Migrating a Java Web Application from Amazon Web Services

This article describes the migration of a Tomcat and Spring Java web application from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Rackspace Cloud. It takes an estimated 30 minutes to complete, if you follow the instructions step by step.

These steps assume you have provisioned the Rackspace Cloud services your application will require.

The web application used here is the Spring Framework Petclinic sample available at github.com/SpringSource/spring-petclinic.

The topology of the application in this scenario is represented in the following figure:


  • EC2 instance on AWS with root access running the Spring web application on Apache Tomcat
  • Valid and enabled account on Rackspace Cloud


  • Identify the resources to migrate, including application and database resources.
  • Create a list of all the necessary software packages that are installed on your EC2 instance other than your Spring application
  • Create a list of all additional Amazon servers that are being used in the application-for example, Simple Email Server (SES) for email or Relational Database Service (RDS) for database.
  • If you have not already, create a Cloud Server instance and any supporting Rackspace Cloud services.

Install software packages

  1. Install OpenJDK on the cloud:
    1. Using SSH, connect to the Cloud Servers instance by using the PublicNet URL and the root password.
    2. Enter the root password to log on.
    3. Install OpenJDK 7.
      sudo yum install java-1.7.0-openjdk-devel
    4. Determine JAVA_HOME.
      ll /etc/alternatives/java

      Following is example output in which JAVA_HOME is /usr/lib/jvm/jre-1.7.0-openjdk.x86_64.

      /etc/alternatives/java -> /usr/lib/jvm/jre-1.7.0-openjdk.x86_64/bin/java
  2. Install Tomcat on the cloud server:
    1. Download Tomcat, selecting the version from the following list: http://tomcat.apache.org/download-70.cgi
    2. Copy the URL of the tar.gz file (for example, http://www.us.apache.org/dist/tomcat/tomcat-7/v7.0.39/bin/apache-tomcat-7.0.39.tar.gz).
    3. Change directory to /usr/share(or your directory of choice) and download the binary.
      cd /usr/share
      sudo wget http://www.us.apache.org/dist/tomcat/tomcat-7/v7.0.39/bin/apache-tomcat-7.0.39.tar.gz
    4. Change permissions.
      sudo chmod 775 apache-tomcat-7.0.39.tar.gz
    5. Extract file contents.
      sudo tar zxvf apache-tomcat-7.0.39.tar.gz
    6. After Tomcat is extracted, remove the tar.gz files to save space.
      sudo rm apache-tomcat-7.0.39.tar.gz
    7. Set environment variables in catalina.sh.
      cd /usr/share/apache-tomcat-7.0.39/bin
      sudo vi catalina.sh

      Add the following line immediately after #!/bin/sh:

    8. Save and exit.
    9. Automate the startup of Tomcat.
      cd /etc/init.d
      sudo vi tomcat
    10. Add the following information to the file.
      Ensure that JAVA_HOME, TOMCAT_HOME, START_TOMCAT, and STOP_TOMCAT refer to the correct directories.
      # chkconfig: 234 20 80
      # description: Tomcat Server basic start/shutdown script
      # processname: tomcat
      export JAVA_HOME
      start() {
      echo -n "Starting tomcat: "
      cd $TOMCAT_HOME
      echo "done."
      stop() {
      echo -n "Shutting down tomcat: "
      cd $TOMCAT_HOME
      echo "done."
      case "$1" in
      sleep 10
      echo "Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart}"
      exit 0
    11. Save and exit.
    12. Set file permissions, set up Tomcat as a system service, and test the setup.
      sudo chmod 755 tomcat
      sudo /sbin/chkconfig --add tomcat
      sudo /sbin/chkconfig --level 234 tomcat on
      sudo /sbin/chkconfig --list tomcat

      The expected output looks as follows:

      tomcat 0:off 1:off 2:on 3:on 4:on 5:off 6:off
    13. Because Tomcat is running on port 8080, ensure iptables will not interfere with connectivity.
      To learn about iptables, see Introduction to iptables.
    14. Test Tomcat by looking up the cloud server IP in the Rackspace Cloud Control Panel and opening the URL in a browser (for example, http://<ipAddress>:8080/).
      The Apache Tomcat landing page should appear.

