Running WebSphere Application Server (full profile) in a Docker container
This article describes how to run WebSphere Application Server in a Docker container. We are going to use the developer version of WAS 8.5.5 to create a full profile, but the instructions can easily be adapted to a regular WebSphere version (provided you have an appropriate license) or a different WebSphere 8.x version. Note however that the solution will not work with WAS 7.0 because the installation procedure is completely different.
Creating the Docker image
To create the
Docker image, download IBM Installation Manager for Linux x86_64 and use the following
Dockerfile, after replacing the
-userPassword arguments with your IBM ID:
FROM centos:centos6 RUN yum install -q -y unzip ADD agent.installer.linux.gtk.x86_64_*.zip /tmp/ RUN \ unzip -qd /tmp/im /tmp/agent.installer.linux.gtk.x86_64_*.zip && \ /tmp/im/installc \ -acceptLicense \ -showProgress \ -installationDirectory /usr/lib/im \ -dataLocation /var/im && \ rm -rf /tmp/agent.installer.linux.gtk.x86_64_*.zip /tmp/im RUN \ REPO=http://www.ibm.com/software/repositorymanager/V85WASDeveloperILAN && \ /usr/lib/im/eclipse/tools/imutilsc saveCredential \ -url $REPO \ -userName firstname.lastname@example.org \ -userPassword mypassword \ -secureStorageFile /root/credentials && \ /usr/lib/im/eclipse/tools/imcl install \ com.ibm.websphere.DEVELOPERSILAN.v85_8.5.5003.20140730_1249 \ -repositories $REPO \ -acceptLicense \ -showProgress \ -secureStorageFile /root/credentials \ -sharedResourcesDirectory /var/cache/im \ -preferences com.ibm.cic.common.core.preferences.preserveDownloadedArtifacts=false \ -installationDirectory /usr/lib/was && \ rm /root/credentials RUN useradd --system -s /sbin/nologin -d /var/was was RUN \ hostname=$(hostname) && \ /usr/lib/was/bin/manageprofiles.sh -create \ -templatePath /usr/lib/was/profileTemplates/default \ -profileName default \ -profilePath /var/was \ -cellName test -nodeName node1 -serverName server1 \ -hostName $hostname && \ echo -n $hostname > /var/was/.hostname && \ chown -R was:was /var/was USER was RUN echo -en '#!/bin/bash\n\ set -e\n\ node_dir=/var/was/config/cells/test/nodes/node1\n\ launch_script=/var/was/bin/start_server1.sh\n\ old_hostname=$(cat /var/was/.hostname)\n\ hostname=$(hostname)\n\ if [ $old_hostname != $hostname ]; then\n\ echo "Updating configuration with new hostname..."\n\ sed -i -e "s/\"$old_hostname\"/\"$hostname\"/" $node_dir/serverindex.xml\n\ echo $hostname > /var/was/.hostname\n\ fi\n\ if [ ! -e $launch_script ] ||\n\ [ $node_dir/servers/server1/server.xml -nt $launch_script ]; then\n\ echo "Generating launch script..."\n\ /var/was/bin/startServer.sh server1 -script $launch_script\n\ fi\n\ ' > /var/was/bin/updateConfig.sh && chmod a+x /var/was/bin/updateConfig.sh # Speed up the first start of a new container RUN /var/was/bin/updateConfig.sh RUN echo -en '#!/bin/bash\n\ set -e\n\ /var/was/bin/updateConfig.sh\n\ echo "Starting server..."\n\ exec /var/was/bin/start_server1.sh\n\ ' > /var/was/bin/start.sh && chmod a+x /var/was/bin/start.sh CMD ["/var/was/bin/start.sh"]
Note that by executing this Dockerfile you accept the license agreement for IBM Installation Manager and WebSphere Application Server for Developers.
