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Oracle® Fusion Middleware Using Web Server 1.1 Plug-Ins with Oracle WebLogic Server
11g Release 1 (11.1.1)

Part Number E37889-01
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6 Common Configuration Tasks

This chapter describes tasks that are common across all the web servers for configuring the plug-ins provided by Oracle. It contains the following sections:

6.1 Use SSL with Plug-Ins

You can use the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol to protect the connection between the plug-in and Oracle WebLogic Server. The SSL protocol provides confidentiality and integrity to the data passed between the plug-in and WebLogic Server.

The plug-in does not use the transport protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) specified in the HTTP request (usually by the browser) to determine whether or not to use SSL to protect the connection between the plug-in and WebLogic Server; that is, the plug-in is in no way dependent on whether the HTTP request (again, usually from the browser) uses HTTPS (SSL).

Instead, the plug-in uses SSL parameters that you configure for the plug-in, as described in Section 7.2, "SSL Parameters for Web Server Plug-Ins", to determine when to use SSL. There are two key SSL parameters:

In the case of two-way SSL, the plug-in (the SSL client) automatically uses two-way SSL when Oracle WebLogic Server is configured for two-way SSL and requests a client certificate.

If a client certificate is not requested, the plug-ins default to one-way SSL.

Note:

If an Oracle Fusion Middleware 11gR1 product is installed on the same system as the Apache (including Oracle HTTP Server) plug-in, the ORACLE_HOME variable must point to a valid installation; otherwise, the plug-in fails to initialize SSL.

For example, if ORACLE_HOME is invalid because the product was not cleanly removed, the plug-in fails to initialize SSL.

6.1.1 Configure Libraries for SSL

The plug-ins use Oracle libraries (NZ) to provide SSL support. Because the libraries are large, they are loaded only when SSL is needed. You need to make sure that the library files, located in lib/*.so*, are available at the proper locations so that they can be dynamically loaded by the plug-in.

To configure the libraries for the plug-ins for Apache HTTP Server, you have a few options:

  • Windows: Specify the lib directory that contains the .dll files in the PATH variable or copy the *.dll files in the bin directory.

  • UNIX: Configure LD_LIBRARY_PATH to point to the folder containing the libraries or copy the libraries to the lib directory.

If you copy the libraries instead of updating the PATH (Windows) or LD_LIBRARY_PATH (UNIX) variables, you must copy the libraries afresh each time you install a new version of the plug-in.

6.1.2 Configuring a Plug-In for One-Way SSL

Perform the following steps to configure one-way SSL.

In these steps, you run the keytool commands on the system on which WebLogic Server is installed, and you run the orapki commands on the system on which the version 1.1 plug-ins are installed.

Note:

The examples in this section use the WebLogic Server demo CA. If you are using the plug-in in a production environment, make sure that trusted CAs are properly configured for the plug-in as well as for Oracle WebLogic Server.

  1. Configure Oracle WebLogic Server for SSL. For more information, see "Configuring SSL" in Securing Oracle WebLogic Server.

  2. Create an Oracle Wallet, by using the orapki utility.

    orapki wallet create -wallet mywallet -auto_login_only
    

    For more information, see "Using the orapki Utility for Certificate Validation and CRL Management" in the Oracle Fusion Middleware Administrator's Guide.

    Note:

    Only the user who creates the wallet (or for Windows, the account SYSTEM) has access to the wallet.

    This is typically sufficient for the Apache plug-in because Apache runs as the account SYSTEM on Windows, and as the user who creates it on UNIX. However, for IIS the wallet will not work because the default user is IUSR_<Machine_Name>(IIS6.0 and below) or IUSR (IIS7.0 and above).

