Part 2: Nevado JMS, Ehcache JMS WAN replication and AWS

This post is a followup to what is now part one, of my research into using Ehcache, JMS, Nevado, AWS, SNS and SQS to permit cache events to be replicated across different data-centers.


In my first post I was able to successfully get Ehcache’s JMS Replication to function using Nevado JMS as the provider after patching the serialization issues, however as noted in that article, the idea of sending the actual cached data when any put/update occurred in Ehcache on any given node sounded like it might get out of hand. Given that I started looking at writing my own prototype of something lighter weight but eventually came to the realization that the existing Ehcache JMS replication framework could be customized/extended to permit the modifications that were needed.

Out of this came the ehcache-jms-wan-replicator project on GitHub. There is a diagram below showing the concept in general however I suggest you read the on Github instead because as this research evolves I’ll be updating that project. So far it seems to work pretty well and is plays fine running side-by-side with any existing Ehcache (RMI/JGroups) replication you already have configured. Hopefully this will give others some ideas or be useful to someone else as well.

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Ehcache replicated caching with JMS, AWS, SQS, SNS & Nevado

Read part 2 of this research here

Recently I’ve been researching ways to GSLB a very large app that relies on Ehcache for numerous things internally such as; cached page output, cached lists etc etc. Anyone who has experience getting large scale applications to function active-N in a GSLB’d setup knows the challenges such topologies present. The typical challenge you will face is how to bridge events that occur in locally (dc) clustered applications, for example in: DC-A (data center), with another logical instance footprint of the same application living in DC-B. This extends all the way from the from the data-source, all the way up the stack.

So for example, lets say user A is accessing the application and hitting instances of it residing in DC-A. This user updates some inventory data that is cached locally in the cluster in DC-A; subsequently this cached inventory also resides in the cluster running in DC-B (also being access by different users in some other region). When user A updates this inventory data, the local application instance, writes it to the data-source, and then does some sort of cache operation, such as a cache key remove, or put (replace). Forgetting the entirely separate issue of how the data-source write is itself is visible across both DC’s, point being is that the cache update in DC-A is visible only to participating instances in DC-A….. DC-B’s cache knows nothing of this; only its data-source is aware of this new information…. so we need a way to get DC-B aware this cache event. There are a few ways this can happen; for example we could just configure the caches to rely solely or LRU/TTL driven expiry, or actually respond to events in a near-real-time fashion.

Now before we go on I’ll state up-front that despite what I am about to describe would work (to an extent), ultimately I likely will NOT go with this setup due to the inefficiencies involved, particularly the amount of data being moved across WANs if you just use the Ehcache JMS replicated caching feature alone. (i.e. cached data is actually moved around, rather than just operation events with the JMS replicated Ehcache feature)

Continuing with that train of thought, after the latter caveat…. so one thing I started looking at was the Ehcache JMS Replicated Caching feature. Basically this feature boils down to permitting you to configure any cache to utilize JMS (Java message service) for publishing cache events. So when a PUT/REMOVE happens, Ehcache wires up a cache listener that responds and subsequently relays these events (including the cached data on puts) to a JMS topic. Then any other Ehcache node configured w/ this same setup can subscribe to those topics and receive those events. Couple this with a globally accessible messaging system, you now can have a backbone for distributing these events across multiple disparate data-centers…… but who in the hell wants to setup their own globally accessible, fault-tolerant messaging system implementation…. not me.

Enter AWS’s SNS (Simple Notification Service,  topics) & SQS (Simple queuing service) services. I decided I’d try to get Ehcache’s JMS Replicated Caching feature to utilize AWS as the JMS provider….. now enter Nevado JMS from the Skyscreamer Team. (github link). Nevado is a cool little JMS implementation that front’s SNS/SQS, and it works pretty good!

Note the code is at the end of this post ….. and yes the code is very basic and NOT production ready/tested; it was just for a prototype/research and is a bit hacked together. Also note this code is reliant upon this PATCH to Nevado, which is pending discussion/approval

  1. The first step was creating an Ehcache CacheManagerPeerProviderFactory (NevadoJMSCacheManagerPeerProviderFactory), which returns a JMSCacheManagerPeerProvider to Ehcache that is configured to use Nevado on the backend
  2. The NevadoJMSCacheManagerPeerProviderFactory boots a little spring context that sets up the NevadoTopic etc
  3. Created a little test program (below) EhcacheNevadoJMSTest. I just ran several instances of this concurrently w/ breakpoints to validate that events in one JVM/ehcache instance were indeed being broadcast over JMS -> AWS -> back to other Ehcache instances on other JVM instances.
  4. The first thing I noticed was that while the events were indeed being sent over JMS to AWS and received by other Ehcache peers, the actual cached data (Element) embedded within the JMSEventMessage were NOT being included, resulting in NullPointerException’s by the Ehcache peers who received the event.
  5. The latter was due to an Object serialization issue, and transient soft references as described in this Nevado Github issue #81
  6. Once I created a patch for Nevado to use the ObjectOutputStream things worked perfectly.


