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Command-line utilities to assist in managing Galaxy servers

Project description

gravity - Galaxy Server Administration

A process manager (supervisor) and management tools for Galaxy servers.

Installing this will give you two executables, galaxyctl which is used to manage the starting, stopping, and logging of Galaxy’s various processes, and galaxy, which can be used to run a Galaxy server in the foreground.


Python 3.7 or later is required. Gravity can be installed independently of Galaxy, but please read the section on Galaxy Integration below.

To install:

$ pip install gravity

To make your life easier, you are encourged to install into a virtualenv. The easiest way to do this is with Python’s built-in venv module:

$ python3 -m venv ~/gravity
$ . ~/gravity/bin/activate

By default, Gravity will store its state, configuration, and log files in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/galaxy-gravity, where $XDG_CONFIG_HOME typically defaults to ~/.config. You can change this with the --state-dir option to the Gravity commands, or by setting $GRAVITY_STATE_DIR in your environment.

Galaxy 22.01 Integration

Gravity was originally designed to support managing multiple Galaxy (as well as Galaxy Reports and Tool Shed) servers on a single host, but hides some of this complexity from you if you are working with a single Galaxy server. Additionally, Galaxy 22.01 has added Gravity as a dependency, and changes have been made to Gravity to support this mode of operation.

  • Gravity 0.9.0 has dropped support for running Galaxy with uWSGI in favor of gunicorn and FastAPI.
  • Gravity 0.9.0 cannot be used with Galaxy versions older than 22.01.
  • As of Galaxy 22.01, Gravity is automatically installed into Galaxy’s virtualenv by Galaxy’s setup scripts (as called by
  • Galaxy’s setup scripts as of 22.01 also set $GRAVITY_STATE_DIR to <galaxy_root>/database/gravity when running Galaxy from the source directory. This keeps each Galaxy instance’s Gravity configuration separate.


If running from the root of a Galaxy source tree, you can start and run Galaxy in the foreground with:

$ galaxy
Registered galaxy config: /home/nate/work/galaxy/config/galaxy.yml
Creating or updating service gunicorn
Creating or updating service celery
Creating or updating service celery-beat
celery: added process group
2022-01-20 14:44:24,619 INFO spawned: 'celery' with pid 291651
celery-beat: added process group
2022-01-20 14:44:24,620 INFO spawned: 'celery-beat' with pid 291652
gunicorn: added process group
2022-01-20 14:44:24,622 INFO spawned: 'gunicorn' with pid 291653
celery                           STARTING
celery-beat                      STARTING
gunicorn                         STARTING
==> /home/nate/work/galaxy/database/gravity/log/gunicorn.log <==
...log output follows...

Galaxy will continue to run and output logs to stdout until terminated with CTRL+C.

The galaxy command is actually a shortcut for three separate steps: 1. register your Galaxy configuration file (galaxy.yml) with Gravity, 2. write out the process manager configurations, and 3. start and run Galaxy in the foreground using the process manager (supervisor). You can perform these steps separately (and in this example, start Galaxy as a backgrounded daemon instead of in the foreground):

$ galaxyctl register config/galaxy.yml
Registered galaxy config: /home/nate/work/galaxy/config/galaxy.yml
$ galaxyctl update
Creating or updating service gunicorn
Creating or updating service celery
Creating or updating service celery-beat
$ galaxyctl start
celery                           STARTING
celery-beat                      STARTING
gunicorn                         STARTING
Log files are in /home/nate/work/galaxy/database/gravity/log

When running as a daemon, the stop subcommand stops your Galaxy server:

$ galaxyctl stop
celery-beat: stopped
gunicorn: stopped
celery: stopped
All processes stopped, supervisord will exit
Shut down

Once a Galaxy configuration file has been registered with Gravity, it doesn’t matter where you call galaxy or galaxyctl from.


The following options in the gravity section of galaxy.yml can be used to control Gravity:: unset are shown):

# Configuration for Gravity process manager.
# ``uwsgi:`` section will be ignored if Galaxy is started via Gravity commands (e.g ``./``, ``galaxy`` or ``galaxyctl``).