The execution of the
imutilsc may fail with the following error, even though you have specified a valid user name and
Cannot connect to the URL. - Verify that the URL is correct. - Verify that the user name and password are correct. - Verify that you can access the network.
The root cause for that is IBM inability to correctly configure its CDN:
$ curl -i http://www.ibm.com/software/repositorymanager/V85WASDeveloperILAN/ HTTP/1.1 302 Moved Temporarily Cache-Control: max-age=301 Expires: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:14:44 GMT Content-Type: text/html Location: https://www-912.ibm.com/software/repositorymanager/V85WASDeveloperILAN/ Content-Length: 255 epKe-Alive: timeout=10, max=7 Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:09:43 GMT Connection: keep-alive <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0//EN"> <html><head> <title>302 Found</title> </head><body> <h1>Found</h1> <p>The document has moved <a href="https://www-912.ibm.com/software/repositorymanager/V85WASDeveloperILAN/">here</a>.</p> </body></html> $ curl -I http://www.ibm.com/software/repositorymanager/V85WASDeveloperILAN/ HTTP/1.1 503 Service Unavailable Server: AkamaiGHost Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/html Content-Length: 177 Expires: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:09:52 GMT Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:09:52 GMT Connection: keep-alive $
The output of these two commands show that a GET request to the repository URL gets redirected with HTTP status 302,
while a HEAD request for the same URL results in a 503 error. The problem is that
imutilsc uses a HEAD request and
therefore fails. The work around this issue, replace the value of the
REPO variable with the location obtained from
the 302 response. In the example shown above, this would be
How it works
Here are some more details about the Dockerfile:
Only IBM Installation Manager needs to be downloaded before creating the image. The product itself (WebSphere Application Server for Developers 8.5.5) is downloaded by Installation Manager during image creation. Note that this may take a while. The
preserveDownloadedArtifacts=falsepreference instructs Installation Manager to remove the downloaded packages. This reduces the size of the image.
The Dockerfile creates a default application server profile that is configured to run as a non-root user. The HTTP port is 9080 and the URL of the admin console is
http://...:9060/ibm/console. New containers should typically be created with the following options:
-p 9060:9060 -p 9080:9080. Refer to the Port number settings page in the Knowledge Center for a complete list of ports used by WAS. Note that this page doesn’t mention the default port used for remote debugging, which is 7777.
To see the WebSphere server logs, use the following command (requires Docker 1.3):
docker exec <container_id> tail -F /var/was/logs/server1/SystemOut.log
Docker assigns a new hostname to every newly created container. This is a problem because the
serverindex.xmlfile in the configuration of the WebSphere profile contains the hostname. That is to say that WebSphere implicitly assumes that the hostname is static and not expected to change after the profile has been created. To overcome this problem the Dockerfile adds a script called
updateConfig.shto the image. That script is executed before the server is started and (among other things) updates the hostnames in
Docker expects the RUN command to run the server process in the foreground (instead of allowing it to detach) and to gracefully stop the server when receiving a TERM signal. WebSphere’s
startServer.shcommand doesn’t meet these requirements. This issue is solved by using the
-scriptoption, which tells
startServer.shto generate a launch script instead of starting the server. This launch script has the desired properties and is used by the RUN command. This has an additional benefit: the
startServer.shcommand itself takes a significant amount of time (it’s a Java process that reads the configuration and then starts a separate process for the actual WebSphere server) and skipping it reduces the startup time.
There is however a problem with this approach. The content of the launch script generated by
startServer.shdepends on the server configuration, in particular the JVM settings specified in
server.xml. When they change, the launch script needs to be regenerated. This can be easily detected and the
updateConfig.shscript added by the Dockerfile is designed to take care of this.
The RUN command is a script that first runs
updateConfig.shand then executes the launch script. In addition to that,
updateConfig.shis also executed once during the image creation. This will speed up the first start of a new container created from that image, not only because the launch script will already exist, but also because the very first execution of the
startServer.shscript typically takes much longer to complete.