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Last active Apr 26, 2017
What would you like to do?


The idea was to have a intermine prototype for dictybase, dictymine running with a basic Genes -> GO -> GO annotation with all the basic features up and running. And then try out a deploy to google cloud using my stack of docker and kuberntes


  • On the first day saw the new intermine UI redgenes which i set it up with a simple docker build.

    docker build --rm -t dictybase/redgenes

    and then run with

    docker run --rm -p 3000:3000 dictybase/redgenes

    As a first impression, it was polished, responsive and nicely designed with a good dose of animations. So, to get redgenes on cloud i just have to set up a helm chart later on. Anyway, moved on to backend and this is where the fun ended.

  • To make your mine, the intermine repository have to be checked out and then you work on that copy. It means, a fork have to be done with periodic merge from upstream. It also means possible conflict resolution during merges. Just wondering why not provide a bundled intermine core and release it as installable dependencies that every implementation could use it like a regular software.

    So is it a design decision or a technical limitation

    Anyway, backstore is probably going to help here.

  • For my first load and for no particular reason i wanted to load gene ontology. The instructions are pretty simple and straight forward. So, as usual i took a docker centric approach and planned to build it on a postgresql inside my local kubernetes cluster. In this way, the entire setup becomes cloud deployable from day one.

  • Here is the basic dockerfile.

    FROM openjdk:8-alpine
    MAINTAINER 'Siddhartha Basu<>'
    ARG user=cybersiddhu
    RUN apk update \
        && apk add apache-ant --update-cache --repository --allow-untrusted
    RUN apk add git perl
    RUN addgroup -g 1000 -S $user && adduser -G $user -D -u 1000 -S $user
    ENV ANT_HOME /usr/share/java/apache-ant 
    ENV ANT_OPTS "-server -XX:MaxPermSize=512M -Xmx5g -XX:+UseParallelGC -Xms2g -XX:SoftRefLRUPolicyMSPerMB=1 -XX:MaxHeapFreeRatio=99"
    USER $user

    Then volume mounted the checked out folder and just ran the commands interactively inside the container’s shell.

    docker run --rm -it -v ${PWD}:/intermine   dictybase/intermine-ready /bin/sh

    And the software stack

    • OpenJDK 8
    • Ant 1.9.7
    • Postgresql 9.5
  • The usual steps for starting intermine build, straight from the tutorial.

    • Create your mine workspace.

      bio/scripts/make_mine dictymine
    • Set up database configuration

    mkdir ${HOME}/.intermine
    cp /intermine/dictymine/ ${HOME}/.intermine/
    Edit the file as necessary.

    It would be great to make the location of this file(.intermine) configurable, something like using a environmental variable instead of a hardcoded location.

    Or if it’s possible to pass the credentials to ant on the fly using command line parameter.

    • Add your source in project.xml file for gene ontology.
        <source name="go" type="go">
            <property name="" location="/intermine/dictymine/data/ontology/go.obo"/>
    • Load the data
     ant clean build-db
     ant -v -Dsource=go

    Not fun part

    And this is where things went really really slow. I spend part of wednesday, almost full of thursday and friday to figured it out. At least, four to five runs of load of 4-5 hours could not finish the data loading, so i have stop it in the middle of it. The data finally got loaded in friday night(March 31st) after i changed to ANT_OPTS and gave it a high dose of memory. The line below

    ANT_OPTS "-server -XX:MaxPermSize=512M -Xmx5g -XX:+UseParallelGC -Xms2g -XX:SoftRefLRUPolicyMSPerMB=1 -XX:MaxHeapFreeRatio=99"

    particularly Xmx5g and Xms2g made it work. However, it still took 2 and half hours and almost all of the time went on to generate the transitive closures. It’s more or less the same issue reported in the mailing list a while back. Is this closure generation have to be that slow ? Can’t it be made better? I don’t know where it should be improved, but so far there’s no improvement in last 6 years.

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