  • Again this code was for research/prototyping
  • The viability of having the actual cached element being moved around to AWS, across WANs and back to other data-centers is likely not too optimal. It would work, but under high-volume you could spend a lot of $$ and bandwidth.
  • SQS/SNS has message size limitations…. which if your cached data is beyond that would get truncated and lost effectively making the solution useless.
  • Ideally, all one really cares about is “what happened”, meaning Ehcache KEY-A was PUT or REMOVED etc. Then let the receiving DC decide what to do (i.e. remove the cached KEY locally and let next user driven request re-populated from the primary source, the real data-source). This results in much smaller message sizes. The latter is what I’m now looking at, using the Ehcache listener framework w/ some custom calls to SNS/SQS would suffice for this kind of implementation.




Github patch for Nevado @

NevadoJMSCacheManagerPeerProviderFactory, Ehcache uses this as its cacheManagerPeerProviderFactory

package com.bitsofinfo.ehcache.jms;

import java.util.Properties;

import javax.jms.ConnectionFactory;
import javax.jms.Queue;
import javax.jms.QueueConnection;
import javax.jms.Topic;
import javax.jms.TopicConnection;

import org.skyscreamer.nevado.jms.NevadoConnectionFactory;
import org.skyscreamer.nevado.jms.destination.NevadoQueue;
import org.skyscreamer.nevado.jms.destination.NevadoTopic;
import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContext;

import net.sf.ehcache.CacheManager;
import net.sf.ehcache.distribution.CacheManagerPeerProvider;
import net.sf.ehcache.distribution.CacheManagerPeerProviderFactory;
import net.sf.ehcache.distribution.jms.AcknowledgementMode;
import net.sf.ehcache.distribution.jms.JMSCacheManagerPeerProvider;

public class NevadoJMSCacheManagerPeerProviderFactory extends CacheManagerPeerProviderFactory {

    public CacheManagerPeerProvider createCachePeerProvider(CacheManager cacheManager, Properties props) {
        try {
            ApplicationContext context = new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext("/com/bitsofinfo/ehcache/jms/nevado.xml");
            NevadoConnectionFactory nevadoConnectionFactory = (NevadoConnectionFactory)context.getBean("connectionFactory");
            TopicConnection topicConnection = nevadoConnectionFactory.createTopicConnection();
            QueueConnection queueConnection = nevadoConnectionFactory.createQueueConnection();
            Topic nevadoTopic = (NevadoTopic)context.getBean("ehcacheJMSTopic");
            Queue nevadoQueue = (NevadoQueue)context.getBean("ehcacheJMSQueue");
            return new JMSCacheManagerPeerProvider(cacheManager,
        } catch(Exception e) {
            return null;




nevado.xml (NevadoJMSCacheManagerPeerProviderFactory boots this to init Nevado topic/queue @ AWS)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns=""
    <bean class="org.springframework.beans.factory.config.PropertyPlaceholderConfigurer">
      <property name="locations">
    <bean id="sqsConnectorFactory" class="org.skyscreamer.nevado.jms.connector.amazonaws.AmazonAwsSQSConnectorFactory" />
    <bean id="connectionFactory" class="org.skyscreamer.nevado.jms.NevadoConnectionFactory">
      <property name="sqsConnectorFactory" ref="sqsConnectorFactory" />
      <property name="awsAccessKey" value="${aws.accessKey}" />
      <property name="awsSecretKey" value="${aws.secretKey}" />
    <bean id="ehcacheJMSTopic" class="org.skyscreamer.nevado.jms.destination.NevadoTopic">
          <constructor-arg value="ehcacheJMSTopic" />
    <bean id="ehcacheJMSQueue" class="org.skyscreamer.nevado.jms.destination.NevadoQueue">
          <constructor-arg value="ehcacheJMSQueue" />






   <diskStore path="user.home/ehcacheJMS"/>

       propertySeparator="," />
     <cache name="testCache"


EhcacheNevadoJMSTest – little test harness program, run multiple instances of this w/ breakpoints to see ehcache utilize JMS(nevado/sns) to broadcast cache events

package com.bitsofinfo.ehcache.jms;

import net.sf.ehcache.Cache;
import net.sf.ehcache.CacheManager;
import net.sf.ehcache.Element;

import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContext;

public class EhcacheNevadoJMSTest {

    public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
        ApplicationContext context = new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext("/com/bitsofinfo/ehcache/jms/bootstrap.xml");
        CacheManager cacheManager = (CacheManager)context.getBean("cacheManager");
        Cache testCache =cacheManager.getCache("testCache");

        Element key1 = testCache.get("key1");
        Element key2 = testCache.get("key2");
        key1 = testCache.get("key1");
        testCache.put(new Element("key1", "value1"));
        testCache.put(new Element("key2", "value2"));




bootstrap.xml – used by the test harness

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns=""

<bean id="cacheManager" class="org.springframework.cache.ehcache.EhCacheManagerFactoryBean">
<property name="configLocation" value="classpath:/com/bitsofinfo/ehcache/jms/ehcache.xml"/>











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Ideas worth spreading

If you haven’t been exposed to Nathan Marz’s ideas on Big Data, the following links are definitely worth your time:

Processing ModSecurity audit logs with Fluentd

Recently had a need to take tons of raw ModSecurity audit logs and make use of them. First used Logstash and then attempted with Apache Flume (see previous articles). Next in line was Fluentd which is what this article is about, long story short I ended up just having to write a Fluentd output plugin to take the output from the tail multiline plugin and then format it into a more structured first class object that looks like the below example.

The Modsecurity Fluentd plugin is located here on Github:

  1. Get some audit logs generated from modsecurity and throw them into a directory
  2. Edit your fluentd config file and customize its input to use the tail multiline plugin and then the modsecurity plugin, an example is here.
  3. Customize your output(s)
  4. On the command line:  “fluentd ./fluent.conf -vv” 

This was tested against the latest version of Fluentd available at the time of this article.

The end result of it is that with this configuration, your raw Modsec audit log entries, will end up looking something like this JSON example below. Again this is just how I ended up structuring the fields via the filters, you can fork and modify the plugin as you see fit to output a different format, or even make it more configurable


"modsec_timestamp":"08/Nov/2013:06:22:59 --0400",
"User-Agent":"Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) Safari/537.36",
"Cookie":"myCookie=testValue; myapp_sec_7861ac9196050da; special=ddd",
"responseStatus":"200 OK",
"Expires":"Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10",
"Cache-Control":"public, max-age=31536000",
"Content-Type":"application/x-javascript; charset=UTF-8",
"Set-Cookie":"zippy=65.sss31; path=/;",
"Stopwatch":"1375957379601874 39178 (989 4992 -)",
"Producer":"ModSecurity for Apache (; core ruleset",
"Server":"Apache (party6)",
"info":"Warning 1. Operator EQ matched 0 at GLOBAL.",
"msg":"ModSecurity does not support content encodings",
"info":"Warning 2. Operator EQ matched 0 at GLOBAL.",
"msg":"ModSecurity does not support content encodings",
"SecRule \"REQUEST_METHOD\" \"@rx ^(?:GET|HEAD)$\" ",
"SecRule \"&REQUEST_HEADERS:Content-Type\" \"@eq 0\" \"phase:2,deny,status:406,t:lo",
"SecAction \"phase:2,status:406,t:lowercase,t:replaceNulls,t:compres",
"SecRule \"&GLOBAL:alerted_960903_compression\" \"@eq 0\" \"phase:2,log,deny,status:406,t:lower"

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Deserializing Modsecurity Audit logs with Apache Flume

This post will be updated in the coming days/weeks, however when looking at using Apache Flume to ingest some ModSecurity Audit logs, it quickly became apparent that Flume’s SpoolingDirectorySource lacked the ability to de-serialized “events” from a file that spanned many “new lines” (\n). Lacking this support, and seeing that an outstanding ticket already existed on a related subject at I went ahead and coded one up.

Please see RegexDelimiterDeSerializer and its corresponding unit test attached to FLUME-1988. Hopefully this can be included in an actual Flume release. In the meantime you should be able to include this and the related classes in a local copy of the Flume source and do your own build to get this functionality. The net result of using this regex patch is that each ModSecurity audit log entry (that spans many lines) will be summarized into *one* flume message. What you do next is up to you, however the next best thing is to pump this into the Flume Morphline Interceptor to then begin grokking and parsing the raw multi-lined modsec event. Note there are some possible synergies and re-use of regexes once you start using Morphlines and the Grok patterns we came up with for use with my Logstash based solution.

a) clone the official Flume source code

b) Drop in the files attached to FLUME-1988 into your cloned source of Flume

c) Follow the instructions located here to modify the source so that you can have a flume snapshot distro, that contains all the dependencies for Morphline (

d) From the root of the flume project run “mvn install -DskipTests=true” and take the tarball generated in “flume-ng-dist/target” and copy it somewhere else. (this is the freshly built Flume dist w/ the regex deserializer support)

e) Go to where you extracted the distro, widdle up your own flume config file and morphline config using the snippets below and then run “bin/flume-ng agent –conf conf –conf-file conf/flume.conf -Dflume.root.logger=DEBUG,console -n agent”

