Category:NCBO Virtual Appliance

From NCBO Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


The NCBO Virtual Appliance has been updated to use NCBO's new v4.0 software infrastructure, including the use of an RDF triplestore as the primary data storage mechanism. Please read below as much of the Appliance workflow has changed.

For documentation of v1.0 Virtual Appliances, please see our archive.

Virtual Appliance Basics

The NCBO Virtual Appliance image contains a pre-installed, pre-configured version of commonly-used open source NCBO software running on a Linux operating system.

It is available as a VMWare Virtual Appliance OVF, as well as an Amazon Web Service AMI, and can be obtained by contacting us following the instructions under Getting Started below.

The following software is included on the image as of v2.4:

  • Ontologies API (REST service)
  • Annotator
  • Recommender
  • BioPortal Web User Interface (including ontology visualization, widgets, biomixer, and Annotator UI)

Please see below for how-to documentation for managing the software and running data population for Annotator.

Getting Started

VMWare Virtual Appliance

  • To obtain the VMWare Virtual Appliance, contact NCBO Support to initiate your request. You'll then be asked privately for your BioPortal account username. organizational goals, and reason for preferring the local installation. (If you don't have a BioPortal account, you can create one at: The overall transaction can take a few working days, depending on resource availability.
  • The download is provided as a zip archive containing several files. One of these is an Open Virtualization Format (OVF) file that may need to be converted to work in your virtualization environment.
  • You can supply the hostname (machine name) for the virtual machine during the deployment process. Documentation will refer to this hostname as 'example'.
  • Change default passwords
    • Operating System
      • Username: root
      • Password: password is prompted on the first boot
    • BioPortal Admin User
      • Username: admin
      • Password: changeme

Amazon AWS AMI

Amazon AMI is available on the AWS Market Place. Please contact NCBO Support for more information. Once the instance is running, enter the public DNS provided by Amazon into your browser to access BioPortal web interface. The default application administrator is 'admin' and the initial password is the Instance ID. You can also SSH to the machine using the username 'ec2-user' and your Amazon private key.

General Instruction

System Requirements

The following requirements are for the resources that you devote to your Appliance instance, not for the machine running your host environment. For example, if you are using a system with 4GB of RAM, then you will need to devote all of that RAM to your guest Appliance.

Note: these requirements are for basic usage. System requirements will vary greatly depending on the size of the ontologies you work with, the number of ontologies in the system, and the number of concurrent requests that the system needs to respond to. It can also vary depending on how the ontologies are used. For example, the search index can be RAM-intensive but parsing ontologies can be CPU-intensive. You will need to experiment with your Appliance resource settings to find what works for your scenario.

  • Minimum
    • 2 CPU (2 GHz)
    • 4GB RAM
    • Hard disk space: 20GB
  • Recommended for heavier usage
    • 4 CPU (3 GHz)
    • 8GB RAM (or more depending on the size/number of ontologies)
    • Hard disk space: 20GB (or more depending on number/size of ontologies)

Image Format and Operating System Details

The NCBO Appliance image was created using the Open Virtualization Format, which should allow the machine to be used in a variety of environments.

The operating system is CentOS 6.6 64-bit running:

  • Tomcat 6.0.26
  • Solr 4.10.4
  • Java 7
  • MySQL 5.1.x
  • Rails 3.2.x
  • Ruby 2.1.5
  • memcached
  • redis 2.8.18
  • nginx 1.6.3
  • 4store
  • Passenger/Apache

The following applications use these services/runtime environments:

  • Sinatra, Ruby, 4store, redis
    • Ontologies API
    • Annotator
    • Recommender
  • Rails, Ruby, memcached, mysql
    • BioPortal Web User Interface (including ontology visualization, Flex widgets, biomixer, Annotator)
  • Tomcat, Solr
    • Search index

Basic System Administration

  • Most of our administration scripts and build environment assume that you will be running as the root user.
  • We assume familiarity with basic CentOS Linux administration
  • All services required for BioPortal Stack are automatically started on boot. For troubleshooting purposes you can manually stop/start services:
    • bprestart: manually restart services required for BioPortal Stack.
    • bpstart: manually start services.
    • bpstop: manually stop services
  • Start individual services:
    • /sbin/service httpd start
    • /sbin/service memcached start
    • /sbin/service tomcat6 start
    • /sbin/service mgrep start
    • /sbin/service 4s-httpd-ontologies_api start
    • /sbin/service unicorn start
  • Stop individual services:
    • /sbin/service httpd stop
    • /sbin/service memcached stop
    • /sbin/service tomcat6 stop
    • /sbin/service mgrep stop
    • /sbin/service 4s-httpd-ontologies_api stop
    • /sbin/service unicorn stop


All NCBO software is released with the 2-clause BSD license. Source code is included on the Virtual Appliance.


This category has only the following subcategory.