of this discussion, be we will walk through one of the resulting generated projects to demonstrate how you can begin to use Pax Exam for your own integrating testing needs, and to validate these types of applications that can be deployed to the Fuse platform.

First, ensure you have the appropriate tooling installed and configured on your machine. Git and Maven are the two pieces of required software. Full instructions on installation and configuration can be found on their respective websites. It is also recommended that an IDE such as JBoss Developer Studio/Eclipse be installed. This is suggested, though not required. Next, clone the Git repository containing the archetypes onto your local machine.

git clone https://github.com/sabre1041/fuse-archetype-pax-exam.git

With the repository available on your machine, build and install the included archetypes into your local maven repository by navigating to the location where the git repository was cloned and executing the following command:

mvn clean install

Now that the archetypes are installed in your local Maven repository, let’s walk through one of the included projects. One of the most basic Fuse sample projects demonstrates the use of a Camel route within a Blueprint project. As with other Fuse sample projects, the Camel blueprint project can be easily deployed to the Fuse platform and also demonstrates the use of a unit test. We will swap out the unit test in favor of a Pax Exam integration test as part of our template project. Lets go ahead and generate and walkthrough the analogous template project with Pax Exam integration testing. We will generate a project based on the Maven Archetype with the following Maven properties:

  • Group ID: com.redhat.fuse
  • Artifact Id: camel-blueprint-pax-exam
  • Version: 0.0.1-SNAPSHOT

Note: The following set of commands assumes the above values have been configured. If you choose to use your own values, be sure to substitute them accordingly.

Navigate to a directory where you would like the resulting project to be generated and run the following command:

mvn archetype:generate -DinteractiveMode=false -DarchetypeGroupId=com.redhat.fuse -DarchetypeArtifactId=camel-archetype-blueprint-pax-exam -DarchetypeVersion=1.0.0 -DgroupId=com.tgt.fuse -DartifactId=camel-blueprint-pax-exam -Dversion=0.0.1-SNAPSHOT

A Maven project will be created in a folder called camel-archetype-blueprint. At this point, the project can be loaded into an IDE such as JBoss Developer Studio. The project itself is quite simplistic. A Camel route is triggered every five (5) seconds which prints a message to the Fuse server log. This can be seen by inspecting the blueprint descriptor file located at <PROJECT_ROOT>/src/resources/OSGI-INF/blueprint/blueprint.xml.

  <camelContext id="blueprintContext" trace="false" xmlns="http://camel.apache.org/schema/blueprint">
    <route id="timerToLog">
      <from uri="timer:foo?period=5000"/>
          <method ref="helloBean" method="hello"/>
      <log message="The message contains ${body}"/>
      <to uri="mock:result"/>

In the original implementation, a JUnit test using the Camel blueprint testing framework is utilized. The source for this test can be found at the following location.


Remote debugging in Red Hat JBoss Fuse

Posted: September 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Debugging FuseTesting is one of the primary components of the software development process. It ensures a particular piece of functionality matches a desired expectation. Testing can occur in several forms ranging from unit testing, integration testing, and regression testing to name a few. When developing applications for the JBoss Fuse platform, each of these methodologies can be applied. The JUnit framework can be used to perform unit testing where direct support is made possible from key Fuse components such as Blueprint and Apache Camel. Pax Exam can be used to perform in container testing and validate functionality against a Karaf environment, the underlying container behind Fuse. While each of these methods provides some assurance against the expected functionality of a particular piece of software, many times a developer may want or even need additional assurance by running and testing their software in an actual application container. Fortunately, Fuse provides methods for interacting with the container in a remote fashion. Remote application debugging is not a new concept. Support is available from some of the most popular integrated development environments including NetBeans, IntelliJ and Eclipse. Since JBoss Developer Studio, an Eclipse variant, is the supported development environment for Fuse, we will focus on how to perform remote application debugging using Eclipse.

Starting Fuse in Debug mode

Prior to being able to connect to Fuse from a remote application, Fuse must be configured to accept remote application connections by placing it in debug mode.

