Quick guide to Oracle IRM 11g: Configuring SSL

Posted by Simon Thorpe on Oracle Blogs See other posts from Oracle Blogs or by Simon Thorpe
Published on Mon, 14 Jun 2010 17:30:00 -0800 Indexed on 2010/06/15 0:43 UTC
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Quick guide to Oracle IRM 11g index

So far in this guide we have an IRM Server up and running, however I skipped over SSL configuration in the previous article because I wanted to focus in more detail now. You can, if you wish, not bother with setting up SSL, but considering this is a security technology it is worthwhile doing.


  1. Setting up a one way, self signed SSL certificate in WebLogic
  2. Setting up an official SSL certificate in Apache 2.x
  3. Configuring Apache to proxy traffic to the IRM server

There are two common scenarios in which an Oracle IRM server is configured. For a development or evaluation system, people usually communicate directly to the WebLogic Server running the IRM service. However in a production environment and for some proof of concept evaluations that require a setup reflecting a production system, the traffic to the IRM server travels via a web server proxy, commonly Apache. In this guide we are building an Oracle Enterprise Linux based IRM service and this article will go over the configuration of SSL in WebLogic and also in Apache.

Like in the past articles, we are going to use two host names in the configuration below,

  • irm.company.com will refer to the public Apache server
  • irm.company.internal will refer to the internal WebLogic IRM server

Setting up a one way, self signed SSL certificate in WebLogic

First lets look at creating just a simple self signed SSL certificate to be used in WebLogic. This is a quick and easy way to get SSL working in your environment, however the downside is that no browsers are going to trust this certificate you create and you'll need to manually install the certificate onto any machine's communicating with the server. This is fine for development or when you have only a few users evaluating the system, but for any significant use it's usually better to have a fully trusted certificate in use and I explain that in the next section. But for now lets go through creating, installing and testing a self signed certificate. IRMDeployInternal.png

We use a library in Java to create the certificates, open a console and running the following commands. Note you should choose your own secure passwords whenever you see password below.

[[email protected] /] source /oracle/middleware/wlserver_10.3/server/bin/setWLSEnv.sh
[[email protected] /] cd /oracle/middleware/user_projects/domains/irm_domain/config/fmwconfig/
[[email protected] /] java utils.CertGen -selfsigned -certfile MyOwnSelfCA.cer -keyfile MyOwnSelfKey.key -keyfilepass password -cn "irm.oracle.demo"
[[email protected] /] java utils.ImportPrivateKey -keystore MyOwnIdentityStore.jks -storepass password -keypass password -alias trustself -certfile MyOwnSelfCA.cer.pem -keyfile MyOwnSelfKey.key.pem -keyfilepass password
[[email protected] /] keytool -import -trustcacerts -alias trustself -keystore TrustMyOwnSelf.jks -file MyOwnSelfCA.cer.der -keyalg RSA

We now have two Java Key Stores, MyOwnIdentityStore.jks and TrustMyOwnSelf.jks. These contain keys and certificates which we will use in WebLogic Server. Now we need to tell the IRM server to use these stores when setting up SSL connections for incoming requests. Make sure the Admin server is running and login into the WebLogic Console at http://irm.company.intranet:7001/console and do the following;
  • In the menu on the left, select the + next to Environment to expose the submenu, then click on Servers.
  • You will see two servers in the list, AdminServer(admin) and IRM_server1. If the IRM server is running, shut it down either by hitting CONTROL + C in the console window it was started from, or you can switch to the CONTROL tab, select IRM_server1 and then select the Shutdown menu and then Force Shutdown Now.
  • In the Configuration tab select IRM_server1 and switch to the Keystores tab. By default WebLogic Server uses it's own demo identity and trust. We are now going to switch to the self signed one's we've just created. So select the Change button and switch to Custom Identity and Custom Trust and hit save.
  • Now we have to complete the resulting fields, the setting's i've used in my evaluation server are below.

    • Custom Identity Keystore: /oracle/middleware/user_projects/domains/irm_domain/config/fmwconfig/MyOwnIdentityStore.jks
    • Custom Identity Keystore Type: JKS
    • Custom Identity Keystore Passphrase: password
    • Confirm Custom Identity Keystore Passphrase: password
    • Custom Trust Keystore: /oracle/middleware/user_projects/domains/irm_domain/config/fmwconfig/TrustMyOwnSelf.jks
    • Custom Trust Keystore Type: JKS
    • Custom Trust Keystore Passphrase: password
    • Confirm Custom Trust Keystore Passphrase: password
  • Now click on the SSL tab for the IRM_server1 and enter in the alias and passphrase, in my demo here the details are;
    • Private Key Alias: trustself
    • Private Key Passphrase: password
    • Confirm Private Key Passphrase: password
    And hit save.

