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From André Warnier>
Subject Re: URI mapping
Date Sun, 23 Oct 2011 21:17:00 GMT
Mark Eggers wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: André Warnier <>
>> To: Tomcat Users List <>
>> Cc: 
>> Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2011 5:08 AM
>> Subject: Re: URI mapping
>> Let's restart from the beginning.
>> You have, say, 3 Tomcat servers running, and for the sake of the example 
>> let's say that these are
>> - a Tomcat 5.x server
>> - a Tomcat 6.x server
>> - a Tomcat 7.x server
>> You want to run the same applications on all of them (with identical names on 
>> each server), because for instance these are test servers serving to verify that

>> a given application runs fine under each of these Tomcat versions.
>> You want to be able to choose which Tomcat server you are accessing, by means of

>> some URI prefix.
>> Example :
>> a request with URI "http://myhost/tomcat7/webapp1" should be forwarded 
>> to webapp1 on Tomcat7, while a request with URI 
>> "http://myhost/tomcat5/webapp1" should be forwarded to Tomcat5.
>> Of course, once "inside" the respective Tomcat, you want this prefix 
>> to have been removed, so that the applications inside this Tomcat look similar 
>> to the same ones in other Tomcats, name-wise.
>> Example :
>> a request with URI "http://myhost/tomcat7/webapp1" should be forwarded 
>> to webapp1 on Tomcat7, whith a request URI of "/webapp1" (and not 
>> "/tomcat7/webapp1").
>> For this, you set up a front-end proxy Apache httpd, which should forward the 
>> requests to individual Tomcats in function of the URI prefix, and strip this 
>> prefix while doing so.
>> Preferably, you would like to do the proxying via mod_jk.
>> That is a problem, because the standard proxying instructions of mod_jk (JkMount

>> e.g.), do not provide a syntax for forwarding URI's, and modifying these 
>> URIs at the same time.
>> That is why Mark originally oriented you to mod_proxy and mod_proxy_ajp, which 
>> can do that, for example as :
>> ProxyPass /tomcat7 ajp://tomcat7-host:8017
>> ProxyPass /tomcat6 ajp://tomcat6-host:8016
>> ProxyPass /tomcat5 ajp://tomcat7-host:8015
>> (and have each Tomcat listen on the apropriate port with its AJP Connector)
>> Using the above, a request with URI "http://myhost/tomcat7/webapp1" 
>> will be forwarded to the tomcat7 server with a URI of "/webapp1", 
>> while a request with URI "http://myhost/tomcat5/webapp1" will be 
>> forwarded to the tomcat5 server with a URI (also) of "/webapp1".
>> As far as I understand, this is what you want to achieve (although it is not via

>> mod_jk, but via mod_proxy_ajp instead).
>> Mark however pointed out the drawbacks of modifying the URI : when one of these 
>> applications generates a self-referencing URI, it will not by default re-insert 
>> the stripped host prefix.  For example, if application "/webapp1" on 
>> tomcat7 creates a page with a link to itself like 
>> href="/webapp1/something", it will not magically know to make this 
>> into href="/tomcat7/webapp1/something".  And when this link is clicked 
>> in the browser, it will generate a request to 
>> "http://myhost/webapp1/something", and the above Proxy instructions in 
>> the front-end won't know what to do with it and will ignore it.
>> And the same happens with redirects etc..
>> You can overcome this, but it is likely in the end to create more hassle than 
>> you really want.
>> On the other hand, if you do /not/ modify the URI while proxying the call, then 
>> you end up with a much less easy configuration on the side of the Tomcats, as 
>> you have seen before.
>> So maybe let's look at another kind of solution, involving DNS and 
>> VirtualHosts.
>> Would a solution whereby you access the different Tomcats as follows be 
>> acceptable ?
>> - is forwarded to tomcat7's 
>> webapp1
>> - is forwarded to tomcat6's 
>> webapp1
>> - is forwarded to tomcat5's 
>> webapp1
>> If yes, then do as outlined below.
>> For a start, I suppose that you want to have an Apache httpd front-end, and that

