Automated Deployment: Deploying WAR Files from Jenkins to Tomcat for Continuous Delivery


Revolutionizing Deployment with Automation

The software development life cycle has come a long way since the days of manual deployment. In the past, deploying software meant investing hours in tedious, repetitive tasks that were prone to human error. However, with the advent of automation, all of this has changed.

Automated deployment is one of the most significant advancements in software development in recent years. It has revolutionized how companies deploy and deliver software applications that are quick, efficient and reliable.

The Significance of Continuous Delivery

The importance of continuous delivery in today’s agile software development landscape cannot be overstated. Continuous delivery is a methodology where incremental changes to a codebase are automatically built, tested and deployed to production environments quickly and safely. The primary goal of continuous delivery is to release high-quality code into production rapidly while ensuring minimal disruption.

Continuous delivery empowers teams to move at an unprecedented speed while maintaining high standards of quality assurance. By leveraging automated testing suites and deployment tools like Jenkins or Ansible for deploying WAR files to Tomcat servers, developers can focus on writing code rather than manual processes.

An Overview of Automated Deployment

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of automated deployment techniques for deploying WAR files from Jenkins to Tomcat servers for continuous delivery purposes. We will start by providing an overview of what automated deployment entails and its significance in modern software development practices. Next, we will discuss how Jenkins and Tomcat can be configured for automated deployments using plugins such as Deploy to Container or via scripting techniques.

Also covered are best practices such as isolating deployments with Docker containers or using blue-green deployments for zero downtime releases. We will conclude by highlighting common issues encountered during these processes along with troubleshooting steps aimed at helping readers overcome them effectively.

This article aims at providing readers with an understanding of how automation can be used to streamline the deployment process. Through a detailed discussion of automated deployment techniques, readers will gain insights into how they can improve their software deployment processes for continuous delivery.

Setting up Jenkins and Tomcat for automated deployment

Installing Jenkins and Tomcat on the server

Before starting with the installation, we should ensure that the server has Java installed. Both Jenkins and Tomcat run on Java, so it is essential that it is installed before any further installation. Once Java is installed, we can proceed with the installation of both Jenkins and Tomcat.

We can install them manually or using package managers like apt-get for Ubuntu or yum for CentOS. Manual installations involve downloading the binary file from their respective websites and configuring them on the server.

Configuring Jenkins to build and deploy WAR files to Tomcat

After successful installation of both Jenkins and Tomcat, we need to connect both applications to enable seamless automated deployment continuously. Firstly, install plugins that are required for this integration. The most relevant ones are “Deploy to container,” “Tomcat Plugin,” “Build Pipeline Plugin,” and “Git Plugin.”

Next, configure Jenkins’s preferences by going into its settings > Configure System > Add Server option > Select Apache Tomcat in Container type drop-down menu > Fill in other details like server URL/port number/credentials etc. Navigate back to your job settings > Select Build Triggers tab > Check Build Periodically option (for continuous delivery) or choose a different trigger according to your requirement.

Add a post-build action task where you select ‘Deploy war/ear’ artifacts from a dropdown menu after every successful build. These artifacts will be deployed automatically by jenkins into tomcat’s webapps directory.

Creating a pipeline in Jenkins for continuous delivery

Once you have successfully configured jenkins and tomcat together, creating a pipeline should be relatively simple: Firstly go into your jobs configuration page then click ‘Configure’ button present in left sidebar.

Then navigate down to ‘Pipeline: Definition’ box to select ‘Pipeline script from SCM’ option as we will be using Jenkinsfile. We can create a new pipeline or use an existing one according to our requirement.

Then, in the Jenkins file, define the build steps and deployment process for your application. It should include steps like code checkout, building WAR files, running integration tests, deploying to Tomcat etc.

Once you have defined all pipelines stages in the file save it and run the job. If everything is set up correctly, Jenkins will automatically deploy your application every time you push changes to your repository.

Understanding WAR files and their deployment process

What are WAR files?

A Web Archive (WAR) file is a compressed package of web application files that can run on any server that supports Java Servlets. Essentially, it is a complete package of all the necessary resources for an application to function properly. This includes web pages, servlets, JSPs (JavaServer Pages), HTML pages, images, XML files and other resources like CSS and JavaScript.

How are they created?

WAR files are typically created using the Apache Ant build tool or with a build management tool like Maven or Gradle. The process involves bundling all the necessary web application components into a single archive file with the .war extension.

The creation of WAR files includes compiling Java classes into bytecode, integrating third-party libraries and packaging all necessary resources. Creating a WAR file requires careful consideration for several factors like set up dependencies correctly and ensuring that the deployment environment meets all software requirements.

Best practices for deploying WAR files to Tomcat

Deploying WAR files in Tomcat requires best practices to ensure optimal performance and avoid common pitfalls such as security breaches or compatibility issues. Here are some best practices for deploying your applications effectively: – Keep your WAR file size small to minimize loading time.

– Ensure you have proper testing before you deploy your app – Consider using standard naming conventions when naming your war file

– Make sure you configure security roles before deploying – Use version control tools to track changes made during development

– Configure access control carefully to ensure secure access By following these best practices, you can ensure that your deployment process will be smooth while minimizing downtime or complications during deployments.

Automating the Deployment Process with Scripts and Plugins

Writing Scripts to Automate the Deployment Process

One of the key aspects of automated deployment is writing scripts that can handle the deployment process from start to finish, without human intervention. These scripts can be written in a variety of programming languages, depending on your preference and the tools you are using. However, when it comes to automating the deployment of WAR files from Jenkins to Tomcat, Bash scripts are a popular choice due to their ease-of-use and flexibility.