Two methods are available to place Fuse into debug mode:

  1. Start the Fuse container with the debug option set
  2. Set the KARAF_DEBUG environment variable to true

The simplest method for starting Fuse in debug mode is to start Fuse with the debug option set. To do so, browse to the <FUSE_HOME>/bin folder and start the Fuse container as follows:

Linux or Mac:

./fuse debug


fuse.bat debug

During container initialization, Fuse will also check for the presence of the KARAF_DEBUG environmental variable. If the variable has been defined and is set to true, Fuse will start in debug mode. Environmental variables can be defined on the terminal or command line as follows:

Linux or Mac:

export KARAF_DEBUG=true


set KARAF_HOME=true

From the same terminal session, the Fuse container can be started without any additional parameters as described earlier. The one shortcoming to this method is that once the terminal session ends, the environment variable is lost and Fuse will no longer be placed into debug mode the next time it is started. To have Fuse consistently start in debug mode, the KARAF_DEBUG environment variable should be set permanently according to your particular operating system.

Remote access in the  Fuse container is made possible through the use of the Java Debug Wire Protocol (jdwp). If Fuse has been set into debug mode, it will by default expose port 5005 for remote access which can be verified by observing the following in the server logs during startup.

Listening for transport dt_socket at address: 5005

If the KARAF_DEBUG environment variable has been set, the full set of debug options will be printed:

karaf: Enabling Java debug options: -Xdebug -Xnoagent -Djava.compiler=NONE 
Listening for transport dt_socket at address: 5005

These parameters can be customized by setting the JAVA_DEBUG_OPTS environmental variable. A full discussion the Java Debug Wire Protocol and the options that can be set is found here.

Debugging from JBoss Developer Studio

Once Fuse has been placed into debug mode and capable for accepting remote connections, an application can be debugged within JBoss Developer Studio against the running Fuse container. Open JBoss Developer Studio to a workspace of your choosing. Determine any areas in which you wish to debug and set breakpoints that will suspend the running application when the line of code is hit during the execution of the application. With the appropriate breakpoints set, select the project you wish to debug in the project view and select Run -> Debug as -> Remote Java Application from the menu bar. If your Fuse container is running and has been placed into debug mode, JDBS will prompt with the following menu:

JBoss Developer Studio Remote Debug

You may choose to customize the debug configurations by selecting the configure button, otherwise select Debug which will connect JDBS to Fuse. When the application running in Fuse hits one of the breakpoints previously set, the application will suspend at that point and JDBS will either prompt to switch into the debug perspective or switch automatically based on the configurations set in the JDBS workspace. With the application suspended, you are able to perform any debugging tasks you desire. A full overview on debugging in Eclipse is beyond the scope of this discussion and additional reference material can be found at the following links:

With only a few configuration steps, application can be tested and validated on a running remote Fuse instance. Remote application debugging is yet another method a developer has for creating reliable, robust applications.

OpenShift Camel Component in a SwitchYard Project – An Overview

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Camel OpenShift SwitchYard LogoIn an earlier post, I introduced a custom Apache Camel component that can be used to manage the OpenShift platform. It allows for the invocation of operations that control key components of the OpenShift lifecycle such as displaying user metrics and managing applications. The operations and metrics generated from this component can be used in a variety of applications that leverage the Camel framework to solve business goals. Camel can be deployed to a variety of runtime environments ranging from servlet containers such as Tomcat, application servers such as JBoss , OSGi containers such as Karaf, or even self sufficient as a standalone application. To demonstrate the functionality of the OpenShift Camel component in a project, we will leverage SwitchYard and JBoss as the running environment within a sample project called camel-openshift-switchyard. SwitchYard is a services delivery framework for running and managing service-oriented applications. By running on SwitchYard, it will allow for the opportunity to cover both the OpenShift Camel component and developing and running applications using Switchyard. This post will provide an overview to the sample project including the steps necessary to configure and deploy either in your own environment or on the OpenShift platform. In subsequent posts, we will review the project in depth including how Camel can be integrated into a SwitchYard project and how to integrate the OpenShift Camel component in a project of your own.

The camel-openshift-switchyard project consists of a SwitchYard application and a basic web application that can be used to invoke services exposed by SwitchYard. The SwitchYard application contains two services: OpenShiftOperationsService and OpenShiftApplicationsStartupService. Each contains Camel routes utilizing the OpenShift Camel Component. The OpenShiftOperationsService invokes operations against a given users’ account such as retrieving the details of a given domain or applications within a domain. Meanwhile, the OpenShiftApplicationStartupService will attempt to start any Application associated to a user that is not currently started. A diagram depicting these services and the overall SwitchYard composite is shown below:

Camel OpenShift SwitchYard Composite

Both services contain a RestEasy binding to allow for external invocation via REST. The OpenShiftApplicationsStatup service also contains a timer binding which will initiate the service at the top of each hour based on a cron schedule. To take advantage of the scheduled service operation, the following two system properties must be configured either within the application itself or on application platform.