Here is a sample flume config snippet that uses this:

agent.sources = src1
agent.channels = memoryChannel
agent.sinks = loggerSink

# For each one of the sources, the type is defined
agent.sources.src1.type = spooldir
agent.sources.src1.channels = memoryChannel
agent.sources.src1.spoolDir = /path/to/my_modsec_logs
agent.sources.src1.deserializer = REGEX
agent.sources.src1.deserializer.outputCharset = UTF-8
agent.sources.src1.deserializer.eventEndRegex = --[a-fA-F0-9]{8}-Z--
agent.sources.src1.deserializer.includeEventEndRegex = true

agent.sources.src1.interceptors = morphlineinterceptor
agent.sources.src1.interceptors.morphlineinterceptor.type = org.apache.flume.sink.solr.morphline.MorphlineInterceptor$Builder
agent.sources.src1.interceptors.morphlineinterceptor.morphlineFile = /path/to/conf/morphline.conf
agent.sources.src1.interceptors.morphlineinterceptor.morphlineId = morphline1


Next is a sample “morphline.conf” configuration which will just emit each ModSecurity message from the audit log to standard out when running Flume. You can do the rest from there (have fun parsing). Please refer to the following morphlines documentation:

morphlines : [
    id : morphline1
    importCommands : ["com.cloudera.**"]

    commands : [
        readMultiLine {
          regex: ".*"
          charset : UTF-8

      # log the record at DEBUG level to SLF4J
      { logDebug { format : "output record: {}", args : ["@{}"] } }

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Logstash for ModSecurity audit logs

Recently had a need to take tons of raw ModSecurity audit logs and make use of them. Ended up using Logstash as a first stab attempt to get them from their raw format into something that could be stored in something more useful like a database or search engine. Nicely enough, out of the box, Logstash has an embeddable ElasticSearch instance that Kibana can hook up to.  After configuring your Logstash inputs, filters and outputs, you can be querying your log data in no time…. that is assuming writing the filters for your log data takes you close to “no time” which is not the case with modsec’s more challenging log format.

After searching around for some ModSecurity/Logstash examples, and finding only this one (for modsec entries in the apache error log), I was facing the task of having to write my own to deal w/ the modsecurity audit log format…..arrggg!

So after a fair amount of work, I ended up having a Logstash configuration that works for me… hopefully this will be of use to others out there as well. Note, this is certainly not perfect but is intended to serve as an example and starting point for anyone who is looking for that.

The Modsecurity Logstash configuration file (and tiny pattern file) is located here on Github:

  1. Get some audit logs generated from modsecurity and throw them into a directory
  2. Edit the logstash modsecurity config file ( and customize its file input path to point to your logs from step (1)
  3. Customize the output(s) and review the various filters
  4. On the command line:  java -jar logstash-[version]-flatjar.jar agent -v -f  logstash_modsecurity.conf

This was tested against Logstash v1.2.1 and relies heavily on Logstash’s “ruby” filter capability which really was a lifesaver to be able to workaround some bugs and lack of certain capabilities Logstash’s in growing set of filters. I’m sure as Logstash grows, much of what the custom ruby filters do can be changed over time.

The end result of it is that with this configuration, your raw Modsec audit log entries, will end up looking something like this JSON example below. Again this is just how I ended up structuring the fields via the filters. You can take the above configuration example and change your output to your needs.