A simple Bash script for deploying a WAR file might include commands like “curl” or “wget” to fetch the latest version of the WAR file from your repository or build server, followed by commands like “mv” or “rm” to move or delete old versions of the file as needed. You can also use variables in your script to make it more dynamic and reusable across different environments.

Using Plugins Like “Deploy to Container” for Easy Deployment

Plugins are another powerful tool for automating the deployment process in Jenkins. One such plugin is “Deploy to Container”, which enables you to deploy WAR files directly from Jenkins into containers like Tomcat with just a few clicks. This plugin works by providing an easy-to-use form that lets you specify where on your server(s) your container(s) are running, what context path(s) should be used for each container instance and what version numbers or other identification information will be associated with each application deployed via this plugin.

This plugin is especially useful if you’re working with multiple servers or containers that need different configurations for their deployments. By using this plugin, you can easily configure all these variables within Jenkins itself, saving time and effort while ensuring consistency across all deployments.

Integrating Scripts and Plugins into Jenkins Pipeline

The final step in automating your deployment process is to integrate your scripts and plugins into your Jenkins pipeline so that they run automatically whenever a new build is available. This can be done using the “Pipeline” plugin, which enables you to create fully automated pipelines of tasks that run in series or parallel, with each step passing output data to the next in line. To integrate your scripts and plugins into a Jenkins pipeline, you’ll need to create a “Jenkinsfile” that defines the steps of your pipeline and includes any necessary scripts or plugins.

This file can be written in Groovy, an object-oriented programming language used for creating DSLs (domain-specific languages), which makes it easy to express complicated workflows and processes in simple code. By integrating all these pieces together into a cohesive deployment process, you can achieve true continuous delivery with minimal manual intervention, enabling your team to focus on writing great code rather than worrying about deployments.

Advanced Techniques for Automated Deployment

Automated deployment is a crucial aspect of modern software development. However, there are advanced techniques for automating deployment that can take your continuous delivery process to the next level. In this section, we will discuss three such techniques: using Docker containers for isolated deployments, implementing blue-green deployments for zero downtime and Monitoring deployments with tools like Nagios or Zabbix.

Using Docker Containers for Isolated Deployments

Docker containers have revolutionized the way applications are deployed and managed in production environments. Docker provides an isolated environment to run your application without interfering with other applications running on the same machine.

Using Docker containers can help solve dependency issues that might arise during deployment. Docker containers also provide a consistent runtime environment across different machines, making it easy to deploy applications across multiple servers.

By using Docker, you can package your application along with its dependencies into a single container image that can be easily deployed on any machine running Docker. With Docker containers, you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues between different versions of software components used in your application.

You can simply package all the components into a single container image and deploy it on any machine running Docker. This makes it easier to manage and automate deployment workflows while ensuring that your application runs consistently across all environments.

Implementing Blue-Green Deployments for Zero Downtime

Blue-green deployments are another advanced technique used in automated deployment to minimize downtime during updates or releases. In a blue-green deployment, two identical environments (blue and green) are set up with one being active (green) and the other being idle (blue). All traffic is initially directed to the green environment while the blue environment is updated with new changes or releases.

Once all updates are installed on the blue environment, traffic is then switched over to the updated blue environment. This process ensures that the application remains available during the deployment process, minimizing downtime for users.

Implementing a blue-green deployment requires careful planning and testing to ensure that application state is preserved between deployments. The use of containerization technologies like Docker can simplify the implementation of blue-green deployments by providing a consistent runtime environment across different environments.

Monitoring Deployments with Tools like Nagios or Zabbix

Automated deployment introduces new challenges in terms of monitoring and troubleshooting issues during deployment. Monitoring tools like Nagios or Zabbix can be used to monitor your application’s performance and alert you in case of any issues.

Nagios or Zabbix provide real-time monitoring capabilities for servers, applications and network devices. With these tools, you can set up alerts for critical events such as service failures or resource constraints.

You can also monitor system logs to identify potential issues before they become problems. By using monitoring tools like Nagios or Zabbix, you can ensure that your automated deployment workflow is running smoothly and detect any issues before they become critical problems.

Troubleshooting Common Issues During Automated Deployment

Debugging Issues with Logs

Logs are an essential tool for debugging issues during the automated deployment process. It is crucial to understand what different log levels mean and how they can help in troubleshooting issues.

Most applications use log4j or Logback libraries for logging, which provide various log levels such as INFO, DEBUG, WARN, ERROR, etc. Debug logs are the most important while troubleshooting an issue as they provide a detailed view of the application’s behavior. To debug a particular issue, enable debug logging for the relevant components and analyze logs for errors and exceptions.

Common Errors During WAR File Deployments

There can be several reasons why a WAR file deployment may fail during automated deployment. Some common issues include incorrect application dependencies or versions, wrong configuration details, insufficient privileges or permissions to access files or directories, unavailable network resources such as databases or LDAP servers and out-of-memory errors due to inadequate heap sizes of JVMs.

To address these issues – first check if there is enough disk space available on the server and that all required resources are running correctly such as databases and LDAP servers. Ensure that all dependencies are up-to-date before deploying your WAR file.


To minimize potential issues during automated deployments: – Keep your development environment in sync with your production environment

– Use version control systems like Git for source code management – Define clear release procedures

– Have proper backup mechanisms in place – Regularly check server health status


Automated deployment using Jenkins and Tomcat is one of the most efficient means of continuous delivery in software development today; however, it requires careful set-up to prevent any deployment mishaps that may occur down the line. By having a solid understanding of WAR files’ basics and their deployment process together with using tools like scripts and plugins, common deployment issues can be easily avoided.

Troubleshooting during deployment with Debug logs and other tools should not be a daunting task but rather an integral part of the development process. With the right procedures and checks in place, developers can focus on writing code while having peace of mind knowing that their deployments are running without any issues.

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