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This Runbook provides the steps to deploy a GPU machine on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, install Parabricks, and run a benchmark using Parabricks software.

Parabricks is a computational framework supporting genomics applications from DNA to RNA. It is a GPU-based solution that speeds up the process of analyzing whole genomes–all 3 billion base pairs in human chromosomes–from days to under an hour. Parabricks can be used to establish patterns in protein folding, protein-ligand binding, and cell membrane transport, making it a very useful application for drug research and discovery.

Parabricks supports running on GPU's and supports parallel processing. It began as an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based startup and is now part of the NVIDIA Healthcare team. More information can be found here.


The architecture for this runbook is simple, a single machine running inside of an OCI VCN with a public subnet. Since a GPU instance is used, block storage is attached to the instance and installed with the Parabricks application and sample/reference data. The instance is located in a public subnet and assigned a public ip, which can be accessed via ssh.

For details of the architecture, see Deploy genomics applications framework and NVIDIA Clara Parabricks

Architecture Diagram


Login to the instance using ubuntu as a username:

ssh -i id_rsa {username}\@{public-ip-address}

Note that if you are using resource manager, obtain the private key from the output and save on your local machine.


  • Permission to manage the following types of resources in your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure tenancy: vcns, internet-gateways, route-tables, security-lists, subnets, and instances.

  • Quota to create the following resources: 1 VCN, 1 subnet, 1 Internet Gateway, 1 route rules, and 1 GPU (VM/BM) compute instance.

If you don't have the required permissions and quota, contact your tenancy administrator. See Policy Reference, Service Limits, Compartment Quotas.


Deploying this architecture on OCI can be done in different ways:

Deploy Using Oracle Resource Manager

  1. Click Deploy to Oracle Cloud

    If you aren't already signed in, when prompted, enter the tenancy and user credentials.

  2. Review and accept the terms and conditions.

  3. Select the region where you want to deploy the stack.

  4. Follow the on-screen prompts and instructions to create the stack.

  5. After creating the stack, click Terraform Actions, and select Plan.

  6. Wait for the job to be completed, and review the plan.

    To make any changes, return to the Stack Details page, click Edit Stack, and make the required changes. Then, run the Plan action again.

  7. If no further changes are necessary, return to the Stack Details page, click Terraform Actions, and select Apply.

Deploy Using the Terraform CLI

Clone the Module

Now, you'll want a local copy of this repo. You can make that with the commands:

git clone
cd oci-hpc-runbook-parabricks

Set Up and Configure Terraform

  1. Complete the prerequisites described here.

  2. Create a terraform.tfvars file, and specify the following variables:

# Authentication
tenancy_ocid         = "<tenancy_ocid>"
user_ocid            = "<user_ocid>"
fingerprint          = "<finger_print>"
private_key_path     = "<pem_private_key_path>"

# Region
region = "<oci_region>"

# Compartment
compartment_ocid = "<compartment_ocid>"

# Availability Domain
availablity_domain_name = "<availablity_domain_name>" # for example GrCH:US-ASHBURN-AD-1

Create the Resources

Run the following commands:

terraform init
terraform plan
terraform apply

Destroy the Deployment

When you no longer need the deployment, you can run this command to destroy the resources:

terraform destroy

Deploy Using OCI Console

The OCI Console lets you create each piece of the architecture one by one from a web browser. This can be used to avoid any terraform scripting or using existing templates.


Please obtain a Parabricks license here.

Running the Application

If the provided terraform scripts are used to launch the application, Parabricks is installed in the /mnt/block/parabricks folder and the example benchmarking model is available in the /mnt/block/parabricks_assets/data folder. The following scripts run the germline pipleine, the architecture shown below.

Run Parabricks germline pipeline on OCI GPU shapes via the following command (Suggestion: Make a separate folder called /mnt/block/results to run command inside):

sudo pbrun germline --ref <ref file> --in-fq <sample file 1> <sample file 2> --num-gpus <number of gpus used> --out-bam <.bam output file> --out-variants <.vcf output file> 2>&1 | tee <.txt output file>


  • pbrun = program that reads the input file and execues the pipeline
  • --ref (required) = The reference genome in fasta format
  • --in-fq (required) = Pair ended fastq files
  • --out-bam (required) = Path to the file that will contain BAM output
  • --out-variants (required) = Name of VCF/GVCF/GVCF.GZ file after Variant Calling
  • --num-gpus = The number of GPUs to be used for this analysis task

Example for BM.GPU3.8:

sudo pbrun germline --ref /mnt/block/parabricks_assets/Ref/Homo_sapiens_assembly38.fasta --in-fq /mnt/block/parabricks_assets/data/sample_1.fq.gz /mnt/block/parabricks_assets/data/sample_2.fq.gz --num-gpus 8 --out-bam germline.bam --out-variants germline.bam 2>&1 | tee germline.txt

Once the benchmark is complete, go to the .txt file you wrote the output to. The benchmark will show the time it took for the following programs n the germline pipeline to run:

  • Sorting Phase - I
  • Sorting Phase - II
  • Marking Duplicates, BQSR
  • HaplotypeCaller

If you'd like to automate this pipeline, please refer to the automation script.

scp myfile.txt {username}\@{public-ip-address}:/remote/folder/

To write out to Object Storage, please add your PRE-AUTHENTICATED REQUEST URL for your Object Storage bucket in line 14 of the automation script. To see how to create an Object Storage bucket, refer here.

Benchmark Example

This is the performance comparison between BM.GPU4.8(A100), BM.GPU3.8(V100), and VM.GPU3.4(V100). The sample data (48G and 49G) used in this benchmark was NA12878 from ILLUMINA.


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