EXAMPLE JSON OUTPUT, using this Logstash configuration

  "@timestamp": "2013-09-17T09:46:16.088Z",
  "@version": "1",
  "host": "razzle2",
  "path": "\/Users\/bof\/who2\/zip4n\/logstash\/modseclogs\/proxy9\/modsec_audit.log.1",
  "tags": [
  "rawSectionA": "[17\/Sep\/2013:05:46:16 --0400] MSZkdwoB9ogAAHlNTXUAAAAD 65183 80",
  "rawSectionB": "POST \/xml\/rpc\/soapservice-v2 HTTP\/1.1\nContent-Type: application\/xml\nspecialcookie: tb034=\nCache-Control: no-cache\nPragma: no-cache\nUser-Agent: Java\/1.5.0_15\nHost:\nAccept: text\/html, image\/gif, image\/jpeg, *; q=.2, *\/*; q=.2\nConnection: keep-alive\nContent-Length: 93\nIncoming-Protocol: HTTPS\nab0044: 0\nX-Forwarded-For:",
  "rawSectionC": "{\"id\":2,\"method\":\"report\",\"stuff\":[\"\",\"X22322mkf3\"],\"xmlrpm\":\"0.1a\"}",
  "rawSectionF": "HTTP\/1.1 200 OK\nX-SESSTID: 009nUn4493\nContent-Type: application\/xml;charset=UTF-8\nContent-Length: 76\nConnection: close",
  "rawSectionH": "Message: Warning. Match of \"rx (?:^(?:application\\\\\/x-www-form-urlencoded(?:;(?:\\\\s?charset\\\\s?=\\\\s?[\\\\w\\\\d\\\\-]{1,18})?)??$|multipart\/form-data;)|text\/xml)\" against \"REQUEST_HEADERS:Content-Type\" required. [file \"\/opt\/niner\/modsec2\/pp7.conf\"] [line \"69\"] [id \"960010\"] [msg \"Request content type is not allowed by policy\"] [severity \"WARNING\"] [tag \"POLICY\/ENCODING_NOT_ALLOWED\"]\nApache-Handler: party-server-time2\nStopwatch: 1379411176088695 48158 (1771* 3714 -)\nProducer: ModSecurity for Apache\/2.7 (http:\/\/\/); core ruleset\/1.9.2.\nServer: Whoisthat\/v1 (Osprey)",
  "modsec_timestamp": "17\/Sep\/2013:05:46:16 --0400",
  "uniqueId": "MSZkdwoB9ogAAHlNTXUAAAAD",
  "sourceIp": "",
  "sourcePort": "65183",
  "destIp": "",
  "destPort": "80",
  "httpMethod": "POST",
  "requestedUri": "\/xml\/rpc\/soapservice-v2",
  "incomingProtocol": "HTTP\/1.1",
  "requestBody": "{\"id\":2,\"method\":\"report\",\"stuff\":[\"\",\"X22322mkf3\"],\"xmlrpm\":\"0.1a\"}",
  "serverProtocol": "HTTP\/1.1",
  "responseStatus": "200 OK",
  "requestHeaders": {
    "Content-Type": "application\/xml",
    "specialcookie": "8jj220021kl==j2899IuU",
    "Cache-Control": "no-cache",
    "Pragma": "no-cache",
    "User-Agent": "Java\/1.5.1_15",
    "Host": "",
    "Accept": "text\/html, image\/gif, image\/jpeg, *; q=.2, *\/*; q=.2",
    "Connection": "keep-alive",
    "Content-Length": "93",
    "Incoming-Protocol": "HTTPS",
    "ab0044": "0",
    "X-Forwarded-For": ""
  "responseHeaders": {
    "X-SESSTID": "009nUn4493",
    "Content-Type": "application\/xml;charset=UTF-8",
    "Content-Length": "76",
    "Connection": "close"
  "auditLogTrailer": {
    "Apache-Handler": "party-server-time2",
    "Stopwatch": "1379411176088695 48158 (1771* 3714 -)",
    "Producer": "ModSecurity for Apache\/2.7 (http:\/\/\/); core ruleset\/1.9.2.",
    "Server": "Whoisthat\/v1 (Osprey)",</pre>
      		"info": "Warning. Match of \"rx (?:^(?:application\\\\\/x-www-form-urlencoded(?:;(?:\\\\s?charset\\\\s?=\\\\s?[\\\\w\\\\d\\\\-]{1,18})?)??$|multipart\/form-data;)|text\/xml)\" against \"REQUEST_HEADERS:Content-Type\" required.",
      		"file": "\/opt\/niner\/modsec2\/pp7.conf",
      		"line": "69",
      		"id": "960010",
     		"msg": "Request content type is not allowed by policy",
      		"severity": "WARNING",
 "event_date_microseconds": 1.3794111760887e+15,
 "event_date_milliseconds": 1379411176088.7,
 "event_date_seconds": 1379411176.0887,
 "event_timestamp": "2013-09-17T09:46:16.088Z",
 "XForwardedFor-GEOIP": {
 "ip": "",
 "country_code2": "XZ",
 "country_code3": "BRZ",
 "country_name": "Brazil",
 "continent_code": "SA",
 "region_name": "12",
 "city_name": "Vesper",
 "postal_code": "",
 "timezone": "Brazil\/Continental",
 "real_region_name": "Region Metropolitana"
 "matchedRules": [
 "SecRule \"REQUEST_METHOD\" \"@rx ^POST$\" \"phase:2,status:400,t:lowercase,t:replaceNulls,t:compressWhitespace,chain,t:none,deny,log,auditlog,msg:'POST request must have a Content-Length header',id:960022,tag:PROTOCOL_VIOLATION\/EVASION,severity:4\"",
 "SecRule \"REQUEST_FILENAME|ARGS|ARGS_NAMES|REQUEST_HEADERS|XML:\/*|!REQUEST_HEADERS:Referer\" \"@pm jscript onsubmit onchange onkeyup activexobject vbscript: <![cdata[ http: settimeout onabort shell: .innerhtml onmousedown onkeypress asfunction: onclick .fromcharcode background-image: .cookie onunload createtextrange onload <input\" \"phase:2,status:406,t:lowercase,t:replaceNulls,t:compressWhitespace,t:none,t:urlDecodeUni,t:htmlEntityDecode,t:compressWhiteSpace,t:lowercase,nolog,skip:1\"",
 "SecAction \"phase:2,status:406,t:lowercase,t:replaceNulls,t:compressWhitespace,nolog,skipAfter:950003\"",
 "SecRule \"REQUEST_HEADERS|XML:\/*|!REQUEST_HEADERS:'\/^(Cookie|Referer|X-OS-Prefs)$\/'|REQUEST_COOKIES|REQUEST_COOKIES_NAMES\" \"@pm gcc g++\" \"phase:2,status:406,t:lowercase,t:replaceNulls,t:compressWhitespace,t:none,t:urlDecodeUni,t:htmlEntityDecode,t:lowercase,nolog,skip:1\"",
 "secRuleIds": [

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Dropwizard Java REST services

To sum it up; Dropwizard rocks.

