Deployment in the Cloud

There are several aspects to the way the Bioregistry web application is deployed listed in this section.

Domain Name

The domain is registered with Namecheap and costs about $33 per year. It is managed and supported by the INDRA Lab, a part of the Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology and Harvard Program in Therapeutic Science (HiTS) at Harvard Medical School.


The Bioregistry is hosted on an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) via a load balancing service to stay secure and highly available. It is managed and supported by the INDRA Lab, a part of the Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology and Harvard Program in Therapeutic Science (HiTS) at Harvard Medical School.


These are the software and operating system specifications for the currently running instance of the Bioregistry:

Bioregistry Version
Platform Version
#70-Ubuntu SMP Fri May 25 21:47:34 UTC 2018
2022-08-09 03:41:37.812820


A Docker image is automatically built nightly following the update workflow on GitHub Actions and pushed to the biopragmatics/bioregistry DockerHub repository. This image is built with the Python 3.9 alpine base image, which significantly reduces non-essential components. The final compressed image weights less than 40 MB of disk space and runs inside Docker with about 65 MB of memory at baseline. This could easily fit on a dedicated t4g.nano instance on AWS that costs about $37/year on-demand or around $20/year reserved.


The Bioregistry's EC2 instance runs the following script on a cron job that stops the current running instance, pulls the latest image from this DockerHub repository and starts it back up. The whole process only takes a few seconds.

# /data/services/

# Store the container's hash
BIOREGISTRY_CONTAINER_ID=$(docker ps --filter "name=bioregistry" -aq)

# Stop and remove the old container, taking advantage of the fact that it's named specifically

# Pull the latest
docker pull biopragmatics/bioregistry:latest

# Run the start script, remove -d to run interactively
docker run -id --name bioregistry -p 8766:8766 biopragmatics/bioregistry:latest

This script can be put on the EC2 instance and run via SSH with:


ssh -i ~/.ssh/<credentials>.pem <user>@<address> 'sh /data/services/'


The SSL/TLS certificate for so it can be served with HTTPS is managed through the AWS Certificate Manager.

Data Maintenance, Interoperability with other Projects, and Project Governance

Potential stakeholders in the Bioregistry have been interested in questions like:

  • Will the service still be running in 10 years?
  • Who makes technical decisions about how the web application?
  • Who makes curation decisions about the underlying registry?
  • Should there be acceptance criteria for new entries, such as a minimum metadata standard or assessment of impact?
  • How will the Bioregistry avoid the pitfalls of a closed curation process like the one implemented by
  • How should inevitable prefix/namespace collisions be handled?
  • ... and many more

These questions do not have easy answers and apply to most databases, software, and web applications in the life sciences. However, we have begun to explicitly codify our contribution guidelines and governance policies to address these points. If you would like to be part of this discussion and/or development of these policies, please join us on the OBO Community Slack workspace's #prefixes channel.