Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Deploy Application Binaries (*.war) to OpenShift

RedHat OpenShift is a PaaS that provides a cloud hosting for your applications.

I'd like to share a practice that I use to deploy my Java application to OpenShift.

I only have experience with Tomcat 7 (JBoss EWS 2.0) cartridge and non-scalable applications, so I will talk about them. However this may be applied to other environments.

I use GitHub to store my application codebase, and I also use Gradle as a build tool.

If you use Maven for your builds and you have all your dependencies in public Maven repositories or these repositories that are accessible from OpenShift, then this blog post is likely not for you.

As of today OpenShift does not support Gradle as a build tool, and I have some of my dependencies in my private/local repositories that are not available from OpenShift, this is why I build my application locally and only deploy binaries to OpenShift.

When you create OpenShift application there is a Git repository that you may use to deploy your code. You can also use this Git as your primary source storage (or you can synchronize with your GitHub repo), but I don't do this.

This Git repo has specific directory structure and OpenShift auto-deployment rely on this structure, this is one of the reasons I don't use this Git repo as my primary code base -- I use multiple deployment targets for my project and OpenShift is only one of them.

The directory structure contains /webapps folder where you can put your *.war file and OpenShift will deploy it when you Git push.

If you do this, however, you will find soon that your Git repository will eat all your server-side disk quota (which is only 1GB for free). This is because remote Git repository will hold all revisions of your  binaries. My *.war file size is near 50MB -- this is typical for most small-to-medium Java applications. So after you do 20 deployments -- you will be out of free space.

Usually you don't need all these revisions of your binaries, so to fix this situation you first should delete your remote Git history and adopt some other practice for deployments.

Here is how I do this.

Delete old revisions of your binaries from your remote OpenShift Git repo

  1. First you need to do a git clone or a git pull to fetch recent version of your remote repo. Lets name the folder you've cloned to as OLD_REPO. You will need this to restore your git hooks that are in the .openshift subfolder, and maybe some other configs except your binaries (see step 8 below). 
  2. SSH connect to your OpenShift instance.
  3. cd ~/git/.git/objects
  4. rm -rf *
  5. cd ..
  6. rm refs/heads/master
  7. Do a fresh git clone from remote OpenShift Git. It will tell you that you've cloned empty repository -- this is correct, your remote repository now clean. Lets name your new clone folder as NEW_REPO.
  8. Copy contents of OLD_REPO to the NEW_REPO. You should copy all except .git folder, because NEW_REPO will already contain itself .git folder.
  9. Delete NEW_REPO/webapps/*.war -- these are your previous binaries:
    git rm webapps/*.war
At this stage you will have empty remote Git repository and local clone with latest revision of what you've had in remote before deleting it except your binaries.

Way to deploy new binaries

To deploy new binaries you have to copy them manually to OpenShift. I do this using SCP command.

I created a shell-script upload-war.sh with the following content:

scp $PROJECT_X_WORKSPACE_DIR/project-x/project-x-web/build/libs/*.war $PROJECT_X_OPENSHIFT_ADDRESS:~/app-root/data/webapps/ROOT.war

As you see I use environment variables to tell the script where my local binary is located and where should I place them in remote OpenShift. PROJECT_X_OPENSHIFT_ADDRESS is the username@address you use when connect to OpenShift by SSH.

My project has only one target *.war artifact and I copy it to remote data folder under the ROOT.war name. In OpenShift the data folder is the place where you store your custom files.

After I copied the file I have to tell OpenShift to deploy it.
To do this I modify build action hook which is located here: NEW_REPO/.openshift/action_hooks/build to make it look like this:

# This is a simple build script and will be executed on your CI system if
# available.  Otherwise it will execute while your application is stopped
# before the deploy step.  This script gets executed directly, so it
# could be python, php, ruby, etc.


Here $OPENSHIFT_DATA_DIR and $OPENSHIFT_REPO_DIR are OpenShift built-in environment variables.

Add this script to version control, commit and push to OpenShift remote.

When you commit this hook will copy the binary you copied earlier and deploy it. So next time when you will release new version, just run upload-war.sh and do some dummy commit/push to the OpenShift remote and thats it.

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