    If the user who runs the Apache plug-in or IIS plug-in is not the same user who creates the wallet (or for Windows, the account SYSTEM), you need to grant the user access to the wallet by running the command cacls (Windows) or chmod (UNIX) after you create the wallet. For example:

    IIS 6.0:

    cacls <wallet_path>\cwallet.sso /e /g IUSR_<Machine_Name>:R

    IIS 7.5:

    cacls <wallet_path>\cwallet.sso /e /g IUSR:R

  3. Import the WL_HOME\server\lib\CertGenCA.der CA into the Oracle Wallet.

    orapki wallet add -wallet mywallet -trusted_cert -cert CertGenCA.der -auto_login_only
    
  4. Configure the web server configuration files as follows:

    • For Apache HTTP Server, edit the httpd.conf file as follows:

      <IfModule mod_weblogic.c>
       WebLogicHost host
       WebLogicPort port
       SecureProxy ON
       WLSSLWallet path_to_wallet
      </IfModule>
      
    • For Microsoft IIS, edit the iisproxy.ini file as follows:

      WebLogicHost=host
       WebLogicPort=port
       SecureProxy=ON
       WLSSLWallet=path_to_wallet
      

    For more information about the parameters in these examples, see Chapter 7, "Parameters for Web Server Plug-Ins."

  5. If the version of the Oracle WebLogic Server instances in the back end is 10.3.4 (or a later release), do the following:

    1. Log in to the Oracle WebLogic Server administration console.

    2. In the Domain Structure pane, expand the Environment node.

      • If the server instances to which you want to proxy requests from Oracle HTTP Server are in a cluster, select Clusters.

      • Otherwise, select Servers.

    3. Select the server or cluster to which you want to proxy requests from Oracle HTTP Server.

      The Configuration: General tab is displayed.

    4. Scroll down to the Advanced section, expand it.

    5. Select the WebLogic Plug-In Enabled check box.

    6. Select the Client Cert Proxy Enabled check box.

    7. If you selected Servers in step b, repeat steps c and d for the other servers to which you want to proxy requests from Oracle HTTP Servers.

    8. Click Save.

    For the change to take effect, you must restart the server instances.

  6. Send a request to http://host:port/mywebapp/my.jsp from the browser and validate the response.

6.1.3 Configure Two-Way SSL Between the Plug-In and Oracle WebLogic Server

When Oracle WebLogic Server is configured for two-way SSL, the plug-in forwards the user certificate to WebLogic Server. As long as WebLogic Server can validate the user certificate, two-way SSL can be established.

In addition to the steps described in Section 6.1.2, "Configuring a Plug-In for One-Way SSL", perform the following steps:

In these steps, you run the keytool commands on the system on which WebLogic Server is installed. You run the orapki commands on the system on which the version 1.1 plug-ins are installed.

  1. From the Oracle wallet, generate a certificate request.

  2. Use this certificate request to create a certificate via a CA or some other mechanism.

  3. Import the user certificate as a trusted certificate in the WebLogic trust store. Oracle WebLogic Server needs to trust the certificate.

    keytool -file user.crt -importcert -trustcacerts -keystore DemoTrust.jks -storepass <passphrase>
    
  4. Set the WebLogic Server SSL configuration options that require the presentation of client certificates (for two-way SSL). For more information, see "Configure two-way SSL" in the Oracle WebLogic Server Administration Console Help.

6.2 Use IPv6 With Plug-Ins

The version 1.1 plug-ins support IPv6. Specifically, the WebLogicHost and WebLogicCluster configuration parameters (see Table 7-1) now support IPv6 addresses. For example:

<IfModule mod_weblogic.c>
 WebLogicHost [a:b:c:d:e:f]
 WebLogicPort 7002
 ...
</IfModule>

or

<IfModule mod_weblogic.c>
 WebLogicCluster [a:b:c:d:e:f]:<port>, [g:h:i:j:k:l]:<port>
 
 ....
</IfModule>

You can also use the IPv6 address mapped host name.

Note:

As of Windows 2008, the DNS server returns the IPv6 address in preference to the IPv4 address. If you are connecting to a Windows 2008 (or later) system using IPv4, the link-local IPv6 address format is tried first, which may result in a noticeable delay and reduced performance. To use the IPv4 address format, configure your system to instead use IP addresses in the configuration files or add the IPv4 addresses to the etc/hosts file.

In addition, you may find that setting the DynamicServerList property to OFF in the mod_wl_ohs.conf file also improves performance with IPv6. When set to OFF, the plug-in ignores the dynamic cluster list used for load balancing requests proxied from the plug-in and uses the static list specified with the WebLogicCluster parameter.

