Easily launch your own cloud servers for use with Galaxy and CloudMan
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Table of Contents

Cloud Launch

Easily launch Galaxy, CloudMan, and CloudBioLinux platforms without any configuration. You can use this app directly on launch.usegalaxy.org or run it locally - either way, it takes about 2 minutes to go from nothing to a configured cluster-in-the-cloud and a scalable analysis platform on top of cloud resources.

Installing a dev instance

This Django application can be run locally for development, start by installing Python and virtualenv. Then, build a virtualenv and install the dependencies:

$ mkdir cl; cd cl
$ virtualenv .
$ source bin/activate
$ git clone https://github.com/galaxyproject/cloudlaunch.git
$ cd cloudlaunch
$ pip install -r requirements.txt

Next, you need to make a database available. For development, SQLite will suffice. To use it, simply copy file biocloudcentral/settings_local.py.sample to biocloudcentral/settings_local.py and proceed with the database migrations step below:

$ cp biocloudcentral/settings_local.py.sample biocloudcentral/settings_local.py
$ mkdir biocloudcentral/db

Applying database migrations

Finally, apply the database migrations, and, optionally, preload your database with the details about AWS instances. When prompted during the initial databse sync, create a super-user account; it will be used to log into the Admin side of the app and allow you to manage it:

$ python biocloudcentral/manage.py syncdb
$ python biocloudcentral/manage.py migrate biocloudcentral
$ python biocloudcentral/manage.py migrate djcelery
$ python biocloudcentral/manage.py migrate kombu.transport.django
# Optional; if you want to preload AWS cloud info and instance types
$ python biocloudcentral/manage.py loaddata biocloudcentral/aws_db_data.json

Collect static data

Do the following to get all the static content into a single location:

$ mkdir /some/absolute/path
# Edit biocloudcentral/settings_local.py and set STATIC_ROOT to above path
$ python biocloudcentral/manage.py collectstatic --noinput

Run the app

Start the app with the following command, which will start a development web server and a task queue process:

$ honcho -f ProcfileDev start

The application will be available on port 8000 ( The Admin part of the app is available under, where you will need to add your cloud connection and image information before you can launch instances.

Alternatively, you start the web server and the Celery task queue in two separate tabs (or screen sessions):

$ python biocloudcentral/manage.py runserver
$ python biocloudcentral/manage.py celeryd --concurrency 2 --loglevel=debug

Installing on a production server

Automated installation

We have developed an Ansible playbook for installing this application. The playbook automates the manual steps provided below with all the same defaults. The playbook is available here.

Manual installation

  • Launch a Ubuntu 14.04 instance or a VM
  • Install necessary system packages:

    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get -y install python-virtualenv git postgresql libpq-dev postgresql-server-dev-all python-dev nginx supervisor
  • Clone Cloud Launch into a local directory /srv/cloudlaunch as system user launch and install the required libraries (if you choose to install the app in a different directory, you will also need to change a number of configuration files where the specified path is assumed):

    $ sudo mkdir -p /srv/cloudlaunch
    $ sudo chown launch:launch /srv/cloudlaunch
    $ cd /srv/cloudlaunch
    $ virtualenv .cl
    $ source .cl/bin/activate
    $ git clone https://github.com/galaxyproject/cloudlaunch.git
    $ cd cloudlaunch
    $ pip install -r requirements.txt
  • Configure a PostgreSQL server with a database. Note that the following commands use the launch system user as the database owner. If you prefer to use a different user, change it in both commands:

    $ sudo su postgres -c "psql --port 5432 -c \"CREATE ROLE launch LOGIN CREATEDB PASSWORD 'password_to_change'\""
    $ sudo su launch -c "createdb --username launch --port 5432 cloudlaunch"
  • Make a copy of biocloudcentral/settings_local.py.sample as biocloudcentral/settings_local.py and set (at least) the following values:

    • Edit the database settings to point to the installed Postgres DB. These must match the username, port, and password from the previous two commands. Delete or comment out any other DATABASE fields in the file.

      DATABASES = {
          'default': {
              'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
              'NAME': 'cloudlaunch',
              'USER': 'launch',
              'PASSWORD': 'password_to_change',
              'HOST': 'localhost',
              'PORT': '5432',
    • Set admin users

    • Ensure STATIC_ROOT is set to /srv/cloudlaunch/media
      • Make sure the set directory exists and is owned by the launch user
    • Change SECRET_KEY
  • Apply database migrations as per above section

  • Collect all static files into a single directory by running:

    $ cd /srv/cloudlaunch/cloudlaunch
    $ python biocloudcentral/manage.py collectstatic --noinput
  • Configure nginx:

    • If it exists, delete default site from /etc/nginx/sites-enabled (or update it as desired)

        $ sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default
    • Copy the nginx config file from the Cloud Launch repo

      $ sudo cp /srv/cloudlaunch/cloudlaunch/cl_nginx.conf /etc/nginx/sites-available/
    • Create the following symlink

      $ sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/cl_nginx.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/cl
    • Optionally update the number of worker threads in /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

    • Test the nginx configuration with sudo nginx -t
    • Start & reload nginx with sudo service nginx start and sudo nginx -s reload
  • Run the app via supervisor:

    $ sudo cp /srv/cloudlaunch/cloudlaunch/cl_supervisor.conf /etc/supervisor/conf.d/
    $ sudo supervisorctl reread
    $ sudo supervisorctl update
    # Check the status with
    $ sudo supervisorctl status
  • The app is now available at http://server.ip.address/. The Admin part of the app is available at http://server.ip.address/admin/.

  • Logs are available in the installation directory, /srv/cloudlaunch/cloudlaunch/

Deploying to Heroku

An instance of this app available at biocloudcentral.org is hosted on Heroku. You can do the same by registering and deploying the app under your own account. To get started, add heroku as a remote repository:

$ git remote add heroku git@heroku.com:biocloudcentral.git

Then, automatically push to Heroku for live deployment:

$ git push heroku master

If the database needs migration, run:

$ heroku run python biocloudcentral/manage.py migrate

Running in a Docker container

A preliminary version of a Docker container with Cloud Launch pre-configured is also available. For the time being, this is not considered a stable release but can be used as a very quick way of getting your own instance to test your deployment with. The Dockerfile with the instructions on how to build the container are available here: https://github.com/afgane/cloudlaunch-docker


The code is freely available under the MIT license.