AWS Developer Blog

Amazon DynamoDB Session Manager for Apache Tomcat

Today we’re excited to talk about a brand new open source project on our GitHub page for managing Apache Tomcat sessions in Amazon DynamoDB!

DynamoDB’s fast and predictable performance characteristics make it a great match for handling session data. Plus, since it’s a fully-managed NoSQL database service, you avoid all the work of maintaining and operating a separate session store.

Using the DynamoDB Session Manager for Tomcat is easy. Just drop the library in the lib directory of your Tomcat installation and tell Tomcat you’re using a custom session manager in your context.xml configuration file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Context>
    <WatchedResource>WEB-INF/web.xml</WatchedResource>
    <Manager className="com.amazonaws.services.dynamodb.sessionmanager.DynamoDBSessionManager"
             awsAccessKey="myAccessKey"
             awsSecretKey="mySecretKey"
             createIfNotExist="true" />
</Context>

The context.xml file above configures the session manager to store your sessions in DynamoDB, and uses the provided AWS security credentials to access DynamoDB. There are several other configuration options available, including many ways to provide your security credentials:

  • you can explicitly specify them (as shown above)
  • you can specify a properties file to load them from
  • you can rely on the DefaultAWSCredentialsProviderChain to load your credentials from environment variables, Java system properties, or IAM roles for Amazon EC2 instances

If you’re using the AWS Toolkit for Eclipse and deploying your application through AWS Elastic Beanstalk, then all you have to do is opt-in to using the DynamoDB Session Manager for Tomcat in the New AWS Java Web Project Wizard. Then when you deploy to AWS Elastic Beanstalk, all your sessions will be managed in DynamoDB.

For more details on using the session manager, check out the Session Manager section in the AWS SDK for Java Developer Guide. Or, if you really want to get into the details, check out the project on GitHub.

We’re excited to have the first version of the Amazon DynamoDB Session Manager for Apache Tomcat out there for customers to play with. What features do you want to see next? Let us know in the comments below!