Red Hat OpenShift

OpenShift is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering from RedHat, which provides support for rapid deployment and automatic scalability support for web applications developed with Java EE, Node.js, Python, PHP, Perl and Ruby. OpenShift Express is a free shared-cloud solution for deploying your applications. With Express, you simply push your app using the command line tools to OpenShift and the platform takes care of the hosting infrastructure.

In this guide, we’ll take a simple Java web application and deploy it onto OpenShift Express. We’ll walk through the steps required to setup and administer MongoDB as well as backing up your data.

Cloning the App

We’ll be deploying an existing Java web application onto OpenShift. The app is a simple REST-style checkin mechanism with a single endpoint. The app supports POST-ing new checkins (by supplying a comment and location) and GET-ing checkins near a given location (by supplying a pair of coordinates). The app was built using Java SE 6 and Maven. Make sure to have those components installed, along with Git for your platform, before continuing.

First, start by cloning the repository for the web application:

git clone
cd openshift-checkins

Next, make sure you can build the app as-is using Maven:

mvn package

If that completes successfully, you’re ready to move on. To prepare our app for deployment, we’ll need to setup our OpenShift Express account.

Deploying onto Express

To deploy apps onto Express you’ll need to create an OpenShift account from the OpenShift sign up page and install the OpenShift command line tools.

First, follow the steps from the OpenShift Express getting started guide in the Install the client tools section for your platform. Once the tools have been installed we’ll create a domain name, app name and then push the sample app to OpenShift Express (the URL for the app will be something like

First, create the domain name:

$ rhc domain create -n your-domain -l your-openshift-login

This command will prompt you for your account password then for an SSH passphrase (it generates a public/private keypair to use for connecting to the OpenShift service). Next, create an entry for the app that we’ll be deploying. Here you’ll need to supply the app name (example, expresscheckin) and jbossas-7.0 as the app type:

$ rhc app create -a expresscheckin -t jbossas-7
Creating application: expresscheckin
Now your new domain name is being propagated worldwide (this might take a minute)...
Warning: Permanently added ',' (RSA) to the
list of known hosts.
Confirming application 'expresscheckin' is available:  Success!

expresscheckin published:
git url:  ssh://429827960cbf4518b1785ed928db9be7@expresscheckin-your-
Successfully created application: expresscheckin

After the app is created the command will also clone the app’s repository locally. Before continuing, we need to set up MongoDB on OpenShift and also update our app’s MongoDB connection information:

$ rhc app cartridge add -a expresscheckin -c mongodb-2.0


MongoDB 2.0 database added.  Please make note of these credentials:

       Root User: admin
   Root Password: 1wbLGYAmPgDM
   Database Name: expresscheckin
  Connection URL: mongodb://

You can manage your new MongoDB by also embedding rockmongo-1.1

Now that we’ve added support for MongoDB to our app (on OpenShift) we’ll need to take the credentials returned and update our openshift-checkins app configuration. Go back to the openshift-checkins directory and edit and add/update the following lines in the init function using the MongoDB details provided by OpenShift (don’t forget to uncomment the if statement with the authentication statement):

$ cd openshift-checkins
$ nano src/main/java/
conn = new Mongo("", 27017);
db = conn.getDB("expresscheckin");

if (!db.authenticate("admin", "1wbLGYAmPgDM".toCharArray())) {
  throw new MongoException("unable to authenticate");

Then build the openshift-checkins WAR file:

$ mvn package

Now, return to the cloned repository, remove the sample code generated from the expresscheckin app repo that was cloned to our system and copy the checkins.war file into the deployments as ROOT.war:

$ cd ../expresscheckin
$ rm -rf pom.xml src
$ cp ../openshift-checkins/target/checkins.war deployments/ROOT.war

As part of the deployment process, we also need to flag our WAR file to be deployed (expanded and copied to the right places):

$ touch deployments/ROOT.war.dodeploy

Now we can add it to the repository, commit and push:

$ git add -A
$ git commit -m "initial deployment of expresscheckin app onto OpenShift Express"
$ git push origin

After pushing the app, it will take a few minutes for the app to become available at That’s it, you’ve deployed a simple Java app that uses MongoDB to OpenShift Express. Refer to Testing the Deployment below for some notes on testing the app’s functionality.

Testing the Deployment

Once you’ve deployed your app onto OpenShift Express, the URL for the app will be something of the form We’ll now use that URL to conduct some tests on our deployed app.

Since the app is a simple RESTish mechanism we can use curl to test it out. Let’s start by posting a new comment and location to the URL (ex.

$ curl -X POST -d "comment=hello&x=1&y=1"

Now let’s see if we can find the comment we just posted at that location (x = 1, y = 1):

$ curl ""
{ "_id" : { "$oid" : "4f0e068c3004bfd40822840b"} , "comment" : "hello" , "location" : [ 1.0 ,

If these worked, then it looks like we’ve got a functional app deployed onto OpenShift.

Advanced Functionality

Once you’ve deployed your app, you’ll probably need to connect to your server at some point so you can do things like reviewing app logs or query data in MongoDB. The following steps will cover how you can do that (and if available, set up some advanced functionality).

App Administration

Using the command line tools, we can connect to the server our app is deployed on. Run the following command to get information about the current running apps:

$ rhc domain show

User Info
Namespace: checkins

Application Info
    Framework: jbossas-7
     Creation: 2012-04-14T14:04:54-04:00
         UUID: 485daa768043454d9cdcb9343018eb6e
      Git URL: ssh://485daa768043454d9cdcb9343018eb6e@expresscheckin-
   Public URL:

      mongodb-2.0 - Connection URL: mongodb://

The UDID above shows the user ID we can use to SSH into our server:

$ ssh

Welcome to OpenShift shell

This shell will assist you in managing openshift applications.

Shell access is quite powerful and it is possible for you to
accidentally damage your application.  Proceed with care!
If worse comes to worse, destroy your application with rhc-ctl-app
and recreate it

type "help" for more info.

Now at the prompt type help to see the available commands (in addition to normal shell commands):

[openshift]$ help
Help menu: The following commands are available to help control your openshift
application and environment.

ctl_app         control your application (start, stop, restart, etc)
ctl_all         control application and deps like mysql in one command
tail_all        tail all log files
export          list available environment variables
rm              remove files / directories
ls              list files / directories
ps              list running applications
kill            kill running applications
mongo           interactive MongoDB shell

To connect to MongoDB, we’ll need to use the credentials provided to us from OpenShift above when we set it up initially. Once you have those in hand, here’s how you should connect to the database:

[openshift]$ mongo expresscheckin -u admin -p 1wbLGYAmPgDM
MongoDB shell version: 2.0.2-rc1
connecting to:

From here you can query your data as needed for your application. Finally, to backup your app’s data, follow the instructions found on the MongoDB Backup docs. Specifically you’ll need to use the mongodump command to do a live backup of your data.

Backing up your app is a simple single step where we create a snapshot of the entirety of the application including data, which we can do locally on our development machine:

$ rhc app snapshot save -a expresscheckin
Pulling down a snapshot to expresscheckin.tar.gz

Running extra dump:
MongoDB already running
Stopping application...
Creating and sending tar.gz
Running extra cleanup:
Starting application...

Additional Information

For additional information, refer to the following: