Up and away

An OpenShift primer


Hang on to your hats and stand by for launch into the Clouds – how to get your first OpenShift based application deployed in minutes!

Intro / Blurb

Are you tired of requesting a new development machine for your
application? Are you sick of having to set up a new test
environment for your application? Do you just want to focus on
developing your application in peace without ‘dorking with the
stack’ all of the time? Have no fear, OpenShift is here! This
tutorial will help you get started, hands-on, with Red Hat
OpenShift PaaS.

Getting started with OpenShift

There is a great amount of hype in the IT
world right now about Cloud. There is no shortage of acronyms for
the various areas that have been carved out, like Infrastructure as
a Servce (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a
Service (SaaS).

OpenShift is a PaaS offering from Red Hat that
we will introduce here which provides you with a platform to run
your applications. For you as an application developer, you want to
look at the environment where you put your applications as just a
service that is being provided. You don’t want to bother with how
that service is constructed as a set of components, how they are
configured or where they are running. You just want to make use of
this collection of services as offered to deploy, develop, test and
run your application. At this basic level, OpenShift provides a
platform for your Java, PHP, Ruby, Perl and Python

A little background

First let’s take a quick look at where
OpenShift comes from. It started at a company called Makara that
was based in Redwood City, Calif., providing solutions to enable
organizations to deploy, manage, monitor and scale their
applications on both private and public clouds. Red Hat acquired
Makara in November of 2010, and in the following year they have
merged Red Hat technologies into a new project called OpenShift.
[1] In May of 2012 the OpenShift team announced the launch of their
Open Source project called OpenShift Origin thereby making the
entire code base available online. [2] You can even take it for a
spin with the live CD they offer. [3] Even though this merging of
technologies is interesting for developers of PHP, Ruby, Perl and
Python, for Java developers the best news is that OpenShift has
included the next generation Open Source application platform based
on JBoss AS 7. [4] This brings a lightning fast application
platform for all your development needs.

It did not stop there, with the addition of
featured applications OpenShift was now offering pre-packaged
solutions like JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP), Zend
Server, and Aerogear Push. [5]

The OpenShift website states, “OpenShift is a
free, cloud-based application platform for Java, Perl, PHP, Python,
and Ruby applications. It’s super-simple—your development
environment is also your deployment environment: git push,
and you’re in the cloud.” [1] This peaks the interest so let’s give
it a try and see if we can raise our web application into the
clouds. For this we have our jBPM Migration web application which
we will use as a running application example for the rest of this
exercise. [6] First things first, we need to get the OpenShift
client tooling installed on our development machine.

Installing the client tools

Getting started with OpenShift is well
documented on the website as a quick start. [6] First you will want
to sign up for a Red Hat Cloud (rhcloud) account on OpenShift,
which you can access through the front page. Access the Sign Up
For Free
button as shown in Illustration 1 with a yellow
arrow. [8]


Illustration 1: sign up for free
to start using OpenShift.

Once you have signed up on the form as shown
in Illustration 1, we move on to the quick start page found under
the Get Started link. [9] This quick start provides us
with the four steps you need to get your application online.

  1. Sign up for an account.
  2. Open the console and create an application.
  3. Install Git and start coding.
  4. Upload your changes to OpenShift.

These are the basics of using OpenShift and do
not require you to install any of the command line tools that a
developer might be interested in. For a simple evaluation this
might be enough, so if this is what you are interested in please
follow the provided instructions.

We are going to take you through the more
intensive but rewarding installation of the client tooling on your
local machine so that you can access all of the OpenShift commands
from your favorite shell. This is outlined for Red Hat Enterprise
Linux (RHEL), Fedora Linux, generic Linux distributions, Mac and

Client tools for RHEL and Fedora

For RHEL and Fedora it is a simple package
installation after adding the OpenShift YUM repo:

  1. Download the express repo file openshift.repo at https://openshift.redhat.com/app/repo/openshift.repo.
  2. Place openshift.repo file in /etc/yum.repos.d/ directory.
$ sudo mv [path-to-download]/openshift.repo /etc/yum.repos.d/
  1. Install OpenShift client tools.
$ sudo yum install rhc

For generic Linux distributions, Mac and
Windows it is a Ruby based gem installation which we will show here
based on the Mac quick start instructions. We leave the generic
Linux distribution and Windows installation as an exercise for the
reader. [10]

Client tools for Mac

Before we can begin with our Mac installation
of the OpenShift client tools, there are a few requirements we need
to satisfy first. The official quick start guide points to a Full
Xcode Suite or Git for OS X, but we have a preference for being
able to manage our installed packages on our Mac. [11][12] There is
a choice of projects to manage third party Open Source packages on
your Mac such as MacPorts, but we prefer the project called Home
Brew. [13][14] We installed Home Brew and used this to manage our
Git installation. [15]

# Installation of Home Brew straight from the project installation guide. The command below
# installs Home Brew into /usr/local so that you don't need 'sudo' when running a 'brew install
# [package]' 
$ /usr/bin/ruby -e “$(/usr/bin/curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/master/Library/Contributions/install_homebrew.rb)”

Next we can install ‘git’ package as the
needed dependency.

