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Session Clustering with a Database

Configuring the JDBCSessionIdManager
Configuring the JDBCSessionManager

Jetty can support session clustering by persisting sessions to a shared database. Each Jetty instance locally caches sessions for which it has received requests, writing any changes to the session through to the database as the request exits the server. Sessions must obey the Serialization contract, and servlets must call the Session.setAttribute() method to ensure that changes are persisted.

The persistent session mechanism works in conjunction with a load balancer that supports stickiness. Stickiness can be based on various data items, such as source IP address or characteristics of the session ID or a load-balancer specific mechanism. For those load balancers that examine the session ID, the Jetty persistent session mechanism appends a node ID to the session ID, which can be used for routing.

In this type of solution, the database can become both a bottleneck and a single point of failure. Jetty takes steps to reduce the load on the database (discussed below), but in a heavily loaded environment you might need to investigate other optimization strategies such as local caching and database replication. You should also consult your database vendor's documentation for information on how to ensure high availability and failover of your database.


There are two components to session management in Jetty: a session ID manager and a session manager.

  • The session ID manager ensures that session IDs are unique across all webapps hosted on a Jetty instance, and thus there can only be one session ID manager per Jetty instance.

  • The session manager handles the session lifecycle (create/update/invalidate/expire) on behalf of a web application, so there is one session manager per web application instance.

These managers also cooperate and collaborate with the org.eclipse.jetty.server.session.SessionHandler to enable cross-context dispatch.

Configuring the JDBCSessionIdManager

You need to configure an org.eclipse.jetty.server.session.JDBCSessionIdManager instance, either in embedded code or in a jetty.xml file. Here is an example of a jetty.xml setup:

Notice that the JDBCSessionIdManager needs access to a database. The jetty.xml above configures it with the name of a javax.sql.DataSource that is defined elsewhere. Consult Jetty Naming Resources for more information on how to configure database access with Jetty. If you don't want to use a DataSource, you can configure JDBC Driver information instead. Here's an example:

As Jetty configuration files are direct mappings of XML to Java, it is straightforward to see how to do this in code, but here's an example anyway:

You must configure the JDBCSessionIdManager with a workerName that is unique across the cluster. Typically the name relates to the physical node on which the instance is executing. If this name is not unique, your load balancer might fail to distribute your sessions correctly.

You can also configure how often the persistent session mechanism sweeps the database looking for old, expired sessions with the scavengeInterval setting. The default value is 10mins. We recommend that you not increase the frequency because doing so increases the load on the database with very little gain; old, expired sessions can harmlessly sit in the database.

Configuring the Database Schema

You may find it necessary to change the names of the tables and columns that the JDBC Session management uses to store the session information. The defaults used are:

Table 10.2. Default Values for Session Id Table
table name JettySessionIds
columns id
Table 10.3. Default Values for Session Table
table name JettySessions
columns rowId, sessionId, contextPath, virtualHost, lastNode, accessTime, lastAccessTime, createTime, cookieTime, lastSavedTime, expiryTime, maxInterval, map

To change these values, use the org.eclipse.jetty.server.session.SessionIdTableSchema and org.eclipse.jetty.server.session.SessionTableSchema classes. These classes have getter/setter methods for the table name and all columns.

Here's an example of changing the name of JettySessionsId table and its single column. This example will use java code, but as explained above, you may also do this via a jetty xml configuration file:

In a similar fashion, you can change the names of the table and columns for the JettySessions table. Note that both the SessionIdTableSchema and the SessionTableSchema instances are set on the JDBCSessionIdManager class.

Configuring the JDBCSessionManager

The way you configure a JDBCSessionManager depends on whether you're configuring from a context xml file or a jetty-web.xml file or code. The basic difference is how you get a reference to the Jetty org.eclipse.jetty.server.Server instance.

From a context xml file, you reference the Server instance as a Ref:

From a WEB-INF/jetty-web.xml file, you can reference the Server instance directly:

If you're embedding this in code:

See an error or something missing? Contribute to this documentation at Github!(Generated: 2015-04-19T01:01:07+00:00)