Apereo CAS - Distributed Configuration Management w/ Spring Cloud Bus

Posted by Misagh Moayyed on August 20, 2023 · 6 mins read ·
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CAS uses the Spring Cloud Bus to manage configuration in a distributed deployment. Spring Cloud Bus links nodes of a distributed system with a lightweight message broker. This can then be used to broadcast state changes (e.g. configuration changes) or other management instructions. In this post, we will briefly look at the configuration steps required to apply changes in one CAS server environment and have those changes be broadcasted and distributed to other CAS nodes in the same cluster.

Our starting position is based on the following:

  • CAS 7.0.x
  • Java 21

Initial Setup

Spring Cloud Bus supports sending messages to all CAS nodes listening. Broadcasted events will attempt to update, refresh and reload each CAS server application’s configuration. The key idea here is that the bus is like a distributed, scaled-out refresh actuator for CAS. The underlying communication and transport channel for the Bus is backed by an AMQP broker or Apache Kafka.

The initial setup requires the following module to be present in a CAS build:

implementation "org.apereo.cas:cas-server-support-configuration-cloud-amqp"

Then, we will need to configure CAS to have access to the AMQP broker, such as RabbitMQ:


…and finally, we shall enable Spring Cloud Bus:


Actuator Endpoints

The bus currently supports sending messages to all CAS nodes listening. The /bus/* actuator namespace has some HTTP endpoints. Currently, two are implemented. The first, /bus/env, sends key/value pairs to update each CAS node’s application Environment. The second, /bus/refresh, reloads each CAS server’s configuration, as though they had all been pinged on their /refresh endpoint.


Once the busrefresh actuator endpoint is also enabled, CAS will be able to get the latest configuration from its configuration sources and update all refreshable components, sending a message to AMQP exchange informing about configuration change and refresh event. Then, all subscribed CAS nodes will update their configuration as well. The busrefresh actuator endpoint effectively broadcasts a RefreshRemoteApplicationEvent type of event. This allows each CAS node to update its configuration without restarting and without explicit refresh requests almost simultaneously. The arrival of refresh events can usually be verified via CAS server logs as well:

o.s.cloud.bus.event.RefreshListener: Received remote refresh request. Keys refreshed [...]

Note that each CAS server node will automatically be assigned a service ID, whose value can be set with spring.cloud.bus.id and whose value is expected to be a colon-separated list of identifiers, in order from least specific to most specific. The default value is constructed from the environment as a combination of the spring.application.name and server.port (or spring.application.index, if set).

The HTTP endpoints accept a destination path parameter, such as /bus-refresh/cas:1234 where the destination is a service ID. If the ID is owned by the CAS instance on the bus, it processes the message, and all other CAS instances ignore it. Alternatively, /bus-env/cas:** targets all CAS instances of the cas service regardless of the rest of the service ID. You might need to make sure service IDs are always unique. If multiple instances of a CAS deployment have the same ID, events are not processed.

Note that Bus events can be traced by setting spring.cloud.bus.trace.enabled=true. If you do so, such events are captured internally and then can be reproduced via the /trace actuator endpoint.

Need Help?

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I hope this review was of some help to you and I am sure that both this post as well as the functionality it attempts to explain can be improved in any number of ways. Please feel free to engage and contribute as best as you can.

Happy Coding,

Misagh Moayyed