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Last pushed: 10 months ago
Short Description
Docker Image for protease predictions based on cleavage sites.
Full Description


The Galaxy Docker Image is an easy distributable full-fledged Galaxy installation, that can be used for testing, teaching and presenting new tools and features. This flavour includes a tool for protease predictions based on different cleavage sites.


At first you need to install docker. Please follow the very good instructions from the Docker project.

After the successful installation, all what you need to do is:

  docker run -d -p 8080:80 -p 8021:21 bgruening/galaxy-stable

I will shortly explain the meaning of all the parameters. For a more detailed description please consult the docker manual, it's really worth reading.
Let's start: docker run will run the Image/Container for you. In case you do not have the Container stored locally, docker will download it for you. -p 8080:80 will make the port 80 (inside of the container) available on port 8080 on your host. Same holds for port 8021, that can be used to transfer data via the FTP protocol. Inside the container a Apache Webserver is running on port 80 and that port can be bound to a local port on your host computer. With this parameter you can access your Galaxy instance via http://localhost:8080 immediately after executing the command above (If you work with the Docker Toolbox on Mac or Windows, you need to connect to the machine generated by 'Docker Quickstart'. You get its IP address from the first line in the terminal, e.g.: docker is configured to use the default machine with IP ). bgruening/galaxy-stable is the Image/Container name, that directs docker to the correct path in the docker index. -d will start the docker container in daemon mode. For an interactive session, you can execute:

  docker run -i -t -p 8080:80 bgruening/galaxy-stable /bin/bash

and run the startup script by yourself, to start PostgreSQL, Apache and Galaxy.

Docker images are "read-only", all your changes inside one session will be lost after restart. This mode is usefull to present Galaxy to your collegues or to run workshops with it. To install Tool Shed respositories or to save your data you need to export the calculated data to the host computer.

Fortunately, this is as easy as:

  docker run -d -p 8080:80 -v /home/user/galaxy_storage/:/export/ bgruening/galaxy-stable

With the additional -v /home/user/galaxy_storage/:/export/ parameter, docker will mount the local folder /home/user/galaxy_storage into the Container under /export/. A script, that is usually starting Apache, PostgreSQL and Galaxy, will recognize the export directory with one of the following outcomes:

  • In case of an empty /export/ directory, it will move the PostgreSQL database, the Galaxy database directory, Shed Tools and Tool Dependencies and various config scripts to /export/ and symlink back to the original location.
  • In case of a non-empty /export/, for example if you continue a previous session within the same folder, nothing will be moved, but the symlinks will be created.

This enables you to have different export folders for different sessions - means real separation of your different projects.

You can also collect and store /export/ data of Galaxy instances in a dedicated docker Data volume Container created by:

  docker create -v /export --name galaxy-store bgruening/galaxy-stable /bin/true

To mount this data volume in a Galaxy container, use the --volumes-from parameter:

  docker run -d -p 8080:80 --volumes-from galaxy-store bgruening/galaxy-stable

This also allows for data separation, but keeps everything encapsulated within the docker engine (e.g. on OS X within your $HOME/.docker folder - easy to backup, archive and restore. This approach, albeit at the expense of disk space, avoids the problems with permissions reported for data export on non-Linux hosts.

Upgrading images

We will release a new version of this image concurrent with every new Galaxy release. For upgrading an image to a new version we have assembled a few hints for you:

  • Create a test instance with only the database and configuration files. This will allow testing to ensure that things run but won't require copying all of the data.
  • New unmodified configuration files are always stored in a hidden directory called .distribution_config. Use this folder to diff your configurations with the new configuration files shipped with Galaxy. This prevents needing to go through the change log files to find out which new files were added or which new features you can activate.
  • Start your container in interactive mode with an attached terminal and upgrade your database.
    1. docker run -i -t bgruening/galaxy-stable /bin/bash
    2. startup to startup all processes
    3. Ctrl+C to abort the log messages
    4. sh upgrade will upgrade your database to the most recent version
    5. logout from the container
    6. start your container as usual: docker run -i -t bgruening/galaxy-stable

Enabling Interactive Environments in Galaxy

Interactive Environments (IE) are sophisticated ways to extend Galaxy with powerful services, like Jupyter, in a secure and reproducible way.
For this we need to be able to launch Docker containers inside our Galaxy Docker container. At least docker 1.3 is needed on the host system.

  docker run -d -p 8080:80 -p 8021:21 -p 8800:8800 --privileged=true \
    -v /home/user/galaxy_storage/:/export/ bgruening/galaxy-stable

The port 8800 is the proxy port that is used to handle Interactive Environments. --privileged is needed to start docker containers inside docker. If your IE does not open, please make sure you open your Galaxy instance with your hostname or a FQDN, but not with localhost or

Using passive mode FTP

By default, FTP servers running inside of docker containers are not accessible via passive mode FTP, due to not being able to expose extra ports. To circumvent this, you can use the --net=host option to allow Docker to directly open ports on the host server:

  docker run -d --net=host -v /home/user/galaxy_storage/:/export/ bgruening/galaxy-stable

Note that there is no need to specifically bind individual ports (e.g., -p 80:80).

