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Database connection Pooling, SSL, and command line deployment - httpd and Tomcat

Yesterday (yes, that was a Saturday!) I was running a tailored Apache Tomcat training and consultancy day - a day on which I cover a lot of standard training material, but did so in relation to a particular application for the delegate(s).

Most of what I covered was in our own material (which we can print out even during the course!), but there were some topics that were or are best illustrated by web sites other than our. "Don't re-invent the wheel" they say - and indeed, I projected up / used the following web sites - amongst others - as sources during the day. I'm documenting them here, now ... for course attendees to be able to refer back, and to help give web visibility to resources that others may find useful too.

For SSL setup for apache httpd I referred to a page at securityfocus.com and that carried on to part 2. There are so many options with SSL, so much technology, that it can be hard to see the wood for the trees - but this example if far better than most. One question that arises time and time again is "how do I set up SSL on Tomcat" to which I answer "why do you want to?". Whilst there ARE some instances where you'll want to do it, it's far more common to set up SSL on an outward facing Apache httpd server, and use a non secure protocol such as http or ajp between Htttpd and Tomcat. After all - the place where you want the security is out in the big wide word of the internet, which httpd is looking after. It's an unusual situation where you want to secure all your traffic between a couple of computers that are on your own intranet, behind your own firewall and probably sitting next to each other in the rack!

Tomcat Manager is a good, interactive deployment tool ... but so often, system admin delegates want to (un)deploy an application from the command line. Now that SOUNDS like it will be easy, but it isn't. You can do it through ant - and there's a sample of deploying Java applications through ant on a page at ProjectCaroline.net. Why isn't there just an easy command line tool? Perhaps it's because of the whole security thing - to use the Tomcat Manager your JMX roles and realms all have to be set up via tomcat-users.xml, and a simple command line tool would need to consider this, and not provide a magnificent loophole to circumvent Java's security model.

On a lighter note, the tenth System Admin Appreciation day is on 31st July this year - see sysadminday.com.

And finally, if you're connecting to databases from within a web application hosted by Tomcat, you may want to use Database (JDBC) Connection pooling. Pooling allows each of your requests to carry on the same SQL session with the SQL server, rather than opening up and shutting down connections with a frequency that could have a serious impact on performance. See this page on onjava.com.

If you have this sort of question and would like my help, take an initial look at our deploying Apache httpd and Tomcat course. If the course agenda is such that we won't be able to answer all your specialised questions, let me know and we can either add an extra day for you or - if what you want is very different - run a special session. Email graham@wellho.net to ask about your own specific requirements.
(written 2009-03-01)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
A603 - Web Application Deployment - Further httpd Configuration
  [4307] Identifying and clearing denial of service attacks on your Apache server - (2014-09-27)
  [4001] Helping search engines with appropriate 400 error codes - (2013-02-11)
  [3955] Building up from a small PHP setup to an enterprise one - (2012-12-16)
  [3862] Forwarding a whole domain, except for a few directories - Apache http server - (2012-09-17)
  [3635] Parse error: parse error, unexpected T_STRING on brand new web site - why? - (2012-03-03)
  [3449] Apache Internal Dummy Connection - what is it and what should I do with it? - (2011-09-19)
  [3133] An image from a website that occasionally comes out as hyroglyphics - (2011-01-14)
  [2900] Redirecting a page - silent, temporary or permanent? - (2010-08-03)
  [2478] How did I do THAT? - (2009-10-26)
  [2272] Monitoring and loading tools for testing Apache Tomcat - (2009-07-07)
  [1974] Moving a directory on your web site - (2009-01-03)
  [1955] How to avoid duplicating web page maintainance - (2008-12-20)
  [1954] mod_rewrite for newcomers - (2008-12-20)
  [1939] mod_proxy_ajp and mod_proxy_balancer examples - (2008-12-13)
  [1778] Pointing all the web pages in a directory at a database - (2008-08-30)
  [1767] mod_proxy and mod_proxy_ajp - httpd - (2008-08-22)
  [1762] WEB-INF (Tomcat) and .htaccess (httpd) - (2008-08-20)
  [1707] Configuring Apache httpd - (2008-07-12)
  [1636] What to do if the Home Page is missing - (2008-05-08)
  [1619] User and Group settings for Apache httpd web server - (2008-04-22)
  [1566] Strange behaviour of web directory requests without a trailing slash - (2008-03-06)
  [1564] Default file (MiMe types) for Apache httpd and Apache Tomcat - (2008-03-04)
  [1554] Online hotel reservations - Melksham, Wiltshire (near Bath) - (2008-02-24)
  [1551] Which modules are loaded in my Apache httpd - (2008-02-23)
  [1381] Using a MySQL database to control mod_rewrite via PHP - (2007-10-06)
  [1377] Load Balancing with Apache mod_jk (httpd/Tomcat) - (2007-10-02)
  [1355] .php or .html extension? Morally Static Pages - (2007-09-17)
  [1351] Compressing web pages sent out from server. Is it worth it? - (2007-09-14)
  [1207] Simple but effective use of mod_rewrite (Apache httpd) - (2007-05-27)
  [1121] Sharing the load with Apache httpd and perhaps Tomcat - (2007-03-29)
  [1080] httpd.conf or .htaccess? - (2007-02-14)
  [1009] Passing GET parameters through Apache mod_rewrite - (2006-12-27)
  [934] Clustering, load balancing, mod_rewrite and mod_proxy - (2006-11-21)
  [853] To list a directory under httpd on a web server, or not? - (2006-09-02)
  [755] Using different URLs to navigate around a single script - (2006-06-11)
  [662] An unhelpful error message from Apache httpd - (2006-03-30)
  [649] Denial of Service ''attack'' - (2006-03-17)
  [631] Apache httpd to Tomcat - jk v proxy - (2006-03-03)
  [550] 2006 - Making business a pleasure - (2006-01-01)
  [526] Apache httpd - serving web documents from different directories - (2005-12-12)
  [466] Separating 'per instance' data from binaries and web sites - (2005-10-16)
  [345] Spotting a denial of service attack - (2005-06-12)

A912 - Web Application Deployment - Upgrading and tuning Tomcat
  [3018] Tuning Apache httpd and Tomcat to work well together - (2010-10-27)
  [2082] Jmeter - a first test case - (2009-03-14)
  [1908] Java CLASSPATH explained - (2008-11-26)
  [1718] Increasing Java Virtual Machine memory for Tomcat - (2008-07-24)

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Tomcat 6 - Annotated Sample Configuration Files
Some other Articles
East of Melksham Countryside
Internal Dummy Connections on Apache httpd
Virtual hosting and mod_proxy forwarding of different domains (httpd)
Tomcat 6 - Annotated Sample Configuration Files
Database connection Pooling, SSL, and command line deployment - httpd and Tomcat
Sharing the load between servers - httpd and Tomcat
Invoker and cgi servlets on Tomcat 6
Train and Coach fares from London (and airports) to Melksham
Web Site Loading - experiences and some solutions shared
Effect on server when memory runs out and swapping starts
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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