  • openshift.user – The login of the OpenShift user
  • openshift.password – The password on the account


Included in the project are a series of integration tests designed to validate the functionality of the application and to demonstrate the testing capabilities of SwitchYard applications. Injection of property values and invocation of Services and HTTP resources are some of the components demonstrated.

Building and Deploying

The project is hosted on GitHub and can be cloned into a local environment by running the following command:

git clone https://github.com/sabre1041/camel-openshift-switchyard.git

Prior to built or imported into an IDE, certain project dependencies must be configured. A core project dependency is the OpenShift Camel component which must be installed and available in the local Maven repository. Because this library is not part of any publicly available repository, initialization scripts for both Windows and Unix have been provided to configure the required dependencies. This script is found in the support folder of the project. Execute the init.sh or init.bat depending on your Operating System.

Next, build the project using Maven by running the following command:

mvn clean install

With the project now built, deploy the archive to Fuse Service Works or a JBoss container with SwitchYard installed. Once deployed, the application can be accessed by browsing to http://localhost:8080/camel-openshift-switchyard/

 Camel OpenShift SwitchYard Application

Deployment to OpenShift

The project has been configured to be seamlessly deployed to the OpenShift Platform. OpenShift provides the functionality to utilize custom cartridges which are not part of the core OpenShift platform to host applications. Since this project is built on SwitchYard, we will leverage a custom JBoss EAP 6 cartridge preconfigured with the SwitchYard runtime. The OpenShift Web interface provides the ability to specify a custom cartridge and existing source code during new application creation. However, due to the number of dependencies required by the SwitchYard platform, the project is unable to be built and deployed prior to the default application creation timeout. To get around this limitation, we will create the application using the OpenShift command line tools (RHC), merge the local OpenShift project with the camel-openshift-switchyard project hosted on GitHub, then finally push the application to OpenShift. Using the terminal in the location where the repository of the newly created application will be created on your local machine, issue the following command to create an application using the custom SwitchYard cartridge as the container.

rhc app create <app-name> "http://cartridge-switchyard.rhcloud.com/manifest/466c7020661420c4604e870802fe673244861a5a"

After the application was successfully created and the source code now available on your machine, change into the application directory:

cd <app-name>

First, add the GitHub hosted project as an upstream Git remote repository

git remote add upstream -m master https://github.com/sabre1041/camel-openshift-switchyard.git

Next, pull in the changes from the upstream repository

git pull -s recursive -X theirs upstream master

Finally push the changes to OpenShift

git push origin master

OpenShift will then handle obtaining the required dependencies, building and deploying the project. Once complete, the application can be viewed in a web browser. To determine the URL of an OpenShift application from the command line, execute the following command:

rhc app show <app-name>

You should be able to browse to the URL and utilize the application as you would on your local machine.

As mentioned previously, we will walk through the project in detail in a future post. This will allow for the demonstration of SwitchYard components and provide examples of how the OpenShift Camel component can be used in projects of your own.

Creating a Virtual Environment for the OpenShift Platform Using Oracle VirtualBox

Posted: February 23rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , | No Comments »

VirtualBox Logo

In the past, I have demonstrated several projects and features for OpenShift, Red Hat’s Platform as a Service product. You may be aware of OpenShift Online, available at http://openshift.com, for seamless deployment of applications to the cloud. What you may not be aware is that OpenShift Online is only one of the OpenShift products available. The OpenShift line of products features 3 solutions: Online, Origin and Enterprise. While OpenShift Online may suit your public cloud needs, there may be interest in establishing a private or hybrid cloud solution within your enterprise. The best way to become familiar with a product is to install and configure it yourself on a local machine, such as a personal desktop or laptop. Evaluating cloud-based technologies on a single machine typically requires the use of virtual machines to replicate multiple machines or environments. However, applying the appropriate configurations when leveraging multiple virtual machines can be challenging as they must be able to communicate both with each other as well as the external Internet. In the following discussion, we will walk through the process of configuring the supporting infrastructure of a minimal installation of a private OpenShift environment using Oracle VirtualBox.

