Configuring service connections for Ruby

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After you create a service instance and bind it to an application, you must configure the application to connect to the service.

Query VCAP_SERVICES with cf-app-utils

The cf-app-utils gem allows your application to search for credentials from the VCAP_SERVICES environment variable by name, tag, or label.


At runtime, Cloud Foundry creates a DATABASE_URL environment variable for every application based on the VCAP_SERVICES environment variable.


  "postgresql-10-odb": [
      "name": "postgresql-10-odb-c6c60",
      "label": "postgresql-10-odb",
      "credentials": {
        "uri": "postgres://"

Based on this VCAP_SERVICES, Cloud Foundry creates the following DATABASE_URL environment variable:

DATABASE_URL = postgres://

Cloud Foundry uses the structure of the VCAP_SERVICES environment variable to populate DATABASE_URL. Any service containing a JSON object with the following form is recognized by Cloud Foundry as a candidate for DATABASE_URL:

  "some-service": [
      "credentials": {
        "uri": "<some database URL>"

Cloud Foundry uses the first candidate found to populate DATABASE_URL.

Configure non Rails apps

Non Rails applications can also access the DATABASE_URL variable.

If you have more than one service with credentials, only the first is populated into DATABASE_URL. To access other credentials, you can inspect the VCAP_SERVICES environment variable.

vcap_services = JSON.parse(ENV['VCAP_SERVICES'])

Use the hash key for the service to obtain the connection credentials from VCAP_SERVICES.

  • For services that use the v2 format, the hash key is the name of the service.

  • For services that use the v1 format, the hash key is formed by combining the service provider and version, in the format PROVIDER-VERSION.

For example, the service provider “p-mysql” with version “n/a” forms the hash key p-mysql-n/a.

Seed or migrate database

Before you can use your database the first time, you must create and populate, or migrate it.

For more information about migrating database schemas, see Services Overview.


To aid in troubleshooting issues connecting to your service, you can examine the environment variables and log messages Cloud Foundry records for your application.

View environment variables

Use the cf env command to view the Cloud Foundry environment variables for your application. cf env displays the following environment variables:

  • The VCAP_SERVICES variables existing in the container environment
  • The user provided variables set using the cf set-env command
$ cf env my-app
Getting env variables for app my-app in org My-Org / space development as admin...

    "p-mysql-n/a": [
        "credentials": {
        "label": "p-mysql-n/a",
        "name": "p-mysql",
        "syslog_drain_url": "",
        "tags": ["postgres","postgresql","relational"]

my-env-var: 100

View logs

Use the cf logs command to view the Cloud Foundry log messages for your application. You can direct current logging to standard output, or you can dump the most recent logs to standard output.

Run cf logs APPNAME to direct current logging to standard output:

$ cf logs my-app
Connected, tailing logs for app my-app in org My-Org / space development as admin...
1:27:19.72 [App/0]  OUT [CONTAINER]  org.apache.coyote.http11.Http11Protocol  INFO  Starting ProtocolHandler ["http-bio-61013"]
1:27:19.77 [App/0]  OUT [CONTAINER]   org.apache.catalina.startup.Catalina     INFO  Server startup in 10427 ms

Run cf logs APPNAME --recent to dump the most recent logs to standard output:

$ cf logs my-app --recent
Connected, dumping recent logs for app my-app in org My-Org / space development as admin...
1:27:15.93 [App/0]  OUT 15,935  INFO EmbeddedDatabaseFactory:124 - Creating embedded database 'SkyNet'
1:27:16.31 [App/0]  OUT 16,318  INFO LocalEntityManagerFactory:287 - Building TM container EntityManagerFactory for unit 'default'
1:27:16.50 [App/0]  OUT 16,505  INFO Version:37 - HCANN001: Hibernate Commons Annotations {4.0.1.Final}
1:27:16.51 [App/0]  OUT 16,517  INFO Version:41 - HHH412: Hibernate Core {4.1.9.Final}
1:27:16.95 [App/0]  OUT 16,957  INFO SkyNet-Online:73 - HHH268: Transaction strategy: org.hibernate.internal.TransactionFactory
1:27:16.96 [App/0]  OUT 16,963  INFO InintiateTerminatorT1000Deployment:48 - HHH000397: Using TranslatorFactory
1:27:17.02 [App/0]  OUT 17,026  INFO Version:27 - HV001: Hibernate Validator 4.3.0.Final

If you encounter the error, “A fatal error has occurred. Please see the Bundler troubleshooting documentation,” update your version of bundler and run bundle install.

$ gem update bundler
$ gem update --system
$ bundle install
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