Grails

Boxfuse supports Grails 3.0.x or newer Apps packaged as a Grails Executable Jar using either OpenJDK 7.x or 8.x.

Get Started

If you haven't already, start by following Grails & Boxfuse tutorial that will get you up and running in 5-10 minutes.

Also check out our blog post on how to create a Grails application and deploy it effortlessly on EC2 using Boxfuse.

Java Runtime Environment

By default Boxfuse uses the latest OpenJDK 8.x version (headless JRE).

OpenJDK version

If you want to switch to OpenJDK 7.x or simply an older version, you can do so using the -components.openjdk configuration setting:

> boxfuse run my-app-1.0.jar -components.openjdk=7.80.32

To find out which OpenJDK versions are available from the Boxfuse Inventory you can simply issue:

> boxfuse inventory openjdk

Custom JRE

If you prefer to use a different JRE, including the Oracle JRE, rather than the default OpenJDK one, you can do so by including the Linux x64 JRE distribution of your choice in a /jre folder inside the executable jar file.

If you use Gradle, this means the /jre folder should be put into the src/main/resources directory:

 my-grails-app
   src
     main
       java
       resources
         jre
   bin
     java
     ...
   lib
     amd64
     ...
     rt.jar
     ...
   COPYRIGHT
   LICENSE
   ...

Tip for Git users

To avoid file corruption due to Git line-ending normalization, add the following line to .gitattributes

src/main/resources/jre/* binary

Configuration

By default Boxfuse looks for an application.yml file inside the Grails jar file and runs your app with the Spring profile boxfuse activated by default.

In your Grails project, this means the application.yml file should be put into the grails-app/conf directory. When Grails packages the executable jar, it will include it in the root of your class path, where Boxfuse can see it.

 my-grails-app
   grails-app
     conf
       application.yml

Boxfuse parses application.yml and automatically configures the ports and the healthcheck based on the information it contains.

If no application.yml is found at the root of the jar file, Boxfuse will automatically look for application-boxfuse.yml, application-default.yml, application-boxfuse.properties, application-default.properties and application.properties. The overriding order matches the default Spring Boot one.

Ports

Boxfuse will automatically configure your application ports to be either HTTP or HTTPS based on the value of server.ssl.enabled. The actual port numbers are automatically configured according to the values of the server.port and management.port properties.

Healthchecks

If your application also includes the Spring Boot Actuator, Boxfuse will automatically configures its healthcheck to match the Spring Boot health endpoint. The only requirement is that if you provide your own configuration, you must set management.health.diskspace.enabled to false.

Spring Profiles

By default Boxfuse activates a Spring Profile called boxfuse. You can however easily specify a different profile by setting the SPRING_PROFILES_ACTIVE environment variable to the value you need using the envvars argument.

Tip

To use a different Spring Profile for each Boxfuse environment, set the Spring Boot profile to the value of the BOXFUSE_ENV environment variable which contains the name of the current environment (dev, test, prod): envvars.SPRING_PROFILES_ACTIVE=$BOXFUSE_ENV

Databases

Database auto-provisioning

When using the Boxfuse database auto-provisioning support, Boxfuse automatically configures Grails' DataSource to use the correct jdbc url, user and password.

If your app includes the PostgreSQL or MySQL JDBC driver, Boxfuse will automatically provision the necessary PostgreSQL or MySQL database in each environment and auto-configure Grails' DataSource.

Using an existing database

To disable database auto-provisioning and use an existing database set db.type to none when creating your app.

TLS (SSL) Certificates / HTTPS

Automatic TLS (SSL) Certificate management

To expose your app via HTTPS make sure you have a custom domain configured for the environment where you want to run it. Also make sure that you have obtained a valid TLS (SSL) certificate and that your app has been created with app.type set to load-balanced and tls.type set to acm (AWS Certificate Manager).

With that in place your Grails app will be automatically configured to run with HTTPS and a green lock will appear in the browser.

You can also manually force the correct configuration by adding these properties to your Grails config file:

server.port=443
server.ssl.enabled=true
server.ssl.key-store=/app-config/boxfuse-selfsigned.jks
server.ssl.key-store-password=boxfuse-selfsigned

This will ensure that all network traffic between the ELB and your instances will be encrypted as well.

Manual TLS (SSL) Certificate management

To use HTTPS with your own certificate, you first have to obtain a valid certificate from a Certificate Authority and add a KeyStore containing your TLS (SSL) certificate to the root of the classpath to ensure it is packaged inside the Grails jar file.

If you use Gradle, this means your .jks or .keystore KeyStore file should be put into the src/main/resources directory. When Gradle packages the jar, it will include it in the root of your Spring Boot jar file, where Boxfuse can see it.

 my-grails-app
   src
     main
       groovy
       resources
         example.jks

You can then configure the Spring Boot connector to use it. So if for example you have a KeyStore named /example.jks inside your Spring Boot jar file, application.yml should look like this:

server:
  port: 443
  ssl:
    enabled: true
    key-store: classpath:example.jks
    key-store-password: myS3cr3tPwd

Root Certificates

By default, Boxfuse uses the same root certificate bundle as the latest version of Firefox. Additionally Boxfuse also includes the root certificates for Amazon RDS, so you can connect securely to RDS databases out of the box.