6.3 Set Up Perimeter Authentication

Use perimeter authentication to secure WebLogic Server applications that are accessed via the plug-in.

A WebLogic Identity Assertion Provider authenticates tokens from outside systems that access your WebLogic Server application, including users who access your WebLogic Server application through the plug-in. Create an Identity Assertion Provider that will safely secure your plug-in as follows:

  1. Create a custom Identity Assertion Provider on your WebLogic Server application. See "How to Develop a Custom Identity Assertion Provider" in Developing Security Providers for Oracle WebLogic Server.

  2. Configure the custom Identity Assertion Provider to support the Cert token type and make Cert the active token type. See "How to Create New Token Types" in Developing Security Providers for Oracle WebLogic Server.

  3. Set clientCertProxy to True in the web.xml deployment descriptor file for the Web application (or, if using a cluster, optionally set the Client Cert Proxy Enabled attribute to true for the whole cluster on the Administration Console Cluster-->Configuration-->General tab).

    The clientCertProxy attribute can be used with a third party proxy server, such as a load balancer or an SSL accelerator, to enable 2-way SSL authentication. For more information about the clientCertProxy attribute, see context-param in Developing Web Applications, Servlets, and JSPs for Oracle WebLogic Server.

  4. Once you have set clientCertProxy, be sure to use a connection filter to ensure that WebLogic Server accepts connections only from the machine on which the plug-in is running. See "Using Network Connection Filters" in Programming Security for Oracle WebLogic Server.

  5. Web server plug-ins require a trusted Certificate Authority file in order to use SSL between the plug-in and WebLogic Server. See Section 6.1, "Use SSL with Plug-Ins" for the steps you need to perform to configure SSL.

See Identity Assertion Providers in Developing Security Providers for Oracle WebLogic Server.

6.4 Understanding Connection Errors and Clustering Failover

When the plug-in attempts to connect to WebLogic Server, the plug-in uses several configuration parameters to determine how long to wait for connections to the WebLogic Server host and, after a connection is established, how long the plug-in waits for a response. If the plug-in cannot connect or does not receive a response, the plug-in attempts to connect and send the request to other WebLogic Server instances in the cluster. If the connection fails or there is no response from any WebLogic Server in the cluster, an error message is sent.

Figure 6-1 demonstrates how the plug-in handles failover.

6.4.1 Possible Causes of Connection Failures

Failure of the WebLogic Server host to respond to a connection request could indicate the following problems:

  • Physical problems with the host machine

  • Network problems

  • Other server failures

Failure of all WebLogic Server instances to respond could indicate the following problems:

  • WebLogic Server is not running or is unavailable

  • A hung server

  • A database problem

  • An application-specific failure

6.4.2 Tips for reducing Connection_Refused Errors

Under load, a plug-in may receive CONNECTION_REFUSED errors from a back-end WebLogic Server instance. Follow these tuning tips to reduce CONNECTION_REFUSED errors:

  • Increase the AcceptBackLog setting in the configuration of your WebLogic Server domain.

  • Decrease the time wait interval. This setting varies according to the operating system you are using. For example:

    • On Windows NT, set the TcpTimedWaitDelay on the proxy and WebLogic Server servers to a lower value. Set the TIME_WAIT interval in Windows NT by editing the registry key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE:

      SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\TcpTimedWaitDelay 
      

      If this key does not exist you can create it as a DWORD value. The numeric value is the number of seconds to wait and may be set to any value between 30 and 240. If not set, Windows NT defaults to 240 seconds for TIME_WAIT.

    • On Windows 2000, lower the value of the TcpTimedWaitDelay by editing the registry key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE:

      SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters
      
    • On Solaris, reduce the setting tcp_time_wait_interval to one second (for both the WebLogic Server machine and the Apache machine, if possible):

      $ndd /dev/tcp
       param name to set - tcp_time_wait_interval
       value=1000
      
  • Increase the open file descriptor limit on your machine. This limit varies by operating system. Using the limit (.csh) or ulimit (.sh) directives, you can make a script to increase the limit. For example:

    #!/bin/sh
    ulimit -S -n 100
    exec httpd
    
  • On Solaris, increase the values of the following tunables on the WebLogic Server machine:

    tcp_conn_req_max_q tcp_conn_req_max_q0
    

6.4.3 Failover with a Single, Non-Clustered WebLogic Server

If you are running only a single WebLogic Server instance the plug-in only attempts to connect to the server defined with the WebLogicHost parameter. If the attempt fails, an HTTP 503 error message is returned. The plug-in continues trying to connect to that same WebLogic Server instance for the maximum number of retries as specified by the ratio of ConnectTimeoutSecs and ConnectRetrySecs.

