Deploying your Grails apps to Cloud Foundry

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This information walks you through deploying a Grails app to Cloud Foundry. If you experience a problem following the steps, refer to the Troubleshooting Cloud Foundry or Troubleshooting Application Deployment and Health topics for more information.

If you want to go through this tutorial using the sample app, run git clone to clone the pongmatchergrails app from GitHub, and follow the instructions in the Sample app step sections.

Ensure that your Grails app runs locally before continuing with this procedure.

Deploy a Grails application

This section describes how to deploy a Grails application to Cloud Foundry.


You can develop Grails applications in Groovy, Java 7 or 8, or any JVM language. The Cloud Foundry Java buildpack uses JDK 1.8, but you can modify the buildpack and the manifest for your app to compile to JDK 1.7 as described in Step 8: Configure the Deployment Manifest of this topic.

Step 1: (Optional) Declare app dependencies

Declare all the dependency tasks for your app in the build script of your chosen build tool. The table lists build script information for Gradle, Grails, and Maven, and provides documentation links for each build tool.

Build Tool Build Script Documentation
Gradlebuild.gradleGradle User Guide
GrailsBuildConfig.groovyGrails: Configuration - Reference Documentation
Mavenpom.xmlApache Maven Project Documentation

You can skip this step. The pongmatchergrails/app/grails-app/conf/BuildConfig.groovy file contains the dependencies for the pongmatchergrails sample app, as shown in the following example.

dependencies {
        // specify dependencies here under either 'build', 'compile', 'runtime', 'test' or 'provided' scopes e.g.
        // runtime 'mysql:mysql-connector-java:5.1.29'
        // runtime 'org.postgresql:postgresql:9.3-1101-jdbc41'
        test "org.grails:grails-datastore-test-support:1.0-grails-2.4"
        runtime 'mysql:mysql-connector-java:5.1.33'

Step 2: (Optional) Allocate sufficient memory

Run the Cloud Foundry Command Line Interface (cf CLI) cf push -m command to specify the amount of memory that should be allocated to the application. Memory allocated this way is done in preset amounts of 64M, 128M, 256M, 512M, 1G, or 2G. For example:

$ cf push -m 128M

When your app is running, you can use the cf app APP-NAME command to see memory utilization.

You can skip this step. In the manifest.yml of the pongmatchergrails sample app, the memory sub-block of the applications block allocates 1 GB to the app.

Step 3: (Optional) Provide a JDBC driver

The Java buildpack does not bundle a JDBC driver with your application. If your application accesses a SQL RDBMS, you must do the following:

  • Include the appropriate driver in your application.
  • Create a dependency task for the driver in the build script for your build tool or IDE.

You can skip this step. The pongmatchergrails sample app declares a MySQL JDBC driver in the pongmatchergrails/app/grails-app/conf/DataSource.groovy file because the app uses ClearDB, which is a database-as-service for MySQL-powered apps. The example below shows this declaration.

dataSource {
    pooled = true
    jmxExport = true
    driverClassName = "com.mysql.jdbc.Driver"
    dialect = org.hibernate.dialect.MySQL5InnoDBDialect
    uri = new URI(System.env.DATABASE_URL ?: "mysql://foo:bar@localhost")
    username = uri.userInfo ? uri.userInfo.split(":")[0] : ""
    password = uri.userInfo ? uri.userInfo.split(":")[1] : ""
    url = "jdbc:mysql://" + + uri.path

    properties {
        dbProperties {
            autoReconnect = true

Step 4: (Optional) Configure a Procfile

Use a Procfile to declare required runtime processes for your web app and to specify your web server. For more information, see the Configuring a Production Server topic.

You can skip this step. The pongmatchergrails app does not require a Procfile.

Step 5: Create and bind a service instance for a Grails application

This section describes using the cf CLI to configure a ClearDB managed service instance for an app.

Cloud Foundry supports two types of service instances:

  • Managed services integrate with Cloud Foundry through service brokers that offer services and plans and manage the service calls between Cloud Foundry and a service provider.
  • User-provided service instances enable you to connect your application to pre-provisioned external service instances.

For more information about creating and using service instances, refer to the Services Overview topic.