You can, however, ship your own set of root certificates, by placing them in a KeyStore inside the Jar file as /cacerts. If you use Gradle, this means your cacerts KeyStore file should be put into the src/main/resources directory. Boxfuse will then automatically configure the JRE to use these instead.

 my-grails-app
   src
     main
       groovy
       resources
         cacerts

If you choose to secure your cacerts TrustStore with a password different than the default changeit, you have to add the following to your Grails configuration:

server:
  ssl:
    trust-store: /cacerts/cacerts
    trust-store-password: my0th3rPwd

JCE unlimited strength cryptography

To enable JCE unlimited cryptography (for AES-256, RSA-4096, ...), download the policy zip from the Oracle website for either Java 7 or Java 8.

Extract both local_policy.jar and US_export_policy.jar and place them at the root of your Jar file. If you use Gradle, this means both policy jar files should be put into the src/main/resources directory. Boxfuse will then automatically configure the JRE to use these instead.

 my-grails-app
   src
     main
       java
       resources
         local_policy.jar
 US_export_policy.jar

Java Agents

If you wish to launch the JRE with one or more Java Agents, simply place the Java Agent files inside the Jar file under /javaagents/. In a Gradle project this means you have to put your agent jar and whatever other files it requires under src/main/resources/javaagents:

 my-grails-app
   src
     main
       groovy
       resources
         javaagents
   myjavaagent.jar
   myjavaagent.properties

Boxfuse will then automatically configure the JRE to use these Java Agents

JVM Memory

By default Boxfuse will dynamically configure your JVM heap to use 85% of the available memory in the instance. All other settings use the JVM defaults. You can override this by specifying the required JVM arguments like -Xmx via the jvm.args configuration setting.

Temporary Files

Boxfuse configures the JVM to use /tmp as the directory to store temporary files and provisions 1 GB of space by default.

To increase this (up to a maximum of 16 TB), simply set the tmp configuration setting to the number of GB of temp space you need. To prevent Boxfuse from provisioning any temp space set tmp to 0.

Boxfuse also automatically configures the Spring Boot Actuator disk space health check to monitor /tmp. When you disable the temp space (by setting tmp to 0), Boxfuse will also automatically disable the Actuator disk space health check.

Debugging

Remote debugging (including hot-code replace) with your favorite IDE is fully supported. Details and setup instructions on our debugging page.

Profiling

Profiling with tools like JVisualVM and Java Flight Recorder is fully supported. Details and setup instructions on our profiling page.

Live Reloading

Boxfuse supports Live Reloading of exploded Grails jar files.

Time Zone

By default all Boxfuse instance use the UTC time zone.

We don't recommend changing this as this greatly simplifies time zone issues in machine to machine communication and cleanly relegates all time zones related aspects to a pure presentation layer concern.

If however you still do want to change this, you can override the default time zone of the instance using the TZ environment variable. For example to change the time zone of your instance to America/Los_Angeles you would do so like this:

> boxfuse fuse -envvars.TZ=America/Los_Angeles

Native binaries and libs

Some JVM applications also depend on native Linux x64 binaries and libs to do their work. Boxfuse makes it easy to integrate them into your image.

Simply place your binaries under /native/bin on the classpath and Boxfuse will automatically add them to the PATH at runtime in your instances.

If those binaries also depend on additional shared libraries beyond the C library, place the .so files of your libraries under /native/lib on the classpath and Boxfuse will automatically add them to the LD_LIBRARY_PATH at runtime in your instances.

Tip

To list all the shared libraries your Linux x64 binary requires, you can use the following command on a Linux system:

$ ldd -v my-native-binary

If you use Maven or Gradle, the native directory should be put into the src/main/resources directory. Boxfuse will then automatically configure the PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH to use it.

 my-grails-app
   src
     main
       java
       resources
         native
   bin
     my-native-binary
     other-linux-x64-binary
   lib
     my-shared-lib.so
     other-shared-lib.so

You can then simply invoke them in your code using

Runtime.getRuntime().exec("my-native-binary arg1 arg2 arg3");

New Relic support

To monitor your app using New Relic simply pass in your New Relic license key when fusing your image and Boxfuse will automatically install and configure the New Relic Servers Linux x64 and New Relic Java agents for you.

> boxfuse fuse -newrelic.licensekey=0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef01234567

Alternatively you can also supply a newrelic.yml configuration file for the Java agent and Boxfuse will automatically use that instead. Boxfuse will then install the agent for you, but won't override any application name you may have configured. If you haven't configured a New Relic license key as described above, Boxfuse will use the license key contained in your newrelic.yml configuration file instead.

If you use Maven or Gradle, the newrelic.yml file should be put into the src/main/resources directory. Boxfuse will then automatically configure the New Relic Java agent to use it.

 my-grails-app
   src
     main
       java
       resources
         newrelic.yml

Linux Kernel Tuning (experts only)

Kernel arguments

To tune the arguments passed Linux kernel from the bootloader, simply pass them using the -linux.args setting when fusing your image.

sysctl.conf

If you need to tune the Linux kernel running in your instance, simply place a sysctl.conf file at the root inside your jar file. In a Gradle project this means you have to put it under src/main/resources:

 my-grails-app
   src
     main
       java
       resources
         sysctl.conf

You can then for example tune the maximum number of file descriptors by simply including the following in sysctl.conf:

fs.file-max = 131072

Boxfuse will then automatically configure the Linux kernel to use these settings.

Dropwizard