Version 9

    The ExternalContext MBean allows you to federate external JNDI contexts into the JBoss server JNDI namespace. The term external refers to any naming service external to the JBossNS naming service running inside of the JBoss server VM. You can incorporate LDAP servers, file systems, DNS servers, and so on, even if the JNDI provider root context is not serializable. The federation can be made available to remote clients if the naming service supports remote access.


    To incorporate an external JNDI naming service, you have to add a configuration of the ExternalContext MBean service to the jboss-service.xml configuration file. The configurable attributes of the ExternalContext service are as follows:


    • JndiName: The JNDI name under which the external context is to be bound.

    • RemoteAccess: A boolean flag indicating if the external InitialContext should be bound using a Serializable form that allows a remote client to create the external InitialContext . When a remote client looks up the external context via the JBoss JNDI InitialContext, they effectively create an instance of the external InitialContext using the same env properties passed to the ExternalContext MBean. This will only work if the client can do a new InitialContext(env) remotely. This requires that the Context.PROVIDER_URL value of env is resolvable in the remote VM that is accessing the context. This should work for the LDAP example. For the file system example this most likely won't work unless the file system path refers to a common network path. If this property is not given it defaults to false.

    • CacheContext: The cacheContext flag. When set to true, the external Context is only created when the MBean is started and then stored as an in memory object until the MBean is stopped. If cacheContext is set to false, the external Context is created on each lookup using the MBean properties and InitialContext class. When the uncached Context is looked up by a client, the client should invoke close() on the Context to prevent resource leaks.

    • InitialContext: The fully qualified class name of the InitialContext implementation to use. Must be one of: javax.naming.InitialContext, or javax.naming.ldap.InitialLdapContext. In the case of the InitialLdapContext a null Controls array is used. The default is javax.naming.InitialContext.

    • Properties: The Properties attribute contains the JNDI properties for the external InitialContext. The input should be the text equivalent to what would go into a file.

    • PropertiesURL: This set the information for the external InitialContext from an extern properties file. This is either a URL, string or a classpath resource name. Examples are as follows:


    The MBean definition below shows a binding to an external LDAP context into the JBoss JNDI namespace under the name external/ldap/jboss.

    <!-- Bind a remote LDAP server -->
    <mbean code="org.jboss.naming.ExternalContext" 
        <attribute name="JndiName">external/ldap/jboss</attribute>
        <attribute name="Properties">
        <attribute name="InitialContext"> javax.naming.ldap.InitialLdapContext </attribute>
        <attribute name="RemoteAccess">true</attribute>


    With this configuration, you can access the external LDAP context located at ldap:// from within the JBoss VM using the following code fragment:

       InitialContext iniCtx = new InitialContext();
       LdapContext ldapCtx = iniCtx.lookup("external/ldap/jboss");

    Using the same code fragment outside of the JBoss server VM will work in this case because the RemoteAccess property was set to true. If it were set to false, it would not work because the remote client would receive a Reference object with an ObjectFactory that would not be able to recreate the external InitialContext

    <!-- Bind the /usr/local file system directory  -->
    <mbean code="org.jboss.naming.ExternalContext" 
        <attribute name="JndiName">external/fs/usr/local</attribute>
        <attribute name="Properties">
        <attribute name="InitialContext">javax.naming.InitialContext</attribute>

    This configuration describes binding a local file system directory /usr/local into the JBoss JNDI namespace under the name external/fs/usr/local.


    With this configuration, you can access the external file system context located at file:///usr/local from within the JBoss VM using the following code fragment:

       InitialContext iniCtx = new InitialContext();
       Context ldapCtx = iniCtx.lookup("external/fs/usr/local");

    Note that the examples use the Sun JNDI service providers, which must be downloaded from The provider JARs should be placed in the server configuration lib directory.