Build, test, deploy, and monitor a multi-container, MongoDB-backed, Java Spring web application, using the new Docker 1.12.
This post and the post’s example project represent an update to a previous post, Build and Deploy a Java-Spring-MongoDB Application using Docker. This new post incorporates many improvements made in Docker 1.12, including the use of the new Docker Compose v2 YAML format. The post’s project was also updated to use Filebeat with ELK, as opposed to Logspout, which was used previously.
In this post, we will demonstrate how to build, test, deploy, and manage a Java Spring web application, hosted on Apache Tomcat, load-balanced by NGINX, monitored by ELK with Filebeat, and all containerized with Docker.
We will use a sample Java Spring application, Spring Music, available on GitHub from Cloud Foundry. The Spring Music sample record album collection application was originally designed to demonstrate the use of database services on Cloud Foundry, using the Spring Framework. Instead of Cloud Foundry, we will host the Spring Music application locally, using Docker on VirtualBox, and optionally on AWS.
All files necessary to build this project are stored on the
docker_v2 branch of the garystafford/spring-music-docker repository on GitHub. The Spring Music source code is stored on the
springmusic_v2 branch of the garystafford/spring-music repository, also on GitHub.
The Java Spring Music application stack contains the following technologies: Java, Spring Framework, AngularJS, Bootstrap, jQuery, NGINX, Apache Tomcat, MongoDB, the ELK Stack, and Filebeat. Testing frameworks include the Spring MVC Test Framework, Mockito, Hamcrest, and JUnit.
A few changes were made to the original Spring Music application to make it work for this demonstration, including:
- Move from Java 1.7 to 1.8 (including newer Tomcat version)
- Add unit tests for Continuous Integration demonstration purposes
- Modify MongoDB configuration class to work with non-local, containerized MongoDB instances
- Add Gradle
warNoStatictask to build WAR without static assets
- Add Gradle
zipStatictask to ZIP up the application’s static assets for deployment to NGINX
- Add Gradle
zipGetVersiontask with a versioning scheme for build artifacts
MANIFEST.MFfile to the WAR file
- Add Log4j
RollingFileAppenderappender to send log entries to Filebeat
- Update versions of several dependencies, including Gradle, Spring, and Tomcat
We will use the following technologies to build, publish, deploy, and host the Java Spring Music application: Gradle, git, GitHub, Travis CI, Oracle VirtualBox, Docker, Docker Compose, Docker Machine, Docker Hub, and optionally, Amazon Web Services (AWS).
To increase performance, the Spring Music web application’s static content will be hosted by NGINX. The application’s WAR file will be hosted by Apache Tomcat 8.5.4. Requests for non-static content will be proxied through NGINX on the front-end, to a set of three load-balanced Tomcat instances on the back-end. To further increase application performance, NGINX will also be configured for browser caching of the static content. In many enterprise environments, the use of a Java EE application server, like Tomcat, is still not uncommon.
Reverse proxying and caching are configured thought NGINX’s
default.conf file, in the
server configuration section:
The three Tomcat instances will be manually configured for load-balancing using NGINX’s default round-robin load-balancing algorithm. This is configured through the
default.conf file, in the
upstream configuration section:
Client requests are received through port
80 on the NGINX server. NGINX redirects requests, which are not for non-static assets, to one of the three Tomcat instances on port
The Spring Music application was designed to work with a number of data stores, including MySQL, Postgres, Oracle, MongoDB, Redis, and H2, an in-memory Java SQL database. Given the choice of both SQL and NoSQL databases, we will select MongoDB.
The Spring Music application, hosted by Tomcat, will store and modify record album data in a single instance of MongoDB. MongoDB will be populated with a collection of album data from a JSON file, when the Spring Music application first creates the MongoDB database instance.
Lastly, the ELK Stack with Filebeat, will aggregate NGINX, Tomcat, and Java Log4j log entries, providing debugging and analytics to our demonstration. A similar method for aggregating logs, using Logspout instead of Filebeat, can be found in this previous post.
In this post’s example, two build artifacts, a WAR file for the application and ZIP file for the static web content, are built automatically by Travis CI, whenever source code changes are pushed to the
springmusic_v2 branch of the garystafford/spring-music repository on GitHub.
Following a successful build and a small number of unit tests, Travis CI pushes the build artifacts to the
build-artifacts branch on the same GitHub project. The
build-artifacts branch acts as a pseudo binary repository for the project, much like JFrog’s Artifactory. These artifacts are used later by Docker to build the project’s immutable Docker images and containers.
