Thursday, November 6, 2014

Apache Syncope 1.2 tutorial - part I

Apache Syncope is a powerful and flexible open source tool to manage and orchestrate user identities for the enterprise. Last year, I wrote a series of four tutorials on Apache Syncope. The first covered how to create an Apache Syncope project, how to set up a MySQL database for internal storage, and how to deploy Apache Syncope to Apache Tomcat. The second covered how to import user identities and attributes from a database (Apache Derby) into Syncope. The third covered how to import users and roles from an LDAP backend (Apache DS) into Syncope. Finally, the fourth tutorial covered the REST API of Apache Syncope, as well as a set of Apache CXF-based testcases to demonstrate how to use the REST API of Apache Syncope for authentication and authorization.

This will be the first post in a new set of tutorials for Apache Syncope, with a focus on updating the previous set of tutorials (based on Syncope 1.1) with some updated features and new functionality that is available in the recently released 1.2.0 release. In this post we will cover how to use the new UI installer for creating a Apache Syncope project and deploying it to a container. This tutorial can be viewed as a more user-friendly alternative to the first tutorial of the previous series. Please also see the Syncope documentation on using the installer.

1) Set up a database for Internal Storage

The first step in setting up a standalone deployment of Apache Syncope is to decide what database to use for Internal Storage. Apache Syncope persists internal storage to a database via Apache OpenJPA. In this article we will set up MySQL, but see here for more information on using PostgreSQL, Oracle, etc. Install MySQL in $SQL_HOME and create a new user for Apache Syncope. We will create a new user "syncope_user" with password "syncope_pass". Start MySQL and create a new Syncope database:

  • Start: sudo $SQL_HOME/bin/mysqld_safe --user=mysql
  • Log on: $SQL_HOME/bin/mysql -u syncope_user -p
  • Create a Syncope database: create database syncope; 

2) Set up a container to host Apache Syncope

The next step is to figure out in what container to deploy Syncope to. In this demo we will use Apache Tomcat, but see here for more information about installing Syncope in other containers. Install Apache Tomcat to $CATALINA_HOME. Now we will add a datasource for internal storage in Tomcat's 'conf/context.xml'. When Syncope does not find a datasource called 'jdbc/syncopeDataSource', it will connect to internal storage by instantiating a new connection per request, which carries a performance penalty. Add the following to 'conf/context.xml':

<Resource name="jdbc/syncopeDataSource" auth="Container"
    testWhileIdle="true" testOnBorrow="true" testOnReturn="true"
    validationQuery="SELECT 1" validationInterval="30000"
    maxActive="50" minIdle="2" maxWait="10000" initialSize="2"
    removeAbandonedTimeout="20000" removeAbandoned="true"
    logAbandoned="true" suspectTimeout="20000"
    timeBetweenEvictionRunsMillis="5000" minEvictableIdleTimeMillis="5000"
    username="syncope_user" password="syncope_pass"

Uncomment the "<Manager pathname="" />" configuration in context.xml as well. The next step is to enable a way to deploy applications to Tomcat using the Manager app. Edit 'conf/tomcat-users.xml' and add the following:

<role rolename="manager-script"/>
<user username="manager" password="s3cret" roles="manager-script"/>

Next, download the JDBC driver jar for MySQL and put it in Tomcat's 'lib' directory. As we will be configuring a connector for a Derby resource in a future tutorial, also download the JDBC driver jar for Apache Derby and put it in Tomcat's 'lib' directory as well.

3) Run the Installer

Download and run the installer via 'java -jar syncope-installer-1.2.0-uber.jar'. You need to enter some straightforward values such as the installation path of the project, the Apache Maven home directory, the groupId/artifactId of the project, the directories where logs/bundles/configuration are stored.

Next, select "MySQL" as the database technology from the list, and give "syncope_user" and "syncope_pass" as the username + password, or whatever you have configured earlier when setting up MySQL. Select "Tomcat" as the application server (make sure the 'syncopeDataSource' is checked), and enter values for the address, port, manager username and password:

The installer will then create a Apache Syncope project + deploy it to Tomcat:

When the installer has finished, startup a browser and go to "localhost:8080/syncope-console", logging in as "admin/password". You should see the following:

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