I’ve done quite a bit of WS development both the on client side and server side; interacting with both SOAP, REST and variants of XML/JSON RPC hybrid services. For my latest project I need to expose a set of REST services to a myriad of clients: phones, fat JS clients etc. This application also needs to talk to other nodes or “agents” that are also doing work in a distributed cloud environment. The core engine of this application really has no need for a bloated higher level MVC/gui supporting stack and bringing that into this library would just be a pain. I’ve always like the simplicity of being able to skip the whole JEE/Spring/Tomcat based container stack and just do a plain old “java -jar”… run my application…. but the reality of being able to do that has been lacking… until now.

In looking at the available options for picking the framework to use (such as Restlet, Spring-MVC REST, Spring Data REST etc and others), I immediately became discouraged when looking at examples for setting them up; they are full of complexity and lots of configuration and generally require a full application server container to run within, which just adds further complexity to your setup.

Then I stumbled across Dropwizard by the folks at Yammer. I encourage everyone reading this to just try the simple Hello World example they have on their site. If you have any experience in this space and an appreciation and vision for decoupling; you will immediately recognize the beauty of this little framework and the power it can bring to the table from a deployment standpoint. Build your core app engine back-end library as you normally would, toss in Dropwizard, expose some REST services to extend your interfaces to the outside world; throw it up on a server and “java -jar myapp server myconfig.yml” and you are ready to rock. (they make this possible by in-lining Jetty). Create a few little JS/HTML files for a fat JS client, (i’d recommend Angular) and hook into your REST services and you will have an awesome little decoupled application.

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Logging in Jboss sucks

This is a venting post.

I have a need to do the following. My app uses the Log4J API deployed on JBoss 6.1.x

A) Correlate log statements with a given thread of execution, logically identified by an arbitrary generated “request id” that my application sets at the entry point for a request, doing this using ThreadLocals. No, this is not a discussion for NDC/MDC.

B) These log statements will end up wherever the log system is configured to send them. I expect to be able to use that logging system’s documented APIs/configuration to add additional targets for log entries (appenders in log4j lingo)

C) Due to (A) and the sheer volume, I have the need to create a highly customized appender for log events that has access to my application’s context/services. The intent is to log these off asynchronously to a queue or a NoSql DB leveraging connections that my application already has handles on and configured itself. Hence I am not going to be able to reply on an instance of something that is instantiated and is outside of my application’s context. (i.e. I don’t want to configure this appender via the container’s default configuration mechanism, xml or whatever it is). I need to do this at runtime. My appender will need access to queues, and configuration, sources of connectivity that my application provides (not the deployment environment)

D) The logical approach would be to just use Log4J’s API and do something like:

Logger.getLogger("my.package.root").addAppender(new MySuperCustomizedAppender(configFromMyApp));

The above runs great in a unit test locally, I’m ready to go, lets deploy to JBoss!……oops wait, once deployed there nothing is happening.. whats going on??

E) When I do a Logger.getLogger() I get a nice instance of org.jboss.logmanager.log4j.BridgeLogger , looking at the source I see this little gem:

public void addAppender(final Appender newAppender) {
   // ignored

No warning. No Exception. No Message. Just silently discarded, letting you go ahead and waste your time trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

F) “Ok, someone else has certainly encountered this, lets google it”…. yep, doing a search on “BridgeLogger jboss addAppender” will yield you a whole lot of results and no definitive solution that really seems to do the job. Several forum posts going on and on with the lack of a satisfactory answer; several JIRA tickets documenting this issue etc. Overall the “workarounds” seem like way more trouble then they are worth (fiddling w/ jars, build/deploy routines, configurations etc on all app servers etc)

G) “Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t be using Log4J, how about Slf4J?”….. ok well, Slf4J provides a nice facade to logging. I’ll have to refactor a lot of my logging statements to use this API but it might be manageable. Then I can specifically target Log4j and bypass Jboss’s logging system…… oops. wait. no. JBoss also includes an SLF4J adapter of its own in the parent server level classpath, so if I create my own, since SLF4j does not permit multiple bindings, it will be a crap shoot for which one it picks…. Jboss’ or the one you want it to. Again the “solutions” for getting SLF4J to use your binding of choice over the one provided by JBoss seem like more “forum threads” with the lack of clear documented solution that does not involve your system administrators having to make farm wide config changes… @see F above. Forget it

H) Now what? Create my own “extension” of SLF4J or my own cloned interface of SLF4J that gives me some sort of hook that permits me to route log events over my customized “appender”? Yet more abstractions.