Using Parent docker

On some linux distributions, Docker-In-Docker can run into issues (such as running out of loopback interfaces). If this is an issue, you can use a 'legacy' mode that use a docker socket for the parent docker installation mounted inside the container. To engage, set the environmental variable DOCKER_PARENT

  docker run -p 8080:80 -p 8021:21 -p 8800:8800 \
    --privileged=true -e DOCKER_PARENT=True \
    -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \
    -v /home/user/galaxy_storage/:/export/ \

Galaxy Report Webapp

For admins wishing to have more information on the status of a galaxy instance, the Galaxy Report Webapp is served on http://localhost:8080/reports. As default this site is password protected with admin:admin. You can change this by providing a reports_htpasswd file in /home/user/galaxy_storage/.

You can disable the Report Webapp entirely by providing the environment variable NONUSE during container startup.

  docker run -p 8080:80 -e "NONUSE=reports" bgruening/galaxy-stable

Galaxy's config settings

Every Galaxy configuration setting can be overwritten by a given environment variable during startup. For example by default the admin_users, master_api_key and the brand variable it set to:
  GALAXY_CONFIG_BRAND="Galaxy Docker Build"

You can and should overwrite these during launching your container:

  docker run -p 8080:80 \
    -e "" \
    -e "GALAXY_CONFIG_MASTER_API_KEY=83D4jaba7330aDKHkakjGa937" \
    -e "GALAXY_CONFIG_BRAND='My own Galaxy flavour'" \

Note that if you would like to run any of the cleanup scripts, you will need to add the following to /export/galaxy-central/config/galaxy.ini:

database_connection = postgresql://galaxy:galaxy@localhost:5432/galaxy
file_path = /export/galaxy-central/database/files

Personalize your Galaxy

The Galaxy welcome screen can be changed by providing a welcome.hml page in /home/user/galaxy_storage/. All files starting with welcome will be copied during starup and served as indroduction page. If you want to include images or other media, name them welcome_* and link them relative to your welcome.html (example).

Deactivating services

Non-essential services can be deactivated during startup. Set the environment variable NONUSE to a comma separated list of services. Currently, nodejs, proftp, reports, slurmd and slurmctld are supported.

  docker run -d -p 8080:80 -p 8021:21 -p 9002:9002 \
    -e "NONUSE=nodejs,proftp,reports,slurmd,slurmctld" bgruening/galaxy-stable

A graphical user interface, to start and stop your services, is available on port 9002 if you run your container like above.

Restarting Galaxy

If you want to restart Galaxy without restarting the entire Galaxy container you can use docker exec (docker > 1.3).

  docker exec <container name> supervisorctl restart galaxy:

In addition you start/stop every supersisord process using a webinterface on port 9002. Start your container with:

  docker run -p 9002:9002 bgruening/galaxy-stable

Advanced Logging

You can set the environment variable $GALAXY_LOGGING to FULL to access all logs from supervisor. For example start your container with:

  docker run -d -p 8080:80 -p 8021:21 -e "GALAXY_LOGGING=full" bgruening/galaxy-stable

Then, you can access the supersisord webinterface on port 9002 and get access to log files. To do so, start your container with:

  docker run -d -p 8080:80 -p 8021:21 -p 9002:9002 -e "GALAXY_LOGGING=full" bgruening/galaxy-stable

Alternatively, you can access the container directly using the following command:

  docker exec -it <container name> bash

Once connected to the container, log files are available in /home/galaxy.

Using an external Slurm cluster

It is often convenient to configure Galaxy to use a high-performance cluster for running jobs. To do so, two files are required:

  1. munge.key
  2. slurm.conf

These files from the cluster must be copied to the /export mount point (i.e., /data/galaxy on the host if using below command) accessible to Galaxy before starting the container. This must be done regardless of which Slurm daemons are running within Docker. At start, symbolic links will be created to these files to /etc within the container, allowing the various Slurm functions to communicate properly with your cluster. In such cases, there's no reason to run slurmctld, the Slurm controller daemon, from within Docker, so specify -e "NONUSE=slurmctld". Unless you would like to also use Slurm (rather than the local job runner) to run jobs within the Docker container, then alternatively specify -e "NONUSE=slurmctld,slurmd".

