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From Mark Bramer <>
Subject Tomcat clustering for simplified config
Date Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:36:57 GMT
Hi list,

I just signed up to the list - please forgive any newb mistakes but hopefully I'm following
the right format, style and content.

I currently work in a production environment with eight app servers, all running the same
version of Tomcat (currently 7.0.62).  Four servers support version 1 of our app, the other
four servers support version 2.  Within each group of four, two serve completely open content
via 80, the other two support queries of sensitive data via 443.  Servers are named with a
number system where all odd-named servers are for the secure content, all evens are open.

So here's the setup in a hopefully clearer portrayal:

App Version 1:
Server 01: secure queries via 443
Server 02: open content via 80
Server 03: secure queries via 443
Server 04: open content via 80

App Version 2:
Server 05: secure queries via 443
Server 06: open content via 80
Server 07: secure queries via 443
Server 08: open content via 80

Each pair of even and odd named servers are *conceptually* linked, but physically stand on
their own.  All http traffic and https traffic for each version is directed to a particular
server by a load balancer.  No Apache Web Server is in the mix and we would like to keep it
that way for simplicity.  Load-wise, our eight Tomcats are not taxed.

I'm responsible for upkeep of these servers, which requires regular version upgrades and configuration
changes when any vulnerability is found by regular, periodic Nessus scans (
 Sometimes the changes are related to ciphers, sometimes other things, but I'd say 90% of
the time, I just need to upgrade to a newer version.

So no big deal conceptually, I fully admit, but doing this across eight servers is TEDIOUS.
 And more importantly, it's a ripe opportunity for introducing user error.  On three occasions
I have brought our production systems by stupid mistakes in server.xml or other config files,
or most recently, accidentally copying the wrong ROOT from a version 2 (05) box into the version
one boxes (01 and 03). I got things up and running fine with no serious consequences but this
being the third time, I thought "there has to be a better way" right after I talked myself
off the "you're a complete idiot" ledge.  

I'm starting to research Tomcat clustering but everything I see just talks about load balancing
and failover.  **What about ease of configuration??** I'd like to be able to set up Tomcat
<something> (clusters?) to help automate what I've described above to make it less tedious
and reduce the chances of making stupid mistakes when I'm on the 6th, 7th, 8th server.  I'm
not sure if Tomcat clustering is what I need, or if I should look at something else.

Can you nice folks help direct me to where I should look for starters?  Will Tomcat clustering
get me what I want?  or something else, like Zookeeper?

Mark Bramer

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