Now lets test a connection to the IRM server over HTTPS using SSL. Go back to a console window and start the IRM server, a quick reminder on how to do this is...

[[email protected] /] cd /oracle/middleware/user_projects/domains/irm_domain/bin
[[email protected] /] ./startManagedWeblogic IRM_server1

Once running, open a browser and head to the SSL port of the server. By default the IRM server will be listening on the URL https://irm.company.intranet:16101/irm_rights. Note in the example image on the right the port is 7002 because it's a system that has the IRM services installed on the Admin server, this isn't typical (or advisable). Your system is going to have a separate managed server which will be listening on port 16101. Once you open this address you will notice that your browser is going to complain that the server certificate is untrusted. The images on the right show how Firefox displays this error. You are going to be prompted every time you create a new SSL session with the server, both from the browser and more annoyingly from the IRM Desktop. IRM_SSLCertException01.png

If you plan on always using a self signed certificate, it is worth adding it to the Windows certificate store so that when you are accessing sealed content you do not keep being informed this certificate is not trusted. Follow these instructions (which are for Internet Explorer 8, they may vary for your version of IE.)
  • Start Internet Explorer and open the URL to your IRM server over SSL, e.g. https://irm.company.intranet:16101/irm_rights. IE will complain that about the certificate, click on Continue to this website (not recommended).
  • From the IE Tools menu select Internet Options and from the resulting dialog select Security and then click on Trusted Sites and then the Sites button.
  • Add to the list of trusted sites a URL which mates the server you are accessing, e.g. https://irm.company.intranet/ and select OK. Now refresh the page you were accessing and next to the URL you should see a red cross and the words Certificate Error. Click on this button and select View Certificates.
  • You will now see a dialog with the details of the self signed certificate and the Install Certificate... button should be enabled. Click on this to start the wizard. Click next and you'll be asked where you should install the certificate.
  • Change the option to Place all certificates in the following store. Select browse and choose the Trusted Root Certification Authorities location and hit OK. You'll then be prompted to install the certificate and answer yes. You also need to import the root signed certificate into the same location, so once again select the red Certificate Error option and this time when viewing the certificate, switch to the Certification Path tab and you should see a CertGenCAB certificate. Select this and then click on View Certificate and go through the same process as above to import the certificate into the store.
  • Finally close all instances of the IE browser and re-access the IRM server URL again, this time you should not receive any errors.

Setting up an official SSL certificate in Apache 2.x

At this point we now have an IRM server that you can communicate with over SSL. However this certificate isn't trusted by any browser because it's path of trust doesn't end in a recognized certificate authority (CA). Also you are communicating directly to the WebLogic Server over a non standard SSL port, 16101. In a production environment it is common to have another device handle the initial public internet traffic and then proxy this to the WebLogic server. The diagram below shows a very simplified view of this type of deployment. What i'm going to walk through next is configuring Apache to proxy traffic to a WebLogic server and also to use a real SSL certificate from an official CA. IRMDeployProduction.png

First step is to configure Apache to handle incoming requests over SSL. In this guide I am configuring the IRM service in Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 update 3 and Apache 2.2.3 which came with OpenSSL and mod_ssl components. Before I purchase an SSL certificate, I need to generate a certificate request from the server. Oracle.com uses Verisign and for my own personal needs I use cheaper certificates from GoDaddy. The following instructions are specific to Apache, but there are many references out there for other web servers. For Apache I have OpenSSL and the commands are;

[[email protected] /] cd /usr/bin
[[email protected] bin] openssl genrsa -des3 -out irm-apache-server.key 2048
Generating RSA private key, 2048 bit long modulus
e is 65537 (0x10001)
Enter pass phrase for irm-apache-server.key:
Verifying - Enter pass phrase for irm-apache-server.key:

[[email protected] bin] openssl req -new -key irm-apache-server.key -out irm-apache-server.csr
Enter pass phrase for irm-apache-server.key:
You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
Country Name (2 letter code) [GB]:US
State or Province Name (full name) [Berkshire]:CA
Locality Name (eg, city) [Newbury]:San Francisco
Organization Name (eg, company) [My Company Ltd]:Oracle
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:Security
Common Name (eg, your name or your server's hostname) []:irm.company.com
Email Address []:[email protected]

Please enter the following 'extra' attributes
to be sent with your certificate request
A challenge password []:testing
An optional company name []:

You must make sure to remember the pass phrase you used in the initial key generation, you will need this when later configuring Apache. In the /usr/bin directory there are now two new files. The irm-apache-server.csr contains our certificate request and is what you cut and paste, or upload, to your certificate authority when you purchase and validate your SSL certificate. In response you will typically get two files. Your server certificate and another certificate file that will likely contain a set of certificates from your CA which validate your certificate's trust. Next we need to configure Apache to use these files. Typically there is an ssl.conf file which is where all the SSL configuration is done. On my Oracle Enterprise Linux server this file is located in /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf and i've added the following lines.