Importantly, Slurm relies on a shared filesystem between the Docker container and the execution nodes. To allow things to function correctly, each of the execution nodes will need /export and /galaxy-central directories to point to the appropriate places. Suppose you ran the following command to start the Docker image:

docker run -d -e "NONUSE=slurmd,slurmctld" -p 80:80 -v /data/galaxy:/export bgruening/galaxy-stable

You would then need the following symbolic links on each of the nodes:

  1. /export/data/galaxy
  2. /galaxy-central/data/galaxy/galaxy-central

A brief note is in order regarding the version of Slurm installed. This Docker image uses Ubuntu 14.04 as its base image. The version of Slurm in the Unbuntu 14.04 repository is 2.6.5 and that is what is installed in this image. If your cluster is using an incompatible version of Slurm then you will likely need to modify this Docker image.

The following is an example for how to specify a destination in job_conf.xml that uses a custom partition ("work", rather than "debug") and 4 cores rather than 1:

<destination id="slurm4threads" runner="slurm">
    <param id="embed_metadata_in_job">False</param>
    <param id="nativeSpecification">-p work -n 4</param>

The usage of -n can be confusing. Note that it will specify the number of cores, not the number of tasks (i.e., it's not equivalent to srun -n 4).

Magic Environment variables

Name Description
ENABLE_TTS_INSTALL Enables the Test Tool Shed during container startup. This change is not persistent. (ENABLE_TTS_INSTALL=True)
GALAXY_LOGGING Enables for verbose logging at Docker stdout. (GALAXY_LOGGING=full)
NONUSE Disable services during container startup. (NONUSE=nodejs,proftp,reports,slurmd,slurmctld)
UWSGI_PROCESSES Set the number of uwsgi processes (`UWSGI_PROCESSES=2)
UWSGI_THREADS Set the number of uwsgi threads (UWSGI_THREADS=4)

Lite Mode

The lite mode will only start postgresql and a single Galaxy process, without nginx, uwsgi or any other
special feature from the normal mode. In particular there is no support for the export folder or any Magic Environment variables.

  docker run -i -t -p 8080:8080 bgruening/galaxy-stable

This will also use the standard job_conf.xml.sample_basic shipped by Galaxy. If you want to use the special the regular one from the normal mode you can pass -j to the script.

Extending the Docker Image

If the desired tools are already included in the Tool Shed, building your own personalised Galaxy docker Image (Galaxy flavour) can be done using the following steps:

  1. Create a file named Dockerfile
  2. Include FROM bgruening/galaxy-stable at the top of the file. This means that you use the Galaxy Docker Image as base Image and build your own extensions on top of it.
  3. Supply the list of desired tools in a file (my_tool_list.yml below). See this page for the file format requirements.
  4. Execute docker build -t my-docker-test .
  5. Run your container with docker run -p 8080:80 my-docker-test
  6. Open your web browser on http://localhost:8080

For a working example, have a look at the deepTools or the ChemicalToolBox Dockerfile's.

# Galaxy - deepTools
# VERSION       0.2

FROM bgruening/galaxy-stable

MAINTAINER Björn A. Grüning,


WORKDIR /galaxy-central

RUN add-tool-shed --url '' --name 'Test Tool Shed'

# Install Visualisation
RUN install-biojs msa

# Adding the tool definitions to the container
ADD my_tool_list.yml $GALAXY_ROOT/my_tool_list.yml

# Install deepTools
RUN install-tools $GALAXY_ROOT/my_tool_list.yml

# Mark folders as imported from the host.
VOLUME ["/export/", "/data/", "/var/lib/docker"]

# Expose port 80 (webserver), 21 (FTP server), 8800 (Proxy)
EXPOSE :8800

# Autostart script that is invoked during container start
CMD ["/usr/bin/startup"]

List of other Galaxy flavours

Users & Passwords

The Galaxy Admin User has the username and the password admin.
The PostgreSQL username is galaxy, the password is galaxy and the database name is galaxy (I know I was really creative ;)).
If you want to create new users, please make sure to use the /export/ volume. Otherwise your user will be removed after your docker session is finished.

The proftpd server is configured to use the main galaxy PostgreSQL user to access the database and select the username and password. If you want to run the
docker container in production, please do not forget to change the user credentials in /etc/proftp/proftpd.conf too.

The Galaxy Report Webapp is htpasswd protected with username and password st to admin.


Support & Bug Reports

You can file an github issue or ask
us on the Galaxy development list.

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