GlassFish 4 on OpenShift

Hosting your Java EE apps

Originally posted on September 14, 2013
Updated on January 19, 2015


As people have been asking me how I got GlassFish 4 running on OpenShift, I decided to write down everything I learned in the process. I started out by following these examples, but ran into a lot of trouble along the way. I hope this post can make the process a lot easier for you.


First of all: don't even bother trying this on Windows. Use OS X or Linux. Start by creating an OpenShift account. Using their web interface, create a new application with the DIY cartridge and add a MySQL cartridge to it as well. I will refer to this application as yourapp from now on. Lastly, you will need the OpenShift Client Tools, so install those as well.

As for GlassFish, you can download (or clone) my archive from GitHub. This is the official GlassFish 4 release, modified in the following ways:

  • The domain.xml configuration file has been modified to run on OpenShift.
  • It already includes the MySQL driver in domain1/lib.

The archive also contains the start and stop hooks you need.

Setting up the server

Start by cloning your repository to your local machine:

rhc git-clone yourapp

This will create a yourapp directory. Move the files you downloaded (or cloned) into yourapp as follows:

  • Move the glassfish4 directory (the entire directory, not just its contents) into yourapp/diy.
  • Move the start and stop hooks into yourapp/.openshift/action_hooks and check to make sure they're executable.

Finally, add, commit and push the changes you made back to OpenShift:

cd yourapp
git add .
git status
git commit -m "Added GlassFish"
git push

The push will cause your application to restart and execute the new start hook. Give it a few minutes just to be sure, then check if the server is running at

I added the git status command in there so you can verify if Git picked up all the changes you made. If not, use git add to add the files Git missed.

If this is your first time using Git from the command-line, I recommend you set up your name and email address and change your default editor to something other than vi:

git config --global "My Name"
git config --global
git config --global core.editor nano

Deploying applications

To deploy an application, simply copy its war into domain1/autodeploy and run the previous commands again to add, commit and push the changes. GlassFish will automatically deploy your application after launch. If you think something went wrong, use ssh to log into your application and look for a your.war_deployed file in the autodeploy directory:

rhc app ssh yourapp
cd diy/glassfish4/glassfish/domains/domain1/autodeploy/

If there is no such file, take a look at the server logs to find out what went wrong:

cd ../logs/
cat server.log | tail -n100

Setting up resources

You cannot use the GlassFish administration console with OpenShift. Neither does glassfish-resources.xml seem to be supported. If you need to set up JDBC resources, connection pools, security realms, ... on your server, I recommend you use the following approach:

  • Set up the resources you need on a local GlassFish server.
  • Take a look at that server's domain.xml to see what changes were made.
  • Make the same changes to domain1/config/domain.xml in yourapp. Usually, this just means adding one or two extra elements.
  • As usual: add, commit and push the changes.

Connecting to your MySQL server

Working with your MySQL server on OpenShift is pretty easy once you figure out how to connect to it from MySQL Workbench. Launch Workbench and add a new connection. As you can't connect to MySQL on OpenShift directly, you need to use a TCP/IP over SSH connection. The settings I used for my application can be seen in the following screenshot:


To find the settings you need, use the rhc app show yourapp command. This is what I get for my glassfish application:

MacBook-Air:OpenShift Steven$ rhc app show glassfish
glassfish @ (uuid: 5232bc5f500446f41000014c)
  Domain:  svanimpe
  Created: Sep 13  9:18 AM
  Gears:   1 (defaults to small)
  Git URL: ssh://

  diy-0.1 (Do-It-Yourself 0.1)
    Gears: Located with mysql-5.1

  mysql-5.1 (MySQL Database 5.1)
    Gears:          Located with diy-0.1
    Database Name:  glassfish
    Password:       supersecret
    Username:       adminHWvBmju

The output will give you all of the values you need except for the MySQL hostname and port, as the command only shows the environment variables and not the actual values. To find out those values, ssh into your application and use the env and grep commands:

[ 5232bc5f500446f41000014c]\> env | grep MYSQL

That's it! You should now be up and running with both GlassFish 4 and MySQL.

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