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Deploy Bonita Runtime with Docker

How to install and use the Bonita Runtime docker distribution.

This guide assumes you have a working docker environment.

Quick start

To start the latest Community release:

docker run --name bonita -d -p 8080:8080 bonita

To start the latest Subscription release:

Information on how to access can be found here

docker login
docker pull
docker logout
docker run --name=bonita -d -p 8080:8080
  • Documentation of the community docker image is available here.

  • Information on how to access can be found here.

  • You need to provide a valid licence, follow these steps in order to get and configure one.


Multiple tags exist:

  • latest: Points to the latest version of the platform

  • 2021.1: Points to the latest maintenance version of the 2021.1 version

  • 2021.1-XXXX: Tag of a maintenance version of 2021.1

latest and 2021.1 are tags that change each time a new version of the platform is released. It is safer to use the more complete version tag 2021.1-XXXX when scripting deployments to ensure the binaries do not change.

Step by step installation procedure

Retrieve a licence

First generate a request key into a container with a specific hostname (-h):

docker run --rm --name=bonita -h <hostname> -ti /bin/bash ./

Answer the questions related to the license you want. This will print out the request key and exit automatically from the running container.

Retrieve the licence from the customer portal and place into one folder that will be mounted as a volume of the docker container. In this example, we will use ~/bonita-lic/..

cp ~/Downloads/BonitaSubscription-7.7-Cloud_Techuser-<hostname>-20170124-20170331.lic ~/bonita-lic/.

Alternatively, you can create a named persistent volume in docker for keeping license file. See docker documentation on volumes.

Start the container

Re-create a new Bonita container with the same hostname (-h) and this host directory mounted (-v) :

docker run --name bonita -h <hostname> -v ~/bonita-lic/:/opt/bonita_lic/ -d -p 8080:8080

This will only add the initial license to the Bonita Runtime. To renew a license on an existing installation see Update configuration and license section

This will start a container running the Tomcat Bundle with Bonita Engine + Portal. As you did not specify any environment variables it’s almost like if you had launched the Bundle on your host using startup.{sh|bat} (with security hardening on REST and HTTP APIs, cf Security part). It means that Bonita uses a H2 database here.

You can access the portal on http://localhost:8080/bonita and login using the default credentials : install / install

Start the container interactively

You may also run the Bonita container with an interactive shell session in order to control start and stop of the Tomcat bundle. Although the main usage of the Docker image is to automatically start the Bonita runtime, manually start and stop Tomcat may be useful for development or troubleshooting purposes.

Run the container as follows in order to get an interactive bash shell session:

docker run --name bonita -it -p 8080:8080 bonita bash

Subscription release

docker run --name bonita -h <hostname> -v ~/bonita-lic/:/opt/bonita_lic/ -it -p 8080:8080 bash

Then run /opt/files/ inside the container to start Tomcat. In order to stop Tomcat inside the container, press Ctrl-C.
Repeat this sequence to manually start and stop Tomcat in the container.

The H2 database allows the Bonita container to work out of the box, but it is not recommended outside of a development environment.

As PostgreSQL is the recommended database for qualification and production environments, follow one of these next sections to configure your Bonita container to run on PostgreSQL database. You can work with either a PostgreSQL Container, or PostgreSQL as an installed service.

PostgreSQL Container

Bonita needs to enable XA transactions in postgres, to do that we set the max_prepared_transactions to 100 (bigger than 0):

docker run --name mydbpostgres -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=mysecretpassword -d postgres:11.2 -c 'max_prepared_transactions=100'

See the official PostgreSQL documentation for more details.

docker run --name bonita_postgres -h <hostname> -v bonita-lic:/opt/bonita_lic/ --link mydbpostgres:postgres -d -p 8080:8080

Using docker-compose

Create a file stack.yml with the following content (remember to replace the <hostname> with the one used in the licence generation command):

# Use tech_user/secret as user/password credentials
version: '3'

    image: postgres:11.2
      POSTGRES_PASSWORD: example
    restart: always
      - -c
      - max_prepared_transactions=100
    hostname: <hostname>
      - ~/bonita-lic:/opt/bonita_lic/
      - 8080:8080
      - DB_VENDOR=postgres
      - DB_HOST=db
      - TENANT_LOGIN=tech_user
      - TENANT_PASSWORD=secret
      - PLATFORM_LOGIN=pfadmin
      - PLATFORM_PASSWORD=pfsecret
    restart: on-failure:2
      - db
      - bash
      - -c
      - |
        set -e
        echo 'Waiting for Postgres to be available'
        while [ "maxTries" -gt 0 ] && ! psql -h "DB_HOST" -U 'postgres' -c '\l'; do
            let maxTries--
            sleep 1
        if [ "maxTries" -le 0 ]; then
            echo >&2 'error: unable to contact Postgres after 10 tries'
            exit 1
        exec /opt/files/
      name: bonita-lic

Run docker stack deploy -c stack.yml bonita or docker-compose -f stack.yml up, wait for it to initialize completely, and visit http://swarm-ip:8080, http://localhost:8080, or http://host-ip:8080 (as appropriate).