Create a service instance

  1. View managed and user-provided services and plans available to you by running:

    cf marketplace

    The example shows two of the available managed database-as-a-service providers and their offered plans: cleardb database-as-a-service for MySQL-powered apps and postgresql-10-odb PostgreSQL as a Service.

    $ cf marketplace
    Getting services from marketplace in org Cloud-Apps / space development as
    service             plans                                     description
    cleardb             spark, boost, amp                         Highly available MySQL for your apps
    postgresql-10-odb   standalone, standalone-replica, general   PostgreSQL as a Service
  2. Create a service instance for your app by running:



    • SERVICE and PLAN are chosen from the output of the previous step.
    • SERVICE-INSTANCE is a unique name you provide for the service instance.

Note Run cf create-service cleardb spark mysql. This creates a service instance named mysql that uses the cleardb service and the spark plan, as the example below shows.
$ cf create-service cleardb spark mysql
Creating service mysql in org Cloud-Apps / space development as

(Optional) Bind a service instance

When you bind an app to a service instance, Cloud Foundry writes information about the service instance to the VCAP_SERVICES app environment variable. The app can use this information to integrate with the service instance.

Most services support bindable service instances. Refer to your service provider’s documentation to confirm if they support this functionality.

You can bind a service to an application with the command cf bind-service APPLICATION SERVICE-INSTANCE.

Alternately, you can configure the deployment manifest file by adding a services sub-block to the applications block and specifying the service instance. For more information and an example on service binding using a manifest, see the Sample App step.

You can skip this step because the service instance is already bound. Open the manifest.yml file in a text editor to view the bound service instance information. Locate the file in the app root directory and search for the services sub-block in the applications block, as the example below shows.

    - mysql

Step 6: (Optional) Configure the deployment manifest file

You can specify deployment options in the manifest.yml that the cf push command uses when deploying your app.

Refer to the Deploying with application manifests topic for more information.

You can skip this step. The manifest.yml file for the pongmatchergrails sample app does not require any additional configuration to deploy the app.

Step 7: Log in and target the API endpoint

Enter your log in credentials, and select a space and org.

cf login -a API-ENDPOINT

Where API-ENDPOINT is the URL of the Cloud Controller in your App Cloud instance.

Note You must do this step to run the sample app.

Step 8: Deploy the application

You must use the cf CLI to deploy apps.

From the root directory of your application, run the following command to deploy your application:

cf push APP-NAME -p PATH-TO-FILE.war

You must deploy the .war artifact for a Grails app, and you must include the path to the .war file in the cf push command using the -p option if you do not declare the path in the applications block of the manifest file. For more information, refer to the Grails section in the Tips for Java Developers topic.

The cf push command creates a URL route to your application in the form HOST.DOMAIN, where HOST is your APP-NAME and DOMAIN is specified by your administrator. Your DOMAIN

For example, cf push my-app creates the URL

The URL for your app must be unique from other apps that Cloud Foundry hosts or the push will fail. Use the following options to help create a unique URL:

  • -n to assign a different HOST name for the app
  • --random-route to create a URL that includes the app name and random words
  • cf help push to view other options for this command

If you want to view log activity while the app deploys, launch a new terminal window and run cf logs APP-NAME.

Once your app deploys, browse to your app URL. Search for the urls field in the App started block in the output of the cf push command. Use the URL to access your app online.

  1. Change to the appdirectory, and run ./grailsw war to build the app.
  2. Run cf push pong_matcher_grails -n HOST-NAME to push the app.

Example: cf push pong_matcher_grails -n my-grails-app

This example works for cf CLI v6. The -n flag is not supported for cf CLI v7/v8. Hostname must be set using the routes property in the manifest.

You do not have to include the -p flag when you deploy the sample app. The sample app manifest declares the path to the archive that cf push uses to upload the app files.

The following example shows the terminal output of deploying the pongmatchergrails app. cf push uses the instructions in the manifest file to create the app, create and bind the route, and upload the app. It then binds the app to the mysql service and follows the instructions in the manifest to start two instances of the app, allocating 1 GB of memory between the instances. After the instances start, the output displays their health and status. This example works for cf CLI v6. The -n flag is not supported for cf CLI v7/v8. Hostname must be set using the routes property in the manifest.

$ cf push pong_matcher_grails -n my-grails-app
Using manifest file /Users/example/workspace/pong_matcher_grails/app/manifest.yml

Creating app pong_matcher_grails in org Cloud-Apps / space development as

Creating route

Binding to pong_matcher_grails...