>> the Apache httpd and all tomcats, all run on the same physical host.
>> Step 1 :
>> Suppose that the front-end Apache httpd host is currently known via DNS as 
>> "".
>> Define 3 additional DNS aliases for it :
>> -
>> -
>> -
>> Step 2 :
>> define 3 new VirtualHost's in the Apache httpd front-end, one each with
>> - ServerName
>> - ServerName
>> - ServerName
>> (I assume that you know how to do that)
>> Step 3 :
>> In each of these VirtualHost configurations, add the following lines :
>> - in the "" host, add
>>    ProxyPass / ajp://
>>    ProxyPassReverse / ajp://
>> (and similarly for the other VirtualHost's)
>> Step 4 :
>> make each of your Tomcats listen on the corresponding AJP port :
>> - tomcat7 listens on port 8017
>> - tomcat6 listens on port 8016
>> - tomcat5 listens on port 8015
>> (in their respective AJP Connector)
>> The advantage of this is that you are no longer modifying the request URI's, 
>> with all the complications that this brings.
>> All you are doing is modifying the hostname:port part, and that only requires a 
>> ProxyPassReverse directive in the httpd front-end, to rewrite possible redirect 
>> headers generated by the Tomcats.
>> Also this way, self-referencing URIs generated by the Tomcats will also work, 
>> without applications modifications.
>> Cookies may still require help, check the http config help for that.
> Andre,
> Your suggestion is how I set up multiple Tomcats (CATALINA_HOME / CATALINA_BASE) and
virtual hosts within those Tomcats. I map each of the Tomcat virtual hosts to separate named
virtual hosts on Apache HTTPD.
> I use mod_jk, and each virtual host gets its own file. That way
I can add and delete Tomcat applications on the fly for each Apache HTTPD virtual host that's
mapped to the appropriate Tomcat virtual host.
> Each Apache HTTPD named virtual host forwarded to a single Tomcat uses the same mod_jk
<Connector> (although I could add multiple connectors in server.xml).

Yes, there are a number of variations to the scheme, depending on whether httpd and the 
various Tomcats are or not running inside the same host, or whether you want to have 
several virtual hosts in Tomcat.  In this case though, it seemed that the original 
question mentioned different /versions/ of Tomcat, which you cannot really do with virtual

hosts or with several instances of Tomcat running from the same CATALINA_HOME.
If each Tomcat runs on a separate physical host (or if you have a host with several IP 
addresses, you can have them all using the same AJP port.

> Each Tomcat virtual host mapped to an Apache HTTPD named virtual host gets its own manager
application. The access is controlled in part by directives in an Apache HTTPD <Location>
block. I suppose I could add another Realm for each Tomcat virtual host to control that host's
manager application as well.
> I've tested this set up with simple applications and it seems to work fine. I only have
two real issues. One, I don't know any way to combine dynamic Apache HTTPD virtual hosts with
mod_jk and JkMount directives. Two, jk-status and jk-manager refer to all mod_jk connections
on a particular Apache HTTPD server.
> Neither of these are show-stoppers.
> My question in all of this is about cookies. I gather what you're saying is that if a
person accesses the following:
> http://some-host/app (receives cookie)
> Then that cookie could be used in accessing
> http://other-host/app (uses cookie)

The issue about the cookies is that each Tomcat will issue its cookies with its own 
hostname (whatever /it/ thinks that is), and unless you do something, that's how they will

be sent to the browser.  You may have to tell the proxying httpd that it also needs to 
rewrite this hostname in the cookies returned by Tomcat, to be the name of the 
corresponding httpd VirtualHost.  Otherwise the browser may not re-send the cookie when it

You should not have that issue when, in Tomcat, you use the same hostname as the 
corresponding httpd VirtualHost; but you may have it in other cases.
I may be getting myself a bit confused here, but I think that this could happen.
Anyway, there is the ProxyPassReverseCookieDomain to fix this.

> if named virtual hosts are used for some-host and other-host (mapping them to the same
IP address and port).
> Is this correct?
> If so, I need to investigate how to manage this with Apache HTTPD. I suppose it's also
very unlikely (but possible) to get matching session ids from independent Tomcats running
in this environment?
> If you have any pointers to the Apache HTTPD documentation concerning this, I would appreciate
it (I know, off-topic).

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