Infrastructure at your Service

Apache ActiveMQ

ActiveMQ is an open source Java Messaging Server (JMS) from the Apache Software Foundation that supports a lot of protocols. In Alfresco 5, ActiveMQ has been introduced as a new, optional, component in the stack. It was, at the beginning, only used for “side” features like Alfresco Analytics or Alfresco Media Management in the early Alfresco 5.0. In Alfresco 6.0, ActiveMQ was still used for Alfresco Media Management but also for the Alfresco Sync Service. It’s only starting with the Alfresco 6.1, released last February, that ActiveMQ became a required component, used for the same things but also now used for transformations.

The Alfresco documentation doesn’t really describe how to install ActiveMQ or how to configure it, it just explains how to connect Alfresco to it. Therefore, I thought I would write a small blog about how to do a basic installation of ActiveMQ for a usage in Alfresco.

Alfresco 6.1 supports ActiveMQ v5.15.6 so that’s the one I will be using for this blog as example.

First let’s start with defining some environment variables that will be used to know where to put ActiveMQ binaries and data:

[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ echo "export ACTIVEMQ_HOME=/opt/activemq" >> ~/.profile
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ echo "export ACTIVEMQ_DATA=\$ACTIVEMQ_HOME/data" >> ~/.profile
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ grep "ACTIVEMQ" ~/.profile
export ACTIVEMQ_HOME=/opt/activemq
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ source ~/.profile
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ echo $ACTIVEMQ_DATA
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$


I’m usually using symlinks for all the components so that I can keep a generic path in case of upgrades, aso… So, let’s download the software and put all that where it should:

[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ activemq_version="5.15.6"
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ wget${activemq_version}/apache-activemq-${activemq_version}-bin.tar.gz
--2019-07-25 16:55:23--
Connecting to||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 58556801 (56M) [application/x-gzip]
Saving to: ‘apache-activemq-5.15.6-bin.tar.gz’

apache-activemq-5.15.6-bin.tar.gz     100%[=======================================================================>]  55.84M  1.62MB/s    in 35s

2019-07-25 16:55:58 (1.60 MB/s) - ‘apache-activemq-5.15.6-bin.tar.gz’ saved [58556801/58556801]

[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ tar -xzf apache-activemq-${activemq_version}-bin.tar.gz
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ mkdir -p $ACTIVEMQ_HOME-${activemq_version}
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ ln -s $ACTIVEMQ_HOME-${activemq_version} $ACTIVEMQ_HOME
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ ls -l $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/.. | grep -i activemq
lrwxr-xr-x   1 alfresco  alfresco        31 Jul 25 17:04 activemq -> /opt/activemq-5.15.6
drwxr-xr-x   2 alfresco  alfresco        64 Jul 25 17:03 activemq-5.15.6
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ rm -rf ./apache-activemq-${activemq_version}/data
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ mkdir -p $ACTIVEMQ_DATA
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ mv apache-activemq-${activemq_version}/* $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/


Once that is done and before starting ActiveMQ for the first time, there are still some configurations to be done. It is technically possible to add a specific authentication for communications between Alfresco and ActiveMQ or setup the communications in SSL for example. It depends on the usage you will have for the ActiveMQ but as a minimal configuration for use with Alfresco, I believe that the default users (“guest” to access docbroker & “user” to access web console) should at least be removed and the admin password changed:

[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ activemq_admin_pwd="Act1v3MQ_pwd"
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ activemq_broker_name="`hostname -s`"
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ # Remove user "user" from the web console
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i "/^user:[[:space:]]*.*/d" $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ # Remove user "guest" from the broker
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i "/^guest.*/d" $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ # Change admin password
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i "s/^admin=.*/admin=${activemq_admin_pwd}\n/" $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i "s/^admin.*/admin: ${activemq_admin_pwd}, admin/" $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i "s/^activemq.username=.*/activemq.username=admin/" $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i "s/^activemq.password=.*/activemq.password=${activemq_admin_pwd}/" $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ grep -E "brokerName|storeUsage |tempUsage " $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/activemq.xml
    <broker xmlns="" brokerName="localhost" dataDirectory="${}">
                <storeUsage limit="100 gb"/>
                <tempUsage limit="50 gb"/>
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ # Set broker name & allowed usage
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i "s/brokerName=\"[^"]*\"/brokerName=\"${activemq_broker_name}\"/" $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/activemq.xml
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i 's,storeUsage limit="[^"]*",storeUsage limit="10 gb",' $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/activemq.xml
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i 's,tempUsage limit="[^"]*",tempUsage limit="5 gb",' $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/activemq.xml
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ grep -E "brokerName|storeUsage |tempUsage " $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/activemq.xml
    <broker xmlns="" brokerName="mq_n1" dataDirectory="${}">
                    <storeUsage limit="10 gb"/>
                    <tempUsage limit="5 gb"/>
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ chmod -R o-rwx $ACTIVEMQ_HOME
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ chmod -R o-rwx $ACTIVEMQ_DATA


So above, I set a specific name for the broker, that’s mainly if you expect to see at some points several brokers, to differentiate them. I also change the default storeUsage and tempUsage, that’s mainly to show how it’s done because these two parameters define the limit that ActiveMQ will be able to use on the file system. I believe the default is way too much for ActiveMQ’s usage in Alfresco, so I always reduce these or use a percentage as value (percentLimit).

With the default configuration, ActiveMQ uses “${}” for the data directory which is actually using the “$ACTIVEMQ_DATA” environment variable, if present (otherwise it sets it as $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/data). That’s the reason why I set this environment variable, so it is possible to define a different data folder without having to change the default configuration. This data folder will mainly contain the logs of ActiveMQ, the PID file and the KahaDB for the persistence adapter.

Finally creating a service for ActiveMQ and starting it is pretty easy as well:

[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ cat > activemq.service << EOF
Description=ActiveMQ service

ExecStart=###ACTIVEMQ_HOME###/bin/activemq start
ExecStop=###ACTIVEMQ_HOME###/bin/activemq stop

[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i "s,###ACTIVEMQ_HOME###,${ACTIVEMQ_HOME}," activemq.service
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i "s,###ACTIVEMQ_DATA###,${ACTIVEMQ_DATA}," activemq.service
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sudo cp activemq.service /etc/systemd/system/
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ rm activemq.service
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sudo systemctl enable activemq.service
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sudo systemctl daemon-reload
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sudo systemctl start activemq.service


Once ActiveMQ is setup as you want, for the registration in Alfresco, it’s very easy:

[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ cat $CATALINA_HOME/shared/classes/
### ActiveMQ
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$


As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, ActiveMQ supports a lot of protocols so you can use pretty much what you want: TCP, NIO, SSL, NIO SSL, Peer (2 Peer), UDP, Multicast, HTTP, HTTPS, aso… You can find all the details for that here.

To add authentication between Alfresco and ActiveMQ, you will need to enable the properties in the (the two that I commented above) and define the appropriate authentication in the ActiveMQ broker configuration. There is an example in the Alfresco documentation.


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Morgan Patou
Morgan Patou

Senior Consultant & Technology Leader ECM