Uploading pong_matcher_grails...
Uploading app files from: /Users/example/workspace/pong_matcher_grails/app/target/pong_matcher_grails-0.1.war
Uploading 4.8M, 704 files
Binding service mysql to app pong_matcher_grails in org Cloud-Apps / space development as

Starting app pong_matcher_grails in org Cloud-Apps / space development as
-----> Downloaded app package (38M)
-----> Java Buildpack Version: v2.5 |
-----> Downloading Open Jdk JRE 1.8.0_25 from (1.5s)
       Expanding Open Jdk JRE to .java-buildpack/open_jdk_jre (1.1s)
-----> Downloading Spring Auto Reconfiguration 1.5.0_RELEASE from (0.0s)
       Modifying /WEB-INF/web.xml for Auto Reconfiguration
-----> Downloading Tomcat Instance 8.0.14 from (0.4s)
       Expanding Tomcat to .java-buildpack/tomcat (0.1s)
-----> Downloading Tomcat Lifecycle Support 2.4.0_RELEASE from (0.0s)
-----> Downloading Tomcat Logging Support 2.4.0_RELEASE from (0.0s)
-----> Downloading Tomcat Access Logging Support 2.4.0_RELEASE from (0.0s)

-----> Uploading droplet (83M)

0 of 2 instances running, 2 starting
0 of 2 instances running, 2 starting
0 of 2 instances running, 2 starting
2 of 2 instances running

App started

Showing health and status for app pong_matcher_grails in org Cloud-Apps / space development as

requested state: started
instances: 2/2
usage: 1G x 2 instances

     state     since                    cpu    memory         disk
#0   running   2014-11-10 05:07:33 PM   0.0%   686.4M of 1G   153.6M of 1G
#1   running   2014-11-10 05:07:36 PM   0.0%   677.2M of 1G   153.6M of 1G

Step 9: Test your deployed app

Use the cf CLI to review information and administer your app and your Cloud Foundry account. For example, you can edit the manifest.yml to increase the number of app instances from 1 to 3, and redeploy the app with a new app name and host name.

See the Manage Your Application with the cf CLI section for more information.

To test the sample app, do the following:

1. To export the test host, run export HOST=SAMPLE-APP-URL, substituting the URL for your app for SAMPLE-APP-URL.

2. To clear the database from any previous tests, run:
curl -v -X DELETE $HOST/all
You should get a response of 200.

3. To request a match as “andrew”, run:
curl -v -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X PUT $HOST/matchrequests/firstrequest -d '{"player": "andrew"}'
You should again get a response of 200.

4. To request a match as a different player, run:
curl -v -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X PUT $HOST/match
requests/secondrequest -d '{"player": "navratilova"}'

5. To check the status of the first match request, run:
curl -v -X GET $HOST/matchrequests/firstrequest
The last line of the output shows the match

6. Replace MATCHID with the matchid value from the previous step in the following command:

curl -v -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST $HOST/results -d '

You receive a 201 Created response.

Manage your application with the cf CLI

Run the cf help command to view a complete list of commands, grouped by task categories, and run cf help COMMAND for detailed information about a specific command. For more information about using the cf CLI, refer to the Cloud Foundry Command Line Interface (cf CLI) topics, especially the Getting Started with the cf CLI topic.

You cannot perform certain tasks in the CLI because these are commands that only an administrator can run. If you are not an administrator, the following message displays for these types of commands:

error code: 10003, message: You are not authorized to perform the requested action


If your application fails to start, verify that the application starts in your local environment. Refer to the Troubleshooting Application Deployment and Health topic to learn more about troubleshooting.

App deploy fails

Even when the deploy fails, the app might exist on Cloud Foundry. Run cf apps to review the apps in the currently targeted org and space. You might be able to correct the issue using the CLI, or you might have to delete the app and redeploy it.

App requires a unique URL

Cloud Foundry requires that each app that you deploy have a unique URL. Otherwise, the new app URL collides with an existing app URL and Cloud Foundry cannot successfully deploy the app. You can fix this issue by running cf push with the --random-route flag to create a unique URL. Using --random-route to create a URL that includes the app name and random words might create a long URL, depending on the number of words that the app name includes.

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