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Blog : Enabling SSL Communication and Client Certificate Authentication between Apache Web Server and Apache Tomcat

posted by jfullam on July 9, 2012 07:56 PM

Secure Socket Layer, or SSL, certificates are frequently used to confirm the identity of a server before consuming its services and to secure communications with the server. Typically, when an Apache web server is used to load balance requests to one or more Apache Tomcat servers (including VMware’s commercial version, tc Server), the SSL encryption and certificate authentication is terminated at the web server. Communication between the Apache web server and Tomcat is then trusted and in clear text.

However, there are organizational security policies and B2B scenarios that could mandate secure communication between Apache web server and Tomcat. Furthermore, it could be important to restrict access to Tomcat to known instances of Apache web server.

This tutorial will provide details for a configuration option that enables SSL communication and client certificate authentication between Apache Web Server and Tomcat.

At a high level, this tutorial provides instructions to

    1. Encrypt communication with Tomcat
    2. Restrict communication with Tomcat to known clients
    3. Configure Apache web server to proxy requests to Tomcat using SSL
    4. Configure Apache web server to use a specific client certifica te to authenticate with Tomcat

 

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Developers, Operations | authentication, client certificate, communication

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