Deploying Java EE Apps on Azure (Part 1)

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Deploying Java EE Apps on Azure (Part 1)

Learn more about deploying Java EE apps on Azure.

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Learn more about deploying Java EE apps on Azure.

There is a multitude of options for cloud-based application development ranging from traditional IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and CaaS (Containers-as-a-Service) all the way to Kubernetes and serverless. Think of it as a spectrum rather than a "one-size-fits-all" model, with each option having owned its pros and cons. Ultimately, every scenario is unique and the final choice is driven by requirements — but its always good to know that you have "choices" at your disposal!

You may also like: Java in Azure Functions

This is the first of a series of blogs that will walk you through one of the options of running Java EE applications on Azure. We will follow the most basic approach of deploying our Java EE app to an application server which is set up in a Virtual Machine on Microsoft Azure along with the Azure Database for PostgreSQL service as the backend database. In essence, this is the combination of IaaS (Azure VM) along with a PaaS (managed PostgreSQL on Azure).

Other options such as containers and Kubernetes will be covered in upcoming posts.

The example used in this blog post is a simple three-tier application that uses Java EE 8 specifications such as JAX-RS, EJB, CDI, JPA, JSF, and Bean Validation. We will use the Payara Server to deploy the application and use PostgreSQL as the relational database.

During the course of the tutorial, we will cover:

  • Postgres and Virtual Machine setup on Azure
  • Setup Payara server on the Virtual Machine
  • Configure and install the Java EE application
  • Explore its functionality

Except for minor changes, the application used in this tutorial has been adapted from this project by Reza Rahman


You will need a Microsoft Azure account and the Azure CLI to work through the tutorial.

If you don't have a Microsoft Azure account, go ahead and sign up for a free one!. The Azure CLI is a cross-platform command-line experience for managing Azure resources —please install it using these instructions.

First Things First...

Set your Azure Subscription ID using the Azure CLI, which will be used for this tutorial.

To set your Azure subscription ID:

export AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID=[to be filled]
az account set --subscription $AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID

Create a resource group that will contain all the services (resources) thatyou will create as a part of this tutorial. A resource group is like a logical container that holds related resources for an Azure solution. The resource group includes those resources that you want to manage as a group.

To create a resource group:

export AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP_NAME=[to be filled]
export AZURE_LOCATION=[to be filled]
az group create --name $AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP_NAME --location $AZURE_LOCATION

Install Postgres on Azure

Azure Database for PostgreSQL is a relational database service based on the open-source Postgres database engine. It's a fully managed database-as-a-service offering, which is available in two deployment options, as a single server, and as a Hyperscale (Citus) cluster

We will be using the single server option for the purposes of this tutorial.

We will use the az postgres server create command to create a Postgres server instance on Azure. First, set up some of the server properties such as the name, admin user, etc.

export AZURE_POSTGRES_SERVER_NAME=[to be filled]
export AZURE_POSTGRES_ADMIN_USER=[to be filled]
export SKU=B_Gen5_1
export STORAGE=5120

And, then invoke the command to initiate the database instance creation:

    az postgres server create --resource-group $AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP_NAME --name $AZURE_POSTGRES_SERVER_NAME  --location $AZURE_LOCATION --admin-user $AZURE_POSTGRES_ADMIN_USER --admin-password $AZURE_POSTGRES_ADMIN_PASSWORD --storage-size $STORAGE --sku-name $SKU

The provisioning process will take a few minutes.

To check the details of the Postgres database instance you just provisioned, invoke az postgres server show command:

    az postgres server show --resource-group $AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP_NAME --name $AZURE_POSTGRES_SERVER_NAME

You should get a JSON response. Please note down the value for the fullyQualifiedDomainName attribute as you will be using this to connect to the Postgres instance later.

It should be of the format: [AZURE_POSTGRES_DB_NAME].postgres.database.azure.com

Install Virtual Machine on Azure

We will use a Virtual Machine on Azure to host the Payara JavaEE application server

To be specific, this will be a Ubuntu based Linux VM.