$ brew install git

Once we have this taken care of the required
dependencies, we can actually install our OpenShift client tools
with a Ruby Gem install command as follows:

# Install OpenShift rhc client tool.
$ sudo gem install rhc

Fetching: net-ssh-gateway-1.2.0.gem (100%)
Fetching: net-ssh-multi-1.2.0.gem (100%)
Fetching: rhc-1.16.9.gem (100%)

If this is your first time installing the RHC
tools, please run ‘rhc setup’

Successfully installed net-ssh-gateway-1.2.0
Successfully installed net-ssh-multi-1.2.0
Successfully installed rhc-1.16.9
3 gems installed
Installing ri documentation for net-ssh-gateway-1.2.0...
Installing ri documentation for net-ssh-multi-1.2.0...
Installing ri documentation for rhc-1.16.9...
Installing RDoc documentation for net-ssh-gateway-1.2.0...
Installing RDoc documentation for net-ssh-multi-1.2.0...
Installing RDoc documentation for rhc-1.16.9...

 Now we can view the OpenShift client
tooling that is now available with command line # completion. We do
this by typing ‘rhc’ and then hitting TAB twice which will produce
a listing of available client tools for OpenShift.

$ rhc

rhc                        rhc-chk                    rhc-create-domain     rhc-ctl-domain      rhc-domain-info    
rhc-snapshot       rhc-tail-files             rhc-app                       rhc-create-app      rhc-ctl-app        
rhc-domain         rhc-port-forward    rhc-sshkey                   rhc-user-info

There is a complete documentation listing of all the various
target systems that can be installed at the OpenShift project
documentation site. [16]

We have taken you from the background of what OpenShift is,
where it came from, and how to get started by signing up for a new
OpenShift account. We then walked through the various target
platforms that can be used for installing the OpenShift client
tools. Finally we zoomed in on a Mac system and walked through the
details of installing the OpenShift client tools. This is all you
need to get your Cloud development experience started with


Now hang on to your hats, you are ready to depart for the Clouds
and get our first OpenShift based application deployed in


  1. OpenShift, https://openshift.redhat.com
  2. OpenShift Origin Open Source project,
  3. OpenShift Origin LiveCD,
  4. JBoss AS 7 in the Cloud, http://www.jboss.org/openshift
  5. OpenShift Featured Applications, https://openshift.redhat.com/app/console/application_types
  6. jBPM Migration project web application, https://github.com/eschabell/jbpmmigration_upload
  7. OpenShift Quick Start, https://openshift.redhat.com/app/getting_started
  8. Sign up for OpenShift, https://openshift.redhat.com/app/account/new
  9. Getting started with OpenShift, https://openshift.redhat.com/app/getting_started
  10. Installing OpenShift RHC client tools (Windows),


  11. Full Xcode installation, https://developer.apple.com/xcode/
  12. Git for OSX, http://code.google.com/p/git-osx-installer/
  13. Macports project, http://www.macports.org/
  14. Home Brew project, http://mxcl.github.com/homebrew/
  15. Home Brew installation guide, https://github.com/mxcl/homebrew/wiki/installation 
  16. Online documentation for getting started with OpenShift,


This tutorial is an excerpt from
OpenShift Primer 2 – Get Your
Code into the Cloud
by Eric D. Schabell. The next chapters
will help you get your first application into the Cloud. You can
get it at

About the author

Eric D. Schabell is the JBoss
technology evangelist for Integration and BPM products at Red Hat.
He is responsible for various outbound technical aspects of
promoting JBoss Enterprise Middleware integration products and
services (BRMS/BPM, SOA, and data integration). He has been working
within software development since 1998 for many different

Eric D. Schabell has been working within software development since 1998 for many different organizations such as IBM, Radboud University Nijmegen, SNS Bank and smaller software companies. He has been involved with Open Source projects such as Sourcemage Linux, eGroupWare, DocConversion, cmlFramework & still helping out in the JBoss jBPM project. Currently lead on jBPM Migration Project.
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