Apache Karaf is a small OSGi based runtime which provides a lightweight container onto which various components and applications can be deployed.

Here is a short list of features supported by the Karaf:

  • Hot deployment: Karaf supports hot deployment of OSGi bundles by monitoring jar files inside the [home]/deploy directory. Each time a jar is copied in this folder, it will be installed inside the runtime. You can then update or delete it and changes will be handled automatically. In addition, the Karaf also supports exploded bundles and custom deployers (blueprint and spring ones are included by default).
  • Dynamic configuration: Services are usually configured through the ConfigurationAdmin OSGi service. Such configuration can be defined in Karaf using property files inside the [home]/etc directory. These configurations are monitored and changes on the properties files will be propagated to the services.
  • Logging System: using a centralized logging back end supported by Log4J, Karaf supports a number of different APIs (JDK 1.4, JCL, SLF4J, Avalon, Tomcat, OSGi)
  • Provisioning: Provisioning of libraries or applications can be done through a number of different ways, by which they will be downloaded locally, installed and started.
  • Native OS integration: Karaf can be integrated into your own Operating System as a service so that the lifecycle will be bound to your Operating System.
  • Extensible Shell console: Karaf features a nice text console where you can manage the services, install new applications or libraries and manage their state. This shell is easily extensible by deploying new commands dynamically along with new features or applications.
  • Remote access: use any SSH client to connect to Karaf and issue commands in the console
  • Security framework based on JAAS
  • Managing instances: Karaf provides simple commands for managing multiple instances. You can easily create, delete, start and stop instances of Karaf through the console.
  • Karaf 4.0.x branch Supports the latest OSGi 5.0 containers: Apache Felix Framework 4.4 and Eclipse Equinox 3.9
  • Karaf 3.0.x branch Supports the latest OSGi 4.3 containers: Apache Felix Framework 4.0 and Eclipse Equinox 3.8
  • Karaf 2.4.x branch Supports the latest OSGi 5.0 containers: Apache Felix Framework 4.4 and Eclipse Equinox 3.9
  • Karaf 2.3.x branch Supports the latest OSGi 4.3 containers: Apache Felix Framework 4.0 and Eclipse Equinox 3.8
  • Karaf 2.2.x branch Supports the latest OSGi 4.2 containers: Apache Felix Framework 3.0 and Eclipse Equinox 3.6