      Note: You can stop and start Tomcat with the following commands:

      sudo /sbin/service tomcat stop
      sudo /sbin/service tomcat start
  3. (Optional) Install OpenStack Swift. If you will use Cloud Files to transfer your data, install the swift client to enable access from your server.
    sudo yum install python-novaclient python-glanceclient swift
    1. Set the necessary environment variables by running the following commands, substituting your Rackspace Cloud account username and API key:
      export ST_USER=<your-login-username>
      export ST_KEY=<your-API-key>
      export ST_AUTH=https://identity.api.rackspacecloud.com/v1.0/

      You might want to define these variables in .bashrc or .bash_profile, then reload the file with the "source" command.

      source .bashrc
    2. Type swift list and ensure that you can see the container you've created to hold your data.

Back up data from AWS to Rackspace Cloud Files

Retrieve your data from EC2. You can transfer the data directly via rsync or sftp, or you can use the OpenStack Swift client to transfer your data to Cloud Files, and from there transfer to the Cloud Server.

To use Cloud Files, follow these preparatory steps (for this example we'll use an existing container named "Tomcat"):

  1. Using SSH, connect to your EC2 instance.
    ssh -i your_private_key.pem user@ec2-xxx-xxx-xxx-xxx.compute-1.amazonaws.com
  2. Perform a database dump.
    mysqldump -h <RDS-hostname> -u <RDS-username> -p --triggers --routines --databases petclinic | gzip > ~/petclinic.sql.gz
  3. Back up your application and any other resources needed by the application, including logs and other directories of interest.
    # make sure you have the correct tomcat7 directory
    sudo tar cvzf ~/tomcat.tar.gz /usr/share/tomcat7/webapps/*
  4. If you are using Cloud Files to transfer your files, use one of the following methods to perform the transfer. If you will transfer directly via rsync or sftp, skip to the final section of this article after the transfer.
    • Upload your archives to the Cloud Files container via the swift client.
      swift upload Tomcat petclinic.sql.gz
      swift upload Tomcat tomcat.tar.gz
    • Upload your data into Cloud Files through the Cloud Control Panel.
      1. Open your container (Cloud Control Panel > Files > containerName).
      2. Click Upload Files.
      3. Click Browseand select the files to upload.

        Note: When you click the Browse button, you can select multiple files.

      4. After you have selected the file or files, click Open or Select (depending on the browser and system).
      5. Click Upload File.

Restore data from Cloud Files to Cloud Servers

If you uploaded your data to Cloud Files, transfer it to your Cloud Server with the following steps.

  1. Using SSH, connect to the Cloud Servers instance by using the PublicNet URL and the root password.
  2. Install and configure the Swift CLI as described in the "Install software packages" section.
  3. Ensure that you can execute swift list and see the new container that you created in the results.
  4. Download the database dump from the backup that you took in the "Back up data from AWS to Rackspace Cloud Files" section and restore it locally.
    swift download Tomcat petclinic.sql.gz
    gunzip < petclinic.sql.gz | mysql -u <Cloud-Database-uername> -p -h <Cloud-Database-hostname>
  5. Stop Tomcat, download the application files, and extract them.
    sudo /sbin/service tomcat stop
    swift download Tomcat tomcat.tar.gz
    tar -zxvf tomcat.tar.gz
  6. Copy the extracted web application contents to the local Tomcat webappsdirectory and modify the application properties (jdbc.url, database user name, database password, and so on).

    Additionally, in the Spring Framework Petclinic sample, the following files must be commented out:

  7. Restart Tomcat.
    sudo /sbin/service tomcat start

Test your application

Access the web application at http://<cloudServerIPAddress>:8080/petclinic.

Before making your migrated application available to the public, we recommend weighing some post-migration considerations like the security of your setup, monitoring its availability, and ensuring your data is regularly backed up.

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