Securing Foscam IP camera access over SSL with Apache reverse proxying

UPDATED: 9/27/13  (The solution below does not include audio support; for audio over stunnel please see this post over at

Recently I was assisting a local business setup their Foscam IP cameras and make them remotely accessible for monitoring purposes from anywhere in the world. The particular models they had installed are the FI8910W line. These camera’s are pretty cool and for ~$100 retail they are a pretty good deal in my opinion. The cameras can be accessed via a browser over HTTP and also support a rudimentary HTTP/CGI API. However one of the biggest issues with these cameras security wise is the lack of SSL support. The embedded webserver on these things only supports HTTP and basic auth in the clear which, outside of your local network is not a good thing if your requirements is to be able to view/manage them remotely from over the internet.

One solution for this is to simply front all access to your cameras with a SSL secured reverse proxy. We did this using Apache’s mod_proxy. I’m not going to go into every detail of how to do this below, but the point is to give the reader a starting point. You can lookup the details on all these apache configuration specifics elsewhere on the web, there are tons of examples out there.

The example below would be for securing access to 2 (two) Foscam IP cameras on your local network, living on an example subnet It assumes the local network is fronted by a router that supports port forwarding, which most consumer/business routers do. The end objective here is that when you access you will be accessing CAM1 and when you access you will be accessing CAM2.

Secondarily you can also set it up so that you could hit CAM1 at and CAM2 at

  1. CAM1 IP = listening on port 80
  2. CAM2 IP = listening on port 80
  3. Reverse Proxy Server = listening on ports 10000, 10001, 10002
  4. Router IP address:  configured with port forwarding as follows: Port 10000 ->, 10001 -> and 10002 ->


  • First off you need to setup a computer/server running Apache. The Apache webserver is available for almost every operating system known to man from linux to windows, to os-x. This server’s IP address is and ensure that name based virtual host support is enabled as well as mod_ssl.
  • Next ensure that apache is listening on all the necessary ports (the 3 mentioned above). You will want to have Apache listen on a separate unique port for each IP Camera it is proxying access to, or at least one unique port if you are proxying the cameras of of a sub-path: For this example we are assigning port 10000 -> [CAM1 & CAM2 via sub-dir proxies], port 10001->CAM1 only and 10002->CAM2 only. Within your apache configuration you will want to ensure that you have statements like the following configured:
NameVirtualHost *:10000
NameVirtualHost *:10001
NameVirtualHost *:10002
Listen 10000
Listen 10001
Listen 10002
  • Now that Apache is configured to listen on the necessary ports, we need to configure the actual virtual hosts and the reverse proxying directives within each host, see the example below:
# Reverse proxy config for BOTH
# CAMs (1 & 2) via sub-paths
# @
 ProxyRequests Off
 ProxyPreserveHost On
 ProxyVia On
 <Proxy *>
 Order deny,allow
 Allow from all

 # CAM1 (note trailing / is important)
 ProxyPass /cam1/
 ProxyPassReverse /cam1/

 # CAM2 (note trailing / is important)
 ProxyPass /cam2/
 ProxyPassReverse /cam2/

 CustomLog /path/to/apachelogs/access_cam1.log combined
 ErrorLog /path/to/apachelogs/error_cam1.log
 ServerName cam3

 SSLEngine On
 SSLCertificateFile /path/to/sslcert/mysslcert.crt
 SSLCertificateKeyFile /path/to/sslkey/sslkey.key

 <FilesMatch "\.(cgi|shtml|phtml|php)$">
 SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
 <Directory /usr/lib/cgi-bin>
 SSLOptions +StdEnvVars

 BrowserMatch "MSIE [2-6]" \
 nokeepalive ssl-unclean-shutdown \
 downgrade-1.0 force-response-1.0
 # MSIE 7 and newer should be able to use keepalive
 BrowserMatch "MSIE [17-9]" ssl-unclean-shutdown

# Reverse proxy config for CAM1
# @
 ProxyRequests Off
 ProxyPreserveHost On
 ProxyVia On
 <Proxy *>
 Order deny,allow
 Allow from all
 ProxyPass /
 ProxyPassReverse /
 CustomLog /path/to/apachelogs/access_cam1.log combined
 ErrorLog /path/to/apachelogs/error_cam1.log
 ServerName cam3

 SSLEngine On
 SSLCertificateFile /path/to/sslcert/mysslcert.crt
 SSLCertificateKeyFile /path/to/sslkey/sslkey.key

 <FilesMatch "\.(cgi|shtml|phtml|php)$">
 SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
 <Directory /usr/lib/cgi-bin>
 SSLOptions +StdEnvVars

 BrowserMatch "MSIE [2-6]" \
 nokeepalive ssl-unclean-shutdown \
 downgrade-1.0 force-response-1.0
 # MSIE 7 and newer should be able to use keepalive
 BrowserMatch "MSIE [17-9]" ssl-unclean-shutdown

# Reverse proxy config for CAM2
# @
 ProxyRequests Off
 ProxyPreserveHost On
 ProxyVia On
 <Proxy *>
 Order deny,allow
 Allow from all
 ProxyPass /
 ProxyPassReverse /
 CustomLog /path/to/apachelogs/access_cam2.log combined
 ErrorLog /path/to/apachelogs/error_cam2.log
 ServerName cam3