Let's start by setting up the required information for the VM

    export AZURE_VM_NAME=[to be filled]
    export AZURE_VM_USER=[to be filled]
    export AZURE_VM_PASSWORD=[to be filled]
    export VM_IMAGE=UbuntuLTS

We will use the az vm create command to create the VM instance:

    az vm create --resource-group $AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP_NAME --name $AZURE_VM_NAME --image $VM_IMAGE --admin-username $AZURE_VM_USER --admin-password $AZURE_VM_PASSWORD

The VM provisioning will take a few minutes.

You need to get the public IP address of the VM. Do so using the az vm list-ip-addresses command

 az vm list-ip-addresses --resource-group $AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP_NAME --name $AZURE_VM_NAME

You will see a JSON response — take a look at the publicIpAddresses section and note down the value of ipAddress property. Configure it as an environment variable as you will be using it in the subsequent steps

    export VM_IP=[to be filled]

Allow VM to access the Postgres database

The Postgres database is not accessible by default. Use the az postgres server firewall-rule create command to create a firewall rule to explicitly allow the VM to access the Postgres instance. This will allow the JavaEE application deployed inside the VM to communicate with Postgres.

    export FIREWALL_RULE_NAME=AllowJavaEECafeAppOnVM

    az postgres server firewall-rule create --resource-group $AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP_NAME --server $AZURE_POSTGRES_SERVER_NAME --name $FIREWALL_RULE_NAME --start-ip-address $VM_IP --end-ip-address $VM_IP

Install Payara Server on the Virtual Machine

Payara Server is an open-source application server derived from GlassFish that supports reliable and secure deployments of Java EE (Jakarta EE) and MicroProfile applications in any environment: on-premise, in the cloud or hybrid. Check out the project on GitHub or dive into its documentation to learn more!

SSH into the Linux VM you just provisioned using the username you specified along with the VM IP:


Enter the password once prompted. Once you're logged into the Virtual Machine, proceed with the next steps.

Install Required Toolset

Before installing the Payara server, we need to set up a few things such as JDK, etc.

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt install openjdk-8-jdk
    sudo apt install maven

Setup Payara Server

We are using Payara server version 5.193.1 which is the latest at the time of writing this tutorial. The setup simply involves downloading and extracting the server zip file.

    export PAYARA_VERSION=5.193.1

    wget https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/payara.fish/Payara+Downloads/$PAYARA_VERSION/payara-$PAYARA_VERSION.zip
    sudo apt install unzip
    unzip payara-$PAYARA_VERSION.zip

To confirm, run ls ~/payara5/.

Start the server using asadmin:

    ~/payara5/bin/asadmin start-domain

It will take a few moments for the server to boot up. You should see the following logs:

 Waiting for domain1 to start ..................
    Successfully started the domain : domain1
    domain  Location: /home/abhishgu/payara5/glassfish/domains/domain1
    Log File: /home/abhishgu/payara5/glassfish/domains/domain1/logs/server.log
    Admin Port: 4848
    Command start-domain executed successfully.

Set Up and Deploy the Application

Now that we have the VM as well as Payara server up and running, we can now deploy our application! Clone the git repository

    git clone https://github.com/abhirockzz/javaee-on-azure-iaas
    export APP_FOLDER_NAME=javaee-on-azure-iaas

The web.xml file (under javaee-on-azure-iaas/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF) needs to be updated with the JDBC URL for the Postgres database on Azure.

This is present in the <url> attribute of the <data-source section and it's format is as follows:


Here is the list of placeholders which form a part of the JDBC URL:

  • POSTGRES_FQDN with the value of fullyQualifiedDomainName for Postgres instance
  • AZURE_POSTGRES_ADMIN_USER with the admin user name used to provision PG
  • AZURE_POSTGRES_SERVER_NAME with server name used to provision PG
  • AZURE_POSTGRES_ADMIN_PASSWORD with admin password used to provision PG

Set the required values:

    export POSTGRES_FQDN=[to be filled]
    export AZURE_POSTGRES_ADMIN_USER=[to be filled]
    export AZURE_POSTGRES_SERVER_NAME=[to be filled]
    export AZURE_POSTGRES_ADMIN_PASSWORD=[to be filled]

Simply use these commands to replace:

    export FILE_NAME=javaee-on-azure-iaas/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/web.xml


Here is an example of what the <data-source> section will look like:


The application is now configured. Let's build it!

