To deploy an ICAT you need:

  1. a suitable container to support EJBs,
  2. databases on a system supported by eclipselink,
  3. to configure glassfish,
  4. to install and configure suitable authentication plugins,
  5. to install a copy of and in the correct place,
  6. to deploy the .ear file,
  7. and see if it works.

If you already have ICAT 4.2.0 deployed then skip on to installing the .ear file .

EJB Container

In principle you can use any EJB container. Testing has been performed with glassfish 3.1.2 and these notes refer to that version.

You must already have a Java SE installed (i.e. the command "java" is known), then you can get Java EE 6 SDK Update 4 with JDK 6 Update 31 or later from and execute the script.

Request custom installation, install and configure, and enter proxy details if necessary on your site. Request a server domain, set the domain name and set the admin password. For a secure deployment of glassfish you should obtain a trusted certificate rather than using the self-signed one in the distribution.


The database schema is almost identical to that used for ICAT 4.1 (the only difference is that some text columns are wider) and is identical to that used for ICAT 4.2.0. So if you already have a 4.1 or 4.2 database installed there is no need to start with an empty schema, and you can skip this section.

The database system must be supported by eclipselink. This includes most database systems you are likely to want as explained at the eclipselink web site. It has been tested with: MySQL, Oracle and Derby. You will need an empty schema/database with permissions for data definition operations such as "CREATE TABLE ..." You must place a copy of the "JDBC Connector" for your database in the lib directory below the domain where you will install icat. You should get the connector from the database supplier. In the case of Oracle this is ojdbc14.jar or ojdbc16.jar and for MySQL it is something like mysql-connector-java*.jar. MySQL must be installed with InnoDB support. Eclipselink, which is used by ICAT, will ensure that MySQL tables make use of the InnoDB engine. In the case of Derby the connector comes pre-installed with Glassfish however we do not expect Derby to be used for production work.

Preparing glassfish.props

Obtain and unzip it. You must first edit glassfish.props to match your system.

is the name of the jdbc driver and must match the jar file for your database that you stored in the previous step.
identifies the icat database and how to connect to it.
is the top level of the glassfish installation. It must contain "glassfish/domains", and will be referred to here as GLASSFISH_HOME as if an environment variable had been set.
is the administration port of the chosen glassfish domain which is typically 4848.

For a local oracle-xe installation the following values of driver, icatProperties should be good except for the user and password values:


Note the "'" which is needed because the url contains colons which also separate individual properties.

For MySQL:


Using glassfish.props to configure Glassfish

Having prepared the glassfish.props file you should run the command: asadmin login to login as admin. This will prompt you for your glassfish admin password to avoid being prompted for it later. If you do not do this the next step will fail. You will find the asadmin executable in the bin directory below the directory you have identified in glassfish.props as "glassfish" - i.e. $GLASSFISH_HOME/bin/asadmin. There is no logout command but you can delete ~/.asadminpass if you wish once you have run the script successfully. Now check that your domain is running with asadmin list-domains and try running . It expects to find glassfish.props in the current directory. Amongst other things the script will try to "ping" the database. If you have problems, modify the glassfish.props, run and then again.

Install and configure authentication plugins

You should obtain appropriate authentication plugins - such as authn_db or authn_ldap or you may wish to build your own following the instructions for Authentication plugins . Each plugin has its own configuration mechanism. Make sure that all plugins are listed in the file which is described in the next section. If you install or modify a plugin after the icat ear file then you will need to reload the icat application. and

In the unpacked file you will find two properties files which should both be copied to the config directory for your chosen glassfish domain. You will find your domain directory at $GLASSFISH_HOME/glassfish/domains. The file should not need modification initially. It will result in an icat.log file being written to the logs directory below your domain. The file will probably need changing:

Defines the lifetime of an ICAT sessionid. You should avoid making it have a long duration as this increases the risk if it is intercepted, lost or stolen.
Is a space separated list of user identifiers having full access to the authorization tables: Rule, Group, User and UserGroup. The format of the user identifier is determined by the chosen authentication plugin. The authn_db and authn_ldap plugins may be configured to either return the simple user name or to prepend it with a name identifying the mechanism. For example if there is a an entry "root" in the database then if the authn_db authenticator is configured without a mechanism then the user name to consider will be just "root", however if it has been configured with a mechanism of "db" then the string "db/root" must be specified.
is a space separated set of mnemonics for user to select the plugin in the login call. This must not reference plugins which are not installed as plugins are checked when ICAT performs its initialisation; if plugins are missing ICAT will not start.
is the jndi name to locate the plugin. When you installed the plugin a message would have appeared in the server.log stating the JNDI names. For example for authn_db you would expect to see java:global/authn_db.ear-1.0.0/authn_db.ejb-1.0.0/DB_Authenticator. There must be one such entry for each plugin.

The file is re-read periodically so there is no need to restart ICAT if you want to change the logging levels. If you enable some logging, you will then need to explicitly disable it when you longer wish to receive that information, rather than just removing the request. This is because the system is not re-initialised each time the file is read.

Installing the .ear file

If you already have an icat installed then you should first remove it with asadmin --port 4848 undeploy <ear> where the value of "ear" can be found by: asadmin --port 4848 list-applications Obtain icat.ear-4.2.1.ear and install it with the command: asadmin --port 4848 deploy icat.ear-4.2.1.ear . If you have only one domain you may not need to specify the port and if the admin port is not 4848 then specify the correct value.

As the file is deployed the database is created. If you already have an ICAT 4.1 or 4.2.0 database you may get some messages as it tries to create tables that already exist.

Check that ICAT works

There is one more file in the unpacked file: . This is a python script which requires that the suds client is available. On CENTOS this is packaged as a python-suds RPM. This connects as one of the root users you defined as 'rootUserNames' in the file. Invoke the script with three fixed parameters: the hostname and port on which the service is deployed securely (something like, the mnemonic for the chosen authentication plugin followed by the credentials for one of the root user names supported by that plugin. These credentials should be passed in as pairs of parameters with key followed by value. For example, assuming that your working directory is in the PATH: 8181 db username root password secret

It should report:

Login, search, create, delete and logout operations were all successful.

This script can be run at any time as it is almost harmless - it simply creates a "Group" with an unlikely name and removes it again.

In case of problems, first erase the directory /tmp/suds and try the again. If it still fails, look at the log files: server.log and icat.log which can both be found in the logs directory below your domain. Look also at the relevant authenticator log.