Building custom CQ5 installation images

Very often one needs to setup a number of CQ5 installations with the same featuresets; e.g if you start with a bunch of new publishing instances or you need to update your development environments with a new set of hotfixes.

One way is to provide a detailled list of instructions plus the required files to the people responsible for it. It’s important to be consistent over all affected installations and environments, so you can remedy problems and issues because of missing fixes or wrong installation. But then a lot of manual work is included, which isn’t the thing IT people want to do.

I needed to provide several CQ5 installations in the last time. Because my standard installation recommendation consists of CQ 5.3 plus CRX 2.1 plus performancepack 30015 (using CQSE and the TarPM) at the moment, just deploying a CQ 5.3 the usual way isn’t sufficient. But on the other hand I don’t want to have the work of a manual installation of CRX 2.1 and the performancepack on top of a default CQ 5.3, both including restarts.

So I decided to build an image, which contains all these components, without the need for an restart, without fiddling around with the package manager, just by using some hidden features of CQ5.3 and CRX: the package installer and the flawless upgrade procedure of CRX 2.x (x={0,1}, will probably work also for later versions of CRX). You can find the documentation of the upgrade process also on the official documentation site.

1.) Unpack a plain CQ 5.3:

$ cd cq530
$ java -jar cq-wcm-quickstart-author-5.3.0.jar -unpack

2.) Get CRX 2.1 and unpack it:

$ cd crx21
$ java -jar crx- -unpack

3.) Copy the CRX webapplication file of CRX 2.1 into the unpacked CQ 5.3 installation:

$ cp crx21/crx-quickstart/server/webapps/crx-explorer_crx.war cq530/crx-quickstart/server/webapps

4.) Remove the CRXDE webapplication of CQ 5.3, as it is no longer needed for CRX 2.1

$ cd cq530/crx-quickstart/server/webapps
$ rm crx-de_crxde.war

5.) Edit also the server.xml, and remove the crxde webapp

6.) Define an order, in which the packages are deployed to CRX; as the packages are deployed in the order, they are listed by default in a shell, I define an order by explictly naming the files like “01_cq-content-5.3.jar”, “” and so. The files must be placed in the cq530/crx-quickstart/repository/install folder.

Make sure that the original “cq_content-5.3.jar” is deployed as first package, as it contains the WCM code. But then you can place there any CQ package you want: hotfixes, custom application code, initial content etc.

$ cd cq530/crx-quickstart/repository/install
$ cp cq-content-5.3.jar 01_cq-content-5.3.jar
$ cp
$ cp .........../

7.) If you want to use the CRXDE, you should download the file from Day PackageShare and copy it also into the install directory:

$ cp ......../ 05_cq530/crx/repository/install

8.) For convenience you can place now your file next in the toplevel directory of your installation, the result should be something like this:

$ ls -la
-rw-r--r--   1 jorghoh  staff  233110810  6 Aug 09:38 cq-wcm-quickstart-author-5.3.0.jar
drwxr-xr-x  10 jorghoh  staff        340  7 Okt 17:55 crx-quickstart
-rw-r--r--   1 jorghoh  staff        217  6 Aug 09:39

If you don’t want to deliver the license file with that image, you can omitt it; if the instance is started the first time, it is asked then.

9.) Now all parts are in place; so you can create an image file (tar file) and distribute it all over your environments:

$ cd cq530/..
$ tar -cf cq530-crx21-author-image.tar cq530/*

(if you rename the cq-wcm-quickstart-author-5.3.0.jar file to cq-wcm-quickstart-publish-5.3.0.jar, you have an image for a publish instance.)

Just unpack it and use your usual startup mechanisms (“start.bat” or “start”), and the framework will startup as usually, create a repository and also deploy all packages in the install folder directly to it. If you encounter problems, you may check with the Felix console, if all bundles are started.

Now you have an image, which you can copy and uncompress everywhere, even the plattform (Unix, Windows) doesn’t matter, as all is only dependent on the features of CRX Launchpad and CRX itself. A setup of a new emtpy instance, independent of the number of installed packages and hotfixes, can now be done within 2 minutes and can be fully automated.

One thought on “Building custom CQ5 installation images

  1. Great write-up! I created a backup of a freshly installed server, including crx21 and featurepack, but this approach sounds even better!

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