 SSLEngine On
 SSLCertificateFile /path/to/sslcert/mysslcert.crt
 SSLCertificateKeyFile /path/to/sslkey/sslkey.key

 <FilesMatch "\.(cgi|shtml|phtml|php)$">
 SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
 <Directory /usr/lib/cgi-bin>
 SSLOptions +StdEnvVars

 BrowserMatch "MSIE [2-6]" \
 nokeepalive ssl-unclean-shutdown \
 downgrade-1.0 force-response-1.0
 # MSIE 7 and newer should be able to use keepalive
 BrowserMatch "MSIE [17-9]" ssl-unclean-shutdown
  • Ok, so before you start up apache, you need to generate your own self-signed SSL certificate/key. See those lines above in the configuration for “SSLCertificateFile” and “SSLCertificateKeyFile”? You will need to generate your own SSL private key, certificate request, and then self sign it. The results of those openssl commands yield files that you point to on your local proxy server. You can read here for an example on how to generate the necessary files
  • Next ensure the router that sits in front of your proxy server @ has port forwarding enabled and forwards traffic going to port 10000, 10001 and 10002 to your proxy server.
  • Start up apache, work out the kinks and you should be ready to go. If you are outside of your normal network you will need to find your router’s WAN public IP address and go to https://my.external.router.ip:10001 and https://my.external.router.ip:10002 and you will be accessing CAM1 and CAM2 respectively over SSL from anywhere in the world. OR secondarily you can also go to https://my.external.router.ip:10000/cam1/ and https://my.external.router.ip:10000/cam2/ to hit the cameras. Please note that traffic from your browser to your proxy server is encrypted with SSL, however the SSL encryption will terminate at the proxy server. Network traffic from your proxy server to CAM1 and CAM2 is unencrypted but only running over your local network. This article assumes you trust who is on your local network not to be sniffing packets.
  • You will also want to ensure that your proxy server has a firewall on it, permits IP forwarding, limits access to only the necessary ports and is configured securely. You can handle that on your own and that is outside of the scope of this article.
  • Hopefully this helps someone out there who wants to securely access their IP cameras over the internet. Note that what is described above should work with any IP camera on the market that only supports HTTP, however the general procedure described above was only tested to work with Foscam model FI8910W


I’ve received many questions regarding which apps out there support talking to Foscam’s behind a SSL secured proxy and unfortunately the few I’ve used all fall short in one way or another. Proxying http/https based resources on a network (via ports, sub-paths or other methods) is a technology that has been around for a long time and from an client apps perspective it need not know it is even there. Secondarily, the Foscam camera APIs will work just fine regardless of how they are proxied (from the root url or off of a sub-path in the proxy). Regardless here are some apps I’ve used below with some notes

  • iOS: FoscamPro: Cool app, works great when you are on your internal network, but fails miserably if you try to use it from outside your network when your cameras are behind an SSL secured proxy as described above. Why? The FoscamPro application simply DOES NOT support SSL. (FoscamPro devs: PLEASE IMPLEMENT THIS!) The only way to use FoscamPro in the setup above is if you have a VPN server running behind your router; you then connect to your home VPN which lets you appear “internal” to your local network when you are outside of your network, and then access your cameras directly, bypassing the proxy. The VPN itself is what is encrypting all of your communications.
  • iOS: Live Cams Pro: Cool app, works very similar to FoscamPro but supports other manufacturers and more devices, generic url streams etc. They DO support SSL which works with the proxied setup described above. However they DO NOT support specifying a relative path off of the base IP that you are connecting to a Foscam camera with. This effectively eliminates your ability to proxy your cameras via sub-dirs (i.e. which is CRITICAL if you have a lot of cams but your router limits the number of port forwards you can have! (Live Cams Pro devs: PLEASE IMPLEMENT THIS!)
  • Android: tinyCam Monitor PRO: Cool app, I must admit I am pretty sure this supports HTTPS as I was testing with this earlier this summer for the port-> cam based config. I have not tested with the sub-dir path setup. If someone can shoot me an update on this I’ll appreciate it. (I’ve switched to all iOS)
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JBoss and BouncyCastleProvider – SecurityException : “cannot authenticate the provider”

Are you having problems trying to use the BouncyCastleProvider from your app on Jboss 5.x + (i.e. like the errors listed below)? If so and you don’t want to spend hours trying to workaround this issue in Jboss, just follow this guy’s instructions and get back to business:

Some background regarding this Jboss issue at

Errors that can be fixed by doing the above:

java.lang.SecurityException: JCE cannot authenticate the provider BC: org.jasypt.exceptions.EncryptionInitializationException: java.lang.SecurityException: JCE cannot authenticate the provider BC


Caused by: java.util.jar.JarException: Cannot parse vfs: /path/to/your/bouncycastle.jar


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