PostgreSQL as an installed service

If you don’t want to run your database in a docker container, the following file env.txt needs to be configured and provided to the docker run command:

docker run --name=bonita -h <hostname> --env-file=env.txt -d -p 8080:8080

Start Bonita with custom security credentials

docker run --name=bonita -v bonita-lic:/opt/bonita_lic/ -h <hostname> -e "TENANT_LOGIN=tech_user" -e "TENANT_PASSWORD=secret" -e "PLATFORM_LOGIN=pfadmin" -e "PLATFORM_PASSWORD=pfsecret" -d -p 8080:8080

Now you can access the Bonita Portal on localhost:8080/bonita and login using: tech_user / secret

Secure your remote access

This docker image ensures to activate by default both static and dynamic authorization checks on REST API. To be coherent it also deactivates the HTTP API. But for specific needs you can override this behavior by setting HTTP_API to true and REST_API_DYN_AUTH_CHECKS to false :

docker run  -e HTTP_API=true -e REST_API_DYN_AUTH_CHECKS=false --name bonita -v bonita-lic:/opt/bonita_lic/ -h <hostname> -d -p 8080:8080

Environment variables

When you start the bonita image, you can adjust the configuration of the Bonita instance by passing one or more environment variables on the docker run command line.


This environment variable is recommended for you to use the Bonita image. It sets the platform administrator password for Bonita. If it is not specified, the default password platform will be used.


This optional environment variable is used in conjunction with PLATFORM_PASSWORD to define the username for the platform administrator. If it is not specified, the default username platformAdmin will be used.


This environment variable is recommended for you to use the Bonita image. It sets the tenant administrator password for Bonita. If it is not specified, the default password install will be used.


This optional environment variable is used in conjunction with TENANT_PASSWORD to define the username for the tenant administrator. If it is not specified, the default username install will be used.


This optional environment variable is used to enable/disable dynamic authorization checking on Bonita REST API. The default value is true, which will activate dynamic authorization checking.


This optional environment variable is used to enable/disable the Bonita HTTP API. The default value is false, which will deactivate the HTTP API.


This optional environment variable is used to customize JAVA_OPTS. The default value is -Xms1024m -Xmx1024m -XX:MaxPermSize=256m.


This optional environment variable is used to allow/disallow the SQL queries to automatically check and create the databases using the database administrator credentials. The default value is true.


This environment variable is automatically set to postgres or mysql if the Bonita container is linked to a PostgreSQL or MySQL database using --link. The default value is h2. It can be overridden if you don’t use the --link capability.


These variables are optional, used in conjunction to configure the bonita image to reach the database instance. There are automatically set if --link is used to run the container.


These variables are used in conjunction to create a new user, set that user’s password, and create the bonita database.

DB_NAME default value is bonitadb.

DB_USER default value is bonitauser.

DB_PASS default value is bonitapass.


These variables are used in conjunction to create a new user, set that user’s password and create the bonita business database.

BIZ_DB_NAME default value is businessdb.

BIZ_DB_USER default value is businessuser.

BIZ_DB_PASS default value is businesspass.


These variables are optional, and used in conjunction to create users and databases through the administrator account used on the database instance.

DB_ADMIN_USER if no value is provided, this is automatically set to root with MySQL or postgres with PostgreSQL.

DB_ADMIN_PASS if no value is provided, this is automatically set using the value from the linked container: MYSQL_ENV_MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD or POSTGRES_ENV_POSTGRES_PASSWORD.


DB_DROP_EXISTING and BIZ_DB_DROP_EXISTING can be used to drop existing databases in order to reuse an existing database instance.

DB_DROP_EXISTING default value is N.

BIZ_DB_DROP_EXISTING default value is N.


Since Bonita 7.9 BONITA_SERVER_LOGGING_FILE and BONITA_SETUP_LOGGING_FILE can be used to update logging configuration.

BONITA_SERVER_LOGGING_FILE default value is /opt/bonita/BonitaSubscription-${BONITA_VERSION}/server/conf/

BONITA_SETUP_LOGGING_FILE default value is /opt/bonita/BonitaSubscription-${BONITA_VERSION}/setup/logback.xml.

Migrating from an earlier version of Bonita

The migration scripts affect only the database, not the Bonita instance. The procedure to migrate a Bonita container is therefore as follow:

Update configuration and license

Once renewed from Bonita Customer Portal, the license file and the configuration files are updated using the Setup tool.

Setup tool can be used outside of the Docker container directly by downloading the Tomcat bundle and running it from there.

The setup tool needs to be able to access the database. Because of that, if the database is in a docker container, its port must be exposed to the host.

See setup tool page for more information.