<VirtualHost irm.company.com>
# Setup SSL for irm.company.com
ServerName irm.company.com
SSLEngine On
SSLCertificateFile /oracle/secure/irm.company.com.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /oracle/secure/irm.company.com.key
SSLCertificateChainFile /oracle/secure/gd_bundle.crt

Restarting Apache (apachectl restart) and I can now attempt to connect to the Apache server in a web browser, https://irm.company.com/. If all is configured correctly I should now see an Apache test page delivered to me over HTTPS.

Configuring Apache to proxy traffic to the IRM server

Final piece in setting up SSL is to have Apache proxy requests for the IRM server but do so securely. So the requests to Apache will be over HTTPS using a legitimate certificate, but we can also configure Apache to proxy these requests internally across to the IRM server using SSL with the self signed certificate we generated at the start of this article. To do this proxying we use the WebLogic Web Server plugin for Apache which you can download here from Oracle. Download the zip file and extract onto the server.

The file extraction reveals a set of zip files, each one specific to a supported web server. In my instance I am using Apache 2.2 32bit on an Oracle Enterprise Linux, 64 bit server. If you are not sure what version your Apache server is, run the command /usr/sbin/httpd -V and you'll see version and it its 32 or 64 bit. Mine is a 32bit server so I need to extract the file WLSPlugin1.1-Apache2.2-linux32-x86.zip. The from the resulting lib folder copy the file mod_wl.so into /usr/lib/httpd/modules/.

First we want to test that the plug in will work for regular HTTP traffic. Edit the httpd.conf for Apache and add the following section at the bottom.

LoadModule weblogic_module modules/mod_wl.so
<IfModule mod_weblogic.c>
   WebLogicHost irm.company.internal
   WebLogicPort 16100
   WLLogFile /tmp/wl-proxy.log
<Location /irm_rights>
   SetHandler weblogic-handler
<Location /irm_desktop>
   SetHandler weblogic-handler
<Location /irm_sealing>
   SetHandler weblogic-handler
<Location /irm_services>
   SetHandler weblogic-handler

Now restart Apache again (apachectl restart) and now open a browser to http://irm.company.com/irm_rights. Apache will proxy the HTTP traffic from the port 80 of your Apache server to the IRM service listening on port 16100 of the WebLogic Managed server. Note above I have included all four of the Locations you might wish to proxy. http://irm.company.internalirm_rights is the URL to the management website, /irm_desktop is the URL used for the IRM Desktop to communicate. irm_sealing is for web services based document sealing and irm_services is for IRM server web services. The last two are typically only used when you have the IRM server integrated with another application and it is unlikely you'd be accessing these resources from the public facing Apache server. However, just in case, i've mentioned them above.

Now let's enable SSL communication from Apache to WebLogic. In the ZIP file we extracted were some more modules we need to copy into the Apache folder. Looking back in the lib that we extracted, there are some more files. Copy the following into the /usr/lib/httpd/modules/ folder.


Now the documentation states that should only need to do this, but I found that I also needed to create an environment variable called LD_LIBRARY_PATH and point this to the folder /usr/lib/httpd/modules/. If I didn't do this, starting Apache with the WebLogic module configured to SSL would throw the error.

[crit] (20014)Internal error: WL SSL Init failed for server: (null) on 0

So I had to edit the file /etc/profile and add the following lines at the bottom. You may already have the LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable defined, therefore simply add this path to it.


Now the WebLogic plug in uses an Oracle Wallet to store the required certificates.You'll need to copy the self signed certificate from the IRM server over to the Apache server. Copy over the MyOwnSelfCA.cer.der into the same folder where you are storing your public certificates, in my example this is /oracle/secure. It's worth mentioning these files should ONLY be readable by root (the user Apache runs as).

Now lets create an Oracle Wallet and import the self signed certificate from the IRM server. The file orapki was included in the bin folder of the Apache 1.1 plugin zip you extracted.

orapki wallet create -wallet /oracle/secure/my-wallet -auto_login_only
orapki wallet add -wallet /oracle/secure/my-wallet -trusted_cert -cert MyOwnSelfCA.cer.der -auto_login_only

Finally change the httpd.conf to reflect that we want the WebLogic Apache plug-in to use HTTPS/SSL and not just plain HTTP.

<IfModule mod_weblogic.c>
   WebLogicHost irm.company.internal
   WebLogicPort 16101
   SecureProxy ON
   WLSSLWallet /oracle/secure/my-wallet
   WLLogFile /tmp/wl-proxy.log

Then restart Apache once more and you can go back to the browser to test the communication. Opening the URL https://irm.company.com/irm_rights will proxy your request to the WebLogic server at https://irm.company.internal:16101/irm_rights.

At this point you have a fully functional Oracle IRM service, the next step is to create a sealed document and test the entire system.

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