Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Running Java Jetty server on Azure with AzureRunMe

The AzureRunMe project exists for a while. There are a lot of commercial projects (Java, Python, and others) running on Azure using it. The most common scenario for running Java on Azure uses Apache Tomcat server. Let's see how can we use Jetty to run our Java application in a Cloud Service.

Frist we will need a Visual Studio. Yep … there are still options for our deployment (such as size of the Virtual Machine to name one) which require recompilation of the whole package and are not just configuration options. But, you can use the free Express version (I think you will need both for Web and for Windows Desktop versions). And yes, it is absolutely free and you can use it to build your AzureRunMe package for Azure deployment. Along with Visual Studio, you have to also install the latest version (or the latest supported by the AzureRunMe project) of Windows Azure SDK for .NET.

Then get the latest version of AzureRunMe from GirHub. Please go through the Readme to get to know the AzreRunMe project overall.

Next is to get the JRE for Windows ZIP package. If you don't have it already on your computer, you have to download it from Oracle's site (no direct link supported because Oracle wants you to accept license agreement first). I got the Server JRE version. Have the ZIP handy.

Now let's get Jetty. The version I got is 9.0.5.

Now get hands dirty.

Create a folder structure similar to the following one:

As per AzureRunMe requirements – my application is prepared to run from a single folder. I have java-1.7, jetty-9.0.5 and runme.bat into that folder. To prepare my application for AzureRunMe I create two zip files:

  • – the Java folder as is
  • – contains both runme.bat + jetty-9.0.5 folder

I also have put a WAR file of my application into jetty's webapps folder. It will later be automatically deployed by the Jetty engine itself. I then upload these two separate ZIP files into a blob container of my choice (for the example I named it deploy). Content of the runme.bat file is as simple as that:

@echo off
REM Starting Jetty with depolyed app
cd jetty-9.0.5
..\java-1.7\jre\bin\java -jar start.jar jetty.port=8080

It just starts the jetty server.

Now let's jump to Visual Studio to create the package. Once you've installed Visual Studio and downloaded the latest version of AzureRunMe, you have to open the AzureRunme.sln file (Visual Studio Solution file). Usually just double click on that file and it will automatically open with Visual Studio. There are very few configuration settings you need to set before you create your package. Right click on the WorkerRole item which is under AzureRunMe:

This will open the Properties pages:

In the first page we configure the number of Virtual Machines we want running for us, and their size. One more option to configure – Diagnostics Connection String. Here just replace YOURACCOUNTNAME and YOURACCOUNTKEY with respective values for Azure Storage Account credentials.

Now move to the Settings tab:

Here we have to set few more things:

  • Packages: the most important one. This is semicolon (;) separated list of packages to deploy. Packages are downloaded and unzipped in the order of appearance in the list. I have set two packages (zip files that I have created earlier): deploy/;deploy/
  • Commands: this again a semicolon (;) separated list of batch files or single commands to execute when everything is ready. In my case this is the runme.bat file, which was in package.
  • Update storage credentials to 3 different places.

For more information and description of each setting, please refer to AzureRunMe project's documentation.

Final step. Right click on AzureRunMe item with the cloud icon and select "Create Package":

If everything is fine you shall get a nice set of files which you shall use to deploy your jetty server in Azure:

You can refer to the online documentation here, if you have doubts on how to deploy your cloud service package.

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