SOA Suite 12c in Docker containers. Only a couple of commands, no installers, no third party scripts Capture06

SOA Suite 12c in Docker containers. Only a couple of commands, no installers, no third party scripts

For developers, installing a full blown local SOA Suite environment has never been a favorite (except for a select few). It is time consuming and requires you to download and run various installers after each other. If you want to start clean (and you haven’t taken precautions), it could be you have to start all over again.

There is a new and easy way to get a SOA Suite environment up and running without downloading any installers in only a couple of commands without depending on scripts provided by any party other than Oracle. The resulting environment is an Oracle Enterprise Edition database, an Admin Server and a Managed Server. All of them running in separate Docker containers with ports exposed to the host. The 3 containers can run together within an 8Gb RAM VM.

The documentation Oracle provides in its Container Registry for the SOA Suite images, should be used as base, but since you will encounter some errors if you follow it, you can use this blog post to help you solve them quickly.

SOA Suite 12c in Docker containers. Only a couple of commands, no installers, no third party scripts Capture01

A short history

QuickStart and different installers

During the 11g times, a developer, if he wanted to run a local environment, he needed to install a database (usually XE), WebLogic Server, SOA Infrastructure, run the Repository Creation Utility (RCU) and one or more of SOA, BPM, OSB. In 12c, the SOA Suite QuickStart was introduced. The QuickStart uses an Apache Derby database instead of the Oracle database and lacks features like ESS, split Admin Server / Managed Server, NodeManager and several other features, making this environment not really comparable to customer environments. If you wanted to install a standalone version, you still needed to go through all the manual steps or automate them yourself (with response files for the installers and WLST files for domain creation). As an alternative, during these times, Oracle has been so kind as to provide VirtualBox images (like this one or this one) with everything pre-installed. For more complex set-ups Edwin Biemond / Lucas Jellema have provided Vagrant files and blog posts to quickly create a 12c environment.


One of the benefits of running SOA Suite in Docker containers is that the software is isolatd in the container. You can quickly remove and recreate domains. Also, in general, Docker is more resource efficient compared to for example VMWare, VirtualBox or Oracle VM and the containers are easily shippable to other environments/machines.


Docker has become very popular and there have been several efforts to run SOA Suite in Docker containers. At first these efforts where by people who created their own Dockerfiles and used the installers and responsefiles to create images. Later Oracle provided their own Dockerfiles but you still needed the installers from and first build the images. The official Oracle provided Docker files can be found in GitHub here.

Container Registry

Oracle has introduced its Container Registry recently (the start of 2017). The Container Registry is a Docker Registry which contains prebuild images, thus just Dockerfiles. Oracle Database appeared, WebLogic and the SOA Infrastructure and now (May 2018) the complete SOA Suite.

SOA Suite 12c in Docker containers. Only a couple of commands, no installers, no third party scripts Capture02

How do you use this? You link your OTN account to the Container Registry. This needs to be done only once. Next you can accept the license agreement for the images you would like to use. The Container Registry contains a useful description with every image on how to use it and what can be configured. Keep in mind that since the Container Registry has recently been restructured, names of images have changed and not all manuals have been updated yet. That is also why you want to tag images so you can access them locally in a consistent way.

Download and run!

For SOA Suite, you need to accept the agreement for the Enterprise Edition database and SOA Suite. You don’t need the SOA Infrastructure; it is part of the SOA Suite image.


docker login -u OTNusername -p OTNpassword

Pull, tag, create env files

Pulling the images can take a while… (can be hours on Wifi). The commands for pulling differ slightly from the examples given in the image documentation in the Container Registry because image names have recently changed. For consistent access, tag them.


docker pull
docker tag oracle/database:

The database requires a configuration file. The settings in this file are not correctly applied by the installation which is executed when a container is created from the image however. I’ve updated the configuration file to reflect what is actually created:


SOA Suite

docker pull
docker tag oracle/soa:

The Admin Server also requires a configuration file:


As you can see, you can use the same database for multiple SOA schema’s since the RCU prefix is configurable.

The Managed Server also requires a configuration file:


Make sure the Managed Server mentioned in the Admin Server configuration file matches the Managed Server in the Managed Server configuration file. The Admin Server installation creates a for the Managed Server. If the server name does not match, the Managed Server will not boot.