Travis CI pushes build notifications to a Slack channel, which eliminates the need to actively monitor Travis CI.
.travis.yaml file, custom
gradle.build Gradle tasks, and the
deploy_travisci.sh script handles the Travis CI automation described, above.
You can easily replicate the project’s continuous integration automation using your choice of toolchains. GitHub or BitBucket are good choices for distributed version control. For continuous integration and deployment, I recommend Travis CI, Semaphore, Codeship, or Jenkins. Couple those with a good persistent chat application, such as Glider Labs’ Slack or Atlassian’s HipChat.
Building the Docker Environment
Make sure VirtualBox, Docker, Docker Compose, and Docker Machine, are installed and running. At the time of this post, I have the following versions of software installed on my Mac:
- Mac OS X 10.11.6
- VirtualBox 5.0.26
- Docker 1.12.1
- Docker Compose 1.8.0
- Docker Machine 0.8.1
To build the project’s VirtualBox VM, Docker images, and Docker containers, execute the build script, using the following command:
sh ./build_project.sh. A build script is useful when working with CI/CD automation tools, such as Jenkins CI or ThoughtWorks go. However, to understand the build process, I suggest first running the individual commands, locally.
Deploying to AWS
By simply changing the Docker Machine driver to AWS EC2 from VirtualBox, and providing your AWS credentials, the
springmusic environment may also be built on AWS.
Docker Machine provisions a single VirtualBox
springmusic VM on which host the project’s containers. VirtualBox provides a quick and easy solution that can be run locally for initial development and testing of the application.
Next, the script creates a Docker data volume and project-specific Docker bridge network.
Next, using the project’s individual Dockerfiles, Docker Compose pulls base Docker images from Docker Hub for NGINX, Tomcat, ELK, and MongoDB. Project-specific immutable Docker images are then built for NGINX, Tomcat, and MongoDB. While constructing the project-specific Docker images for NGINX and Tomcat, the latest Spring Music build artifacts are pulled and installed into the corresponding Docker images.
Docker Compose builds and deploys (6) containers onto the VirtualBox VM: (1) NGINX, (3) Tomcat, (1) MongoDB, and (1) ELK.
Docker Compose v2 YAML
This post was recently updated for Docker 1.12, and to use Docker Compose v2 YAML file format. The post’s
docker-compose.yml takes advantage of improvements in Docker 1.12 and Docker Compose v2 YAML. Improvements to the YAML file include eliminating the need to link containers and expose ports, and the addition of named networks and volumes.
Below are the results of building the project.
Testing the Application
Below are partial results of the curl test, hitting the NGINX endpoint. Note the different IP addresses in the
Upstream-Address field between requests. This test proves NGINX’s round-robin load-balancing is working across the three Tomcat application instances:
Also, note the sharp decrease in the
Request-Time between the first three requests and subsequent three requests. The
Upstream-Response-Time to the Tomcat instances doesn’t change, yet the total
Request-Time is much shorter, due to caching of the application’s static assets by NGINX.
Spring Music Application Links
springmusic VM is running at
192.168.99.100, the following links can be used to access various project endpoints. Note the (3) Tomcat instances each map to randomly exposed ports. These ports are not required by NGINX, which maps to port 8080 for each instance. The port is only required if you want access to the Tomcat Web Console. The port, shown below, 32771, is merely used as an example.
- Spring Music Application: 192.168.99.100
- NGINX Status: 192.168.99.100/nginx_status
- Tomcat Web Console – music_app_1*: 192.168.99.100:32771/manager
- Environment Variables – music_app_1: 192.168.99.100:32771/env
- Album List (RESTful endpoint) – music_app_1: 192.168.99.100:32771/albums
- Elasticsearch Info: 192.168.99.100:9200
- Elasticsearch Status: 192.168.99.100:9200/_status?pretty
- Kibana Web Console: 192.168.99.100:5601
* The Tomcat user name is
admin and the password is
- Cloud Foundry’s Spring Music Example
- Getting Started with Gradle for Java
- Introduction to Gradle
- Spring Framework
- Understanding Nginx HTTP Proxying, Load Balancing, Buffering, and Caching
- Common conversion patterns for log4j’s PatternLayout
- Spring @PropertySource example
- Java log4j logging
- Automate the Docker image build and publish processes
- Automate the Docker container build and deploy processes
- Automate post-deployment verification testing of project infrastructure
- Add Docker Swarm multi-host capabilities with overlay networking
- Update Spring Music with latest CF project revisions
- Include scripting example to stand-up project on AWS
- Add Consul and Consul Template for NGINX configuration