6.4.4 The Dynamic Server List

The WebLogicCluster parameter is required to proxy to a list of back-end servers that are clustered, or to perform load balancing among non-clustered managed server instances.

In the case of proxying to clustered managed servers, when you use the WebLogicCluster parameter in your httpd.conf or weblogic.conf file to specify a list of WebLogic Servers, the plug-in uses that list as a starting point for load balancing among the members of the cluster. After the first request is routed to one of these servers, a dynamic server list is returned containing an updated list of servers in the cluster. The updated list adds any new servers in the cluster and deletes any that are no longer part of the cluster or that have failed to respond to requests. This list is updated automatically with the HTTP response when a change in the cluster occurs.

6.4.5 Failover, Cookies, and HTTP Sessions

When a request contains session information stored in a cookie or in the POST data, or encoded in a URL, the session ID contains a reference to the specific server instance in which the session was originally established (called the primary server). A request containing a cookie attempts to connect to the primary server. If that attempt fails, the plug-in attempts to make a connection to the next available server in the list in a round-robin fashion. That server retrieves the session from the original secondary server and makes itself the new primary server for that same session. See Figure 6-1.

Note:

If the POST data is larger than 64K, the plug-in will not parse the POST data to obtain the session ID. Therefore, if you store the session ID in the POST data, the plug-in cannot route the request to the correct primary or secondary server, resulting in possible loss of session data.

Figure 6-1 Connection Failover

Description of Figure 6-1 follows
Description of "Figure 6-1 Connection Failover"

In this figure, the Maximum number of retries allowed in the red loop is equal to ConnectTimeoutSecs/ConnectRetrySecs.

6.4.6 Using SSL with the Oracle iPlanet Web Server Plug-in

You can use the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol to protect the connection between the Oracle iPlanet Web Server plug-in and Oracle WebLogic Server. The SSL protocol provides confidentiality and integrity to the data passed between the Oracle iPlanet Web Server plug-in and Oracle WebLogic Server.

The Oracle iPlanet Web Server plug-in does not use the transport protocol (http or https) specified in the HTTP request (usually by the browser) to determine whether or not the SSL protocol will be used to protect the connection between the Oracle iPlanet Web Server plug-in and Oracle WebLogic Server.

To use the SSL protocol between Oracle iPlanet Web Server plug-in and Oracle WebLogic Server:

  1. Configure Oracle WebLogic Server for SSL. For more information, see "Configuring SSL" in Securing Oracle WebLogic Server.

  2. Set the WebLogicPort parameter in the Service directive in the obj.conf file to the listen port configured in step 1.

  3. Set the SecureProxy parameter in the Service directive in the obj.conf file file to ON.

  4. Set additional parameters, as required, in the Service directive in the obj.conf file that define information about the SSL connection. For the list of parameters, see Section 7.2, "SSL Parameters for Web Server Plug-Ins."

6.4.7 Failover Behavior When Using Firewalls and Load Directors

In most configurations, the Oracle iPlanet Web Server Plug-In sends a request to the primary instance of a cluster. When that instance is unavailable, the request fails over to the secondary instance. However, in some configurations that use combinations of firewalls and load-directors, any one of the servers (firewall or load-directors) can accept the request and return a successful connection while the primary instance of WebLogic Server is unavailable. After attempting to direct the request to the primary instance of WebLogic Server (which is unavailable), the request is returned to the plug-in as “connection reset.”

Requests running through combinations of firewalls (with or without load-directors) are handled by WebLogic Server. In other words, responses of connection reset fail over to a secondary instance of WebLogic Server. Because responses of connection reset fail over in these configurations, servlets must be idempotent. Otherwise duplicate processing of transactions may result.