Java applications can be deployed to Helion Stackato using the built-in Java Buildpack, the Legacy Buildpack (which emulates CF v1 framework behavior), or the buildpack of your choice.

Java Buildpack

By default, Helion Stackato deploys Java applications using the Cloud Foundry Java buildpack, which supports many types of JVM-based applications.

Consult the online Java Buildpack documentation for complete and up-to-date instructions on deploying different JVM application types.

You can deploy applications using a different Java buildpack by setting a Git URL in the buildpack: setting in manifest.yml or as an argument to the --buildpack option for stackato push. For example, to use the feature-1 branch of a specific fork of the Java buildpack:

- name: hello-java
  memory: 512M
  path: target/zjava-mysql-1.0


The bundled Java buildpack no longer supports applications using versions of Spring older than v3.1. For older Spring applications, use an older release of the buildpack (e.g. buildpack:

See also: Custom Buildpacks


The Spring Music sample demonstrates a simple Spring application which can be bound to a MySQL or PostgreSQL data service.

Java Support in the Legacy Buildpack

Helion Stackato also has a Legacy Buildpack (CF v1 compatibility) which supports several Java frameworks:

To use the Legacy buildpack, set a framework: type in manifest.yml (or in the stackato: section of manifest.yml). For example:

  type: java_ee

The available framework types for JVM applications are:

  • java_ee
  • java_web
  • grails
  • play
  • spring

Java Web Applications

The Java Web framework is the default Java framework in Helion Stackato, and requires little or no modification of application code in most cases. Helion Stackato simply deploys the war file.

Hello Java Sample demonstrates a simple Servlet-based Java webapp using the Java Web framework.

Service Configuration

If you have created data services, you can get the service configuration by using the environment variables below:


If your application uses only one data service, use the DATABASE_URL variable. If it uses more than one, use STACKATO_SERVICES or VCAP_SERVICES.

Using JDBC

It is possible to access the database services using the standard JDBC API:

String stackato_services = System.getenv("STACKATO_SERVICES");

String hostname = NULL_STRING;
String dbname = NULL_STRING;
String user = NULL_STRING;
String password = NULL_STRING;
String port = NULL_STRING;

if (stackato_services != null && stackato_services.length() > 0) {
    JsonRootNode root = new JdomParser().parse(stackato_services);

    JsonNode credentials = root.getNode("mysql");

    dbname = credentials.getStringValue("name");
    hostname = credentials.getStringValue("hostname");
    user = credentials.getStringValue("user");
    password = credentials.getStringValue("password");
    port = credentials.getNumberValue("port");

    String dbUrl = "jdbc:mysql://" + hostname + ":" + port + "/" + dbname;

    Connection connection = DriverManager.getConnection(dbUrl, user, password);
    return connection;

  catch (Exception e)
    throw new SQLException(e);

JPDA Debugging

You can debug java_web applications running on Helion Stackato via JPDA by using the -d option with the stackato push command:

$ stackato push -d my-java-app

Helion Stackato creates a port service for debugging and shows the external port number in the command output:

Debugging now enabled on port 30135

Alternatively, request a Harbor port service in manifest.yml in the format *app-name*-debug. For example:

  ${name}-debug: harbor

The java_web framework will recognize the service and activate debugging through the port provided. Connect to this port with the JPDA debugger of your choice.

To show the port number and external hostname for this service, use the stackato service command. For the my-java-app example above, the command would be:

$ stackato service my-java-app-debug

Use the hostname (or host for an IP address) and port values in the credentials section of the output to configure your local debugging client.

The STACKATO_DEBUG_COMMAND environment variable can be used to automatically start a debugger or IDE instance with the appropriate host and port values.


Although the stackato -d option is similar to vmc -d, the internal implementation is different. vmc -d cannot be used to activate debugging in Helion Stackato.


Applications that use the Spring framework are detected and automaticaly configured if there is either a spring-core jar file or an org/springframework folder.

Service Configuration

If there is only one service of a given type (for example, one MySQL data service), the application is automatically reconfigured to use that service.

Define a datasource bean like the following:

<bean class="org.apache.commons.dbcp.BasicDataSource" id="dataSource">
    <property name="driverClassName" value="com.mysql.jdbc.Driver"/>
    <property name="url" value="jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/inventory-db"/>
    <property name="username" value="myuser"/>
    <property name="password" value="mypass"/>

The property values are replaced during staging with the values for the provisioned service.

If you have created more than one service of a given type, you will need to use VCAP_SERVICES environment variable to obtain the details for each one (host, port, username, password).

<CLOUD> Namespace Version

If you are using a <CLOUD> namespace in your application, make sure the cloudfoundry-runtime version is 0.8.2.


The Hello-Spring-MySQL sample demonstrates a simple Spring application with one MySQL service.

JavaEE 6

The Stackato java_ee framework has two application servers available:

  • TomEE - used for WAR files
  • JBoss - used for EAR files

The Java EE framework is detected if there is a persistence.xml file located in src/main/resources/META-INF/persistence.xml*

Service Configuration

For JavaEE applications, you must create a persistence-unit in your persistence.xml file with the name of your database service.

For example in manifest.yml:

    type: mysql
    type: mysql

To use service-1 in your persistence.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<persistence version="2.0"
    <persistence-unit name="persistence-service-1" transaction-type="JTA">

And in your JavaEE code:

@PersistenceContext(unitName = "persistence-service-1")
private EntityManager em;


The pet-catalog sample demonstrates a JavaEE 6 application with a MySQL service running with Apache TomEE.

HOME Directories

Java applications will have different HOME directories on Helion Stackato depending on which Java framework is used:

  • Java Web, Java EE (war file), Spring, Lift and Grails: /home/stackato/tomcat/webapps/ROOT
  • Java EE (ear file): /home/stackato/jboss/standalone/deployments
  • Buildpack - Java, Play: /home/stackato/app


The CATALINA_OPTS environment variable can be set in the env: block of manifest.yml (or set in the Management Console) to override Helion Stackato defaults.


CATALINA_OPTS settings cannot be modified without restaging. Applications must be re-pushed with new settings to apply changes.

Helion Stackato sets the CATALINA_OPTS environment variable for applications using Tomcat automatically, based on the memory: value specified for application instances. Helion Stackato will always leave at least 64MB for the heap, but will otherwise reserves up to 96MB for overhead, that is for the code of the JVM itself, for additional libraries loaded via JNI, for additional processes to run in the background, and for the JVM permanent pool.

This means, for example, a 128MB application will end up with 64MB for the heap and 64MB for overhead, a 160MB application will still have 64MB for the heap but 96MB for overhead, and a 512MB application will get a 416MB heap and allow 96MB for overhead.

Slow-Starting Apps

Stackato's DEA health check limits the amount of time an application has to complete staging and start receiving web requests. This is set to five minutes by default, but some Java applications may require more time before they can start accepting HTTP requests.

If your application will not successfully start within 300 seconds, increase the timeout threshold by setting a new timeout value in manifest.yml or by using the --health-timeout option for stackato push. For example:

$ stackato push --health-timeout 500s