While there are several virtualization products on the market today, we will utilize Oracle VirtualBox primarily due to its ease of use and compatibility with multiple platforms. Before we begin the configuration process, let’s discuss what an OpenShift environment consists of. A typical basic installation of OpenShift requires the allocation of two machines: A Broker, which handles user and application management, and a Node which provides hosting of cartridges and the actual storage of applications deployed by users, which are contained within gears. Communication between broker and node instances is critical to the performance of the OpenShift environment and presents the greatest challenge when configuring the virtual instances. We need to provide an environment that fulfills the following requirements:

  • Host can communicate with each virtual guest
  • Virtual guests can communicate with each other
  • Virtual guests can access external resources on the Internet

VirtualBox, similar to most virtualization software, supports several network hardware devices that can be run in a variety of networking modes. A full discussion of the different types of network devices and modes VirtualBox can be configured in can be found on the VirtualBox website . To accommodate the aforementioned requirements, we will leverage multiple network adapters running in separate networking modes. The first adapter will be configured in host-only mode as it creates a private network among each virtual machine configured with this network type and the host. The limitation when running in host-only mode is there is no access to external resources such as the Internet. To allow access to external networks within each guest, a second adapter is configured in NAT networking mode. NAT networking is one of the modes VirtualBox provides for allowing a guest to connect to external resources. It was chosen as it requires the least amount of work and configuration by the end user and is ideal for simple access to external systems. An overall diagram of the virtual machine network architecture can be found below.

VirtualBox Network Diagram

OpenShift Camel Component – Manage OpenShift from Camel

Posted: February 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , | 3 Comments »

Apache Camel

Since its creation in 2007, the Apache Camel project has allowed developers to integrate systems by creating Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) applications using industry standard Enterprise Integration Patterns (EIP). At its core, Camel is a routing engine builder for which messages can be received and processed. The processing of messages uses a standardized API library backed by an extensive collection of components which abstracts the actual implementation of routing and transformation of messages. These components also include the ability to communicate with external systems through an array of protocols ranging from web services, REST and JMS. With more than 80 components in the standard Camel distribution, developers have the flexibility to perform power operations with minimal effort to suit their business needs. One of the benefits of the Camel component framework is that it was designed as a factory system where new components can be easily added to solve a business use case.

As more companies and individuals look to migrate their operations and applications into cloud-based solutions, the management of these resources can prove to be a challenge. The overall architecture may be different than what many individuals are accustomed. The OpenShift Platform as a Service (PaaS) is one such cloud offering where developers can quickly create powerful scaled applications without having to worry about managing infrastructure or complex software installation.

Introducing the OpenShift Camel Component

Imagine being able to communicate with the OpenShift Platform directly through a Camel route? With the OpenShift Camel component, it is now possible. Exposed through an Endpoint as both a Camel Consumer and Producer, OpenShift resource details can be retrieved or modified all within a Camel route. Want to find out information about a particular OpenShift Domain, such as the applications and their details? How about automating application deployments? These are only some of the possibilities now available.

Communication between the OpenShift Camel component and OpenShift is facilitated by using the REST API exposed by the OpenShift platform and the OpenShift Java Client. Responses from the OpenShift Camel component will be returned using the API from the OpenShift Java Client.

Using the OpenShift Camel Component in your project

The OpenShift Camel Component can be easily added to a new or existing project. The following steps will describe how this can be accomplished.

GitHub Project: https://github.com/sabre1041/camel-openshift

  1. Fork/Clone the GitHub repository 
    git clone https://github.com/sabre1041/camel-openshift.git
  2. Build the project using Maven
    mvn clean install
  3. Add the component to a new or existing Camel Project as a Maven dependency in the projects’ POM file.
  4. The following example implementation will retrieve information about the authenticated user and print out their user details to the log:Java DSL
    import org.apache.camel.builder.RouteBuilder;
    public class PrintOpenShiftUserRoute extends RouteBuilder {
        public void configure() throws Exception {
            // Retrieve User Details
                //Print to Log

    Spring XML

      <description>Spring XML Route. Full XML omitted for brevity</description>
      <from uri="openshift://user?userName=<openshift_user>&amp;password=<openshift_password>"/>
      <log message="${body}"/>

With the steps above complete, the project can be deployed to a running container or unit tests can be created to verify the expected results. Additional functionality including how to leverage Authentication as Message Headers can be found on the GitHub project page.

In an upcoming post, I will demonstrate several uses for the OpenShift Camel including how the component can be leveraged within a SwitchYard application.