ACS and APS Deployment with Docker Compose

12th April 2020

Hi Alfrescans.

It is time again to report about an exciting Alfresco partner project from me. For a customer here in Germany I am developing a POC which should use ACS 6.2 and APS 1.10. After a bit of persuasion, I was able to convince those involved to use Docker for ACS 6.2. My plan was to create a Docker Compose Deployment which included ACS, APS and openLDAP as an identity provider. The complete deployment can be viewed in GitHub. One thing should be mentioned in advance. Alfresco officially recommends to use Kubernetes for such deployments, but the cloud is a taboo topic for my customers so far. I am also excited to see how far I will get with Docker Compose for such a deployment.

Docker Compose Setup

To start, I will describe in more detail the technologies used in my deployment. As indicated at the beginning, ACS 6.2 should be installed. The most recently released version is 6.2.0.3. So that has to be reflected in the alfresco Dockerfile at /alfresco/Dockerfile. Share remains on version 6.2.0 since no newer version has been released. ACS is to be connected with an openLDAP DB for user provisioning. Fortunately, there are already great images for creating and managing an openLDAP DB. For the visual administration of the openLDAP DB I use phpldapadmin.

APS 1.10 should be used to model the workflows. The fact that Alfresco no longer offers Docker Compose Reference Deployments for APS 1.10 is somewhat unfortunate. I guess that is because of the Kubernetes deployments and that there is a stronger focus on those. Fortunately, there are still a few old Docker Compose templates and with a few modifications they work too!

Since it is very memory intensive to run ACS and APS at the same time, I decided to split the complex deployment into three separable deployments. So I can continue to work efficiently on my 16 GB memory laptop. The division is done using Docker Compose files. The first is the ACS deployment, followed by the second with the APS deployment. Finally, there is ACS and APS deployment. I think that's a brilliant idea because if I just want to work on ACS or APS alone, I don't have to start up the entire stack. In addition, I am considering deploying the third deployment ACS and APS in EC2 using a good looking DevOps pipeline.

Prerequisites

It is clear that you need Docker. If you are working on a Windows or Mac, I recommend the Docker Desktop. After the installation please remember to make more memory available to the Docker environment as the default 2 GB are far too little to get ACS up and running. At least 12 GB would is recommended!

The ACS Docker Compose File also uses private images hosted by Alfresco in quay.io. For these, it would be important to request access data from Alfresco Support. If you have this, just run the following command and enter the credentials:

docker login quay.io

More or less optional but my example in the GitHub repository uses Node's NPM for a CLI script tool to wait until Alfresco has finished booting. So it's best to install the node and NPM as well.

Git Prepare

Of course, a git repo has to be created first. I called mine alf-acs-aps. As in my last Alfresco Docker Project I recommend using the Docker Alfresco Installer to prepare the empty Git repository. I describe exactly how the Docker Alfresco Installer can be used here. When installing, make sure that LDAP and an SMTP server are also selected. If you are not using my GithUb Repo, you should now integrate the APS 1.10 services into the Docker Compose Deployment. I recommend that you split the deployment into three parts. All three are explained in the next sections.

ACS Deployment

First a docker-compose-base.yml file is created which contains all the services required for all three deployments. In my case this is an openLDAP and postgres database. As well as a mail server. Then the ACS Docker Compose File is created. The entire deployment can now be started as:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-base.yml -f docker-compose-ACS.yml up -d --build

and so stop:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-base.yml -f docker-compose-ACS.yml stop

If a complete ACS restart with empty databases and other storage is desired, simply execute these commands:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-base.yml -f docker-compose-ACS.yml down
rm -rf data
rm -rf logs

APS Deployment

The APS deployment is started as:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-base.yml -f docker-compose-APS.yml up -d --build

and it is stopped like this:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-base.yml -f docker-compose-APS.yml stop

To erase just do the following:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-base.yml -f docker-compose-APS.yml down
rm -rf data
rm -rf logs

ACS and APS Deployment

Warning a warning in advance! This deployment is very memory intensive. Your laptop or PC should have at least 16Gb. Alternatively, I plan to deploy this variant in the cloud on EC2.

And this is how all services are started:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-base.yml -f docker-compose-ACS.yml -f docker-compose-APS.yml -f docker-compose-Proxy.yml up -d --build

and so stopped

docker-compose -f docker-compose-base.yml -f docker-compose-ACS.yml -f docker-compose-APS.yml -f docker-compose-Proxy.yml stop

And just type to tear it down:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-base.yml -f docker-compose-ACS.yml -f docker-compose-APS.yml -f docker-compose-Proxy.yml down
rm -rf data
rm -rf logs

Outlook

As indicated, I would like to bring the third deployment ACS and APS to AWS EC2. Preferably even in a nice DevOps pipeline, i.e. commit after master triggered and deploy to EC2, where automated tests are then carried out, such as whether ACS and APS have successfully booted.

SSO (Single Sign On) allows you to only have to register once for Alfresco products. That means if I log in to Share for example and then open Alfresco Digital Workspace or the Ativiti app, I don't have to log in again. To do this, AIMS (Alfresco Identify Manager Service) would have to be configured with ACS and, in addition, the SAML amp.

Summary

You don't always have to shoot with the Kubernetes shotgun when it comes to container orchestration. Docker Compose can also be used to orchestrate containers in a simplified manner. There is even the option of dividing complex deployments like that into smaller pieces. This not only saves memory footprint, but is also excellent for fast iterations during development. So feel free to try it out yourself and deploy ACS and APS using Docker Compose. If there are any questions, just write to me.

Kudos

To Thijs from the amazing Alfrescan Discord Channel for suggesting this kind of Docker Compose deployment split.

To the wonderful readers of this article I'm saying that feedback of any kind is welcome. In the future I will try to include a discussion and comment feature here. In the meantime, please feel free to send me feedback via my social media accounts such as Twitter or FaceBook. Thank you very much :).

I love to work on Content Management Open Source projects. A lot from my stuff you can already use on www.github.com/mmuller88 . If you like my work there and my blog posts, please consider supporting me on Patreon:

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