Create local folders and network

Since you might not want to lose your domain or database files when you remove your container and start it again, you can create a location on your host machine where the domain will be created and the database can store its files. Make sure the user running the containers has userid/groupid 1000 for the below commands to allow the user access to the directories. Run the below commands as root. They differ slightly from the manual since errors will occur if SOAVolume/SOA does not exist.

mkdir -p /scratch/DockerVolume/SOAVolume/SOA
chown 1000:1000 /scratch/DockerVolume/SOAVolume/
chmod -R 700 /scratch/DockerVolume/SOAVolume/

Create a network for the database and SOA servers:

docker network create -d bridge SOANet


Start the database

You’ll first need the database. You can run it by:

#Start the database
docker run --name soadb --network=SOANet -p 1521:1521 -p 5500:5500 -v /scratch/DockerVolume/SOAVolume/DB:/opt/oracle/oradata --env-file /software/db.env.list oracle/database:

This installs and starts the database. db.env.list, which is described above, should be in /software in this case.

SOA Suite 12c in Docker containers. Only a couple of commands, no installers, no third party scripts Capture05

SOA Suite

In the examples documented, it is indicated you can run the Admin Server and the Managed Server in separate containers. You can and they will startup. However, the Admin Server cannot manage the Managed Server and the WebLogic Console / EM don’t show the Managed Server status. The configuration in the Docker container uses a single machine with a single host-name and indicates both the Managed Server and Admin Server both run there. In order to fix this, I’ll suggest two easy workarounds.

Port forwarding. Admin Server and Managed Server in separate containers

You can create a port-forward from the Admin Server to the Managed Server. This allows the WebLogic Console / EM and Admin Server to access the Managed Server at ‘localhost’ within the Docker container on port 8001.

#This command starts an interactive shell which runs the Admin Server. Wait until it is up before continuing!
docker run -i -t --name soaas --network=SOANet -p 7001:7001 -v /scratch/DockerVolume/SOAVolume/SOA:/u01/oracle/user_projects --env-file /software/adminserver.env.list oracle/soa:

SOA Suite 12c in Docker containers. Only a couple of commands, no installers, no third party scripts Capture04

#This command starts an interactive shell which runs the Managed Server.
docker run -i -t --name soams --network=SOANet -p 8001:8001 --volumes-from soaas --env-file /software/soaserver.env.list oracle/soa: "/u01/oracle/dockertools/"

SOA Suite 12c in Docker containers. Only a couple of commands, no installers, no third party scripts Capture03

#The below commands install and run socat to do the port mapping from Admin Server port 8001 to Managed Server port 8001
docker exec -u root soaas yum -y install socat
docker exec -d -u root soaas "/usr/bin/socat" TCP4-LISTEN:8001,fork TCP4:soams:8001"

The container is very limited. It does not contain executables for ping, netstat, wget, ifconfig, iptables and several other common tools. socat seemed an easy solution (easier than iptables or SSH tunnels) to do port forwarding and it worked nicely.

Admin Server and Managed Server in a single container

An alternative is to run the both the Managed Server and the Admin Server in the same container. Here you start the Admin Server with both the configuration files so all environment variables are available. Once the Admin Server is started, the Managed Server can be started in a separate shell with docker exec.

#Start Admin Server
docker run -i -t --name soaas --network=SOANet -p 7001:7001 -p 8001:8001 -v /scratch/DockerVolume/SOAVolume/SOA:/u01/oracle/user_projects --env-file /software/adminserver.env.list --env-file /software/soaserver.env.list oracle/soa:
#Start Managed Server
docker exec -it soaas "/u01/oracle/dockertools/"

Start the NodeManager

If you like (but you don’t have to), you can start the NodeManager in both set-ups like;

docker exec -d soaas "/u01/oracle/user_projects/domains/InfraDomain/bin/"

The NodeManager runs on port 5658.

How does it look?

A normal SOA Suite environment.

SOA Suite 12c in Docker containers. Only a couple of commands, no installers, no third party scripts Capture08

SOA Suite 12c in Docker containers. Only a couple of commands, no installers, no third party scripts Capture07


  1. SHAHZAD MAHMOOD September 11, 2020
    • Maarten Smeets September 13, 2020
  2. Raj Kumar August 29, 2019
  3. Joao Nzuzi July 26, 2019
      • Joao Nzuzi July 26, 2019
  4. Joao Nzuzi July 25, 2019
  5. April 18, 2019
  6. Leo March 10, 2019
  7. Mahesh March 4, 2019
  8. Anudeep March 4, 2019
  9. Ravi January 21, 2019
    • Maarten Smeets January 24, 2019
  10. Karan Kapoor January 20, 2019
    • Maarten Smeets January 24, 2019
  11. Ruchika January 15, 2019
    • Didar April 17, 2019
  12. Roshan Parab November 12, 2018
  13. maxm November 8, 2018
    • Maarten Smeets November 16, 2018
  14. Rama Shankar Singh August 22, 2018
    • Cristian Ágreda Ceballos May 6, 2019
      • William Giovanni Abarca Perz May 28, 2019
  15. BLING August 7, 2018
    • Maarten Smeets August 7, 2018
  16. Manish May 18, 2018