mvn clean install -f $APP_FOLDER_NAME/pom.xml

You should have the WAR file available. To confirm:

    ls -lrt $APP_FOLDER_NAME/target | grep javaee-cafe.war

As a final step in the application setup process, let's download the Java driver for Postgres and add it to Payara

We are using driver version 42.2.8

    export PG_DRIVER_JAR=postgresql-42.2.8.jar
    wget https://jdbc.postgresql.org/download/$PG_DRIVER_JAR

Add the JAR to Payara, simply invoke asadmin add-library:

    ~/payara5/glassfish/bin/asadmin add-library $PG_DRIVER_JAR

Finally, to deploy the WAR file, simply copy it to the domain autodeploy folder:

    cp $APP_FOLDER_NAME/target/javaee-cafe.war ~/payara5/glassfish/domains/domain1/autodeploy

The deployment will take some time. Meanwhile, you can track the logs using:

    tail -f ~/payara5/glassfish/domains/domain1/logs/server.log

You should see log messages indicating successful deployment of the javaee-cafe application

    [2019-11-18T13:34:21.317+0000] [Payara 5.193] [INFO] [NCLS-DEPLOYMENT-02035] [javax.enterprise.system.tools.deployment.autodeploy] [tid: _ThreadID=104 _ThreadName=payara-executor-service-scheduled-task] [timeMillis: 1574084061317] [levelValue: 800] [[
    [AutoDeploy] Successfully autodeployed : /home/abhishgu/payara5/glassfish/domains/domain1/autodeploy/javaee-cafe.war.]]

Explore the Application

It's time to test drive our Java EE app! To start off, we can access the application using a web browser. But, just like the Postgres instance, the Virtual Machine, which hosts the Payara server along with the application, is also protected by default, i.e. you cannot access it from the public Internet.

We need to create a firewall rule using the az vm open-port to access it from our local machine. We just need to expose port 8080 since that's the default HTTP port which Payara server uses.

    az vm open-port --port 8080 --resource-group $AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP_NAME --name $AZURE_VM_NAME

Access the JSF Front-End

Use your browser to access http://[ENTER_VM_IP]:8080/javaee-cafe. You can use the UI to create, delete, and see coffees.

Image title

Use the REST API

The application also exposes a REST API for creating, deleting, and listing coffees:

    export VM_IP=[to be filled]

Create coffees:

    curl -X POST $VM_IP:8080/javaee-cafe/rest/coffees -d '{"name":"cappuccino","price":"10"}' -H "Content-Type: application/json"
    curl -X POST $VM_IP:8080/javaee-cafe/rest/coffees -d '{"name":"caffe-latte","price":"15"}' -H "Content-Type: application/json"

Get all coffees:

    curl -H "Accept: application/json" $VM_IP:8080/javaee-cafe/rest/coffees

You should see a JSON response listing both the coffee options you just added.

Get a coffee by ID:

    curl -H "Accept: application/json" $VM_IP:8080/javaee-cafe/rest/coffees/1

Delete a coffee by ID:

    curl -X DELETE $VM_IP:8080/javaee-cafe/rest/coffees/1
    curl -H "Accept: application/json" $VM_IP:8080/javaee-cafe/rest/coffees

Notice that cappuccino is now deleted:

Clean up Resources

Once you are done exploring the application, you can delete the resources. Since we used a resource group, it's easy executing a single command.

Please be aware that this will delete all the resources in the group which includes the ones you created as part of the tutorial (VM, Postgres, etc.) as well as any other service instances you might have if you used an already existing resource group

    az group delete --name $AZURE_RESOURCE_GROUP_NAME


You learned how to deploy a standard Java EE application to Azure using an app server deployed to a Virtual Machine along with a managed database offering for long term persistence.

As mentioned earlier, each option comes with its own pros and cons. In this case, you have complete control over your application, its deployment infrastructure, the way you scale it, etc. On the other hand, remember that managing the infrastructure, sizing it for your application, securing it, etc. are a set of responsibilities that you have to take on along with delivering core business logic as a part of the app functionality.

The next part will dive into how to use a Docker container platform to deploy your Java EE applications. Stay tuned!

Further Reading

Java in Azure Functions

Azure for Java Developers

azure, deployment, java, javaee, microsoft, postgre, tutorial

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