  # Specify Galaxy's root directory.
  # Gravity will attempt to find the root directory, but you can set the directory explicitly with this option.
  # galaxy_root:

  # Set to a directory that should contain log files for the processes controlled by Gravity.
  # If not specified defaults to ``<state_dir>/logs``.
  # log_dir:

  # Set to Galaxy's virtualenv directory.
  # If not specified, Gravity assumes all processes are on PATH.
  # virtualenv:

  # Select the application server.
  # ``gunicorn`` is the default application server.
  # ``unicornherder`` is a production-oriented manager for (G)unicorn servers that automates zero-downtime Galaxy server restarts,
  # similar to uWSGI Zerg Mode used in the past.
  # Valid options are: gunicorn, unicornherder
  # app_server: gunicorn

  # Override the default instance name.
  # this is hidden from you when running a single instance.
  # instance_name: _default_

  # Configuration for Gunicorn.

    # The socket to bind. A string of the form: ``HOST``, ``HOST:PORT``, ``unix:PATH``, ``fd://FD``. An IP is a valid HOST.
    # bind: localhost:8080

    # Controls the number of Galaxy application processes Gunicorn will spawn.
    # Increased web performance can be attained by increasing this value.
    # If Gunicorn is the only application on the server, a good starting value is the number of CPUs * 2 + 1.
    # 4-12 workers should be able to handle hundreds if not thousands of requests per second.
    # workers: 1

    # Gunicorn workers silent for more than this many seconds are killed and restarted.
    # Value is a positive number or 0. Setting it to 0 has the effect of infinite timeouts by disabling timeouts for all workers entirely.
    # If you disable the ``preload`` option workers need to have finished booting within the timeout.
    # timeout: 300

    # Extra arguments to pass to Gunicorn command line.
    # extra_args:

    # Use Gunicorn's --preload option to fork workers after loading the Galaxy Application.
    # Consumes less memory when multiple processes are configured.
    # preload: true

  # Configuration for Celery Processes.

    # Number of Celery Workers to start.
    # concurrency: 2

    # Log Level to use for Celery Worker.
    # Valid options are: DEBUG, INFO, WARNING, ERROR
    # loglevel: DEBUG

    # Queues to join
    # queues: celery,galaxy.internal,galaxy.external

    # Pool implementation
    # Valid options are: prefork, eventlet, gevent, solo, processes, threads
    # pool: threads

    # Extra arguments to pass to Celery command line.
    # extra_args:

  # Configuration for gx-it-proxy.

    # Set to true to start gx-it-proxy
    # enable: false

    # Public-facing IP of the proxy
    # ip: localhost

    # Public-facing port of the proxy
    # port: 4002

    # Routes file to monitor.
    # Should be set to the same path as ``interactivetools_map`` in the ``galaxy:`` section.
    # sessions: database/interactivetools_map.sqlite

    # Include verbose messages in gx-it-proxy
    # verbose: true

    # Forward all requests to IP.
    # This is an advanced option that is only needed when proxying to remote interactive tool container that cannot be reached through the local network.
    # forward_ip:

    # Forward all requests to port.
    # This is an advanced option that is only needed when proxying to remote interactive tool container that cannot be reached through the local network.
    # forward_port:

    # Rewrite location blocks with proxy port.
    # This is an advanced option that is only needed when proxying to remote interactive tool container that cannot be reached through the local network.
    # reverse_proxy: false

  # Configuration for tusd server (
  # The ``tusd`` binary must be installed manually and made available on PATH (e.g in galaxy's .venv/bin directory).

    # Enable tusd server.
    # If enabled, you also need to set up your proxy as outlined in
    # enable: false

    # Host to bind the tusd server to
    # host: localhost

    # Port to bind the tusd server to
    # port: 1080

    # Directory to store uploads in.
    # Must match ``tus_upload_store`` setting in ``galaxy:`` section.
    # upload_dir:

    # Extra arguments to pass to tusd command line.
    # extra_args:

  # Configure dynamic handlers in this section.
  # See for details.
  # handlers: {}

Galaxy Job Handlers

Gravity has limited support for reading Galaxy’s job configuration: it can read statically configured job handlers in the job_conf.xml file, but cannot read the newer YAML-format job configuration, or the job configuration inline from galaxy.yml. Improved support for reading Galaxy’s job configuration is planned, but for the time being, Gravity will run standalone Galaxy job handler processes if you:

  1. Set job_handler_count to a number greater than 0. NOTE: You must also explicitly set the job handler assignment method to db-skip-locked or db-transaction-isolation to prevent the web process from also handling jobs. This is the preferred method for specifying job handlers.
  2. Define static <handler id="..."/> handlers in the XML-format job configuration file.

Configuration Precedence

Gravity’s configuration is defined in Galaxy’s configuration file to be easy and familiar for Galaxy administrators, but Gravity maintains its own state in $GRAVITY_STATE_DIR/configstate.yaml. If set, the options in galaxy.yml will override Gravity’s saved state whenever galaxyctl update is run, but if later unset, then the persisted values in Gravity’s saved state are used.

The exception is the values of app_server and job_handler_*, which will revert to default values if unset in galaxy.yml, because Gravity dynamically adds and removes services based on the Galaxy configuration by design.


Use galaxyctl --help for help. Subcommands also support --help, e.g. galaxy register --help


Register a Galaxy server config (galaxy.yml) with Gravity. Does not update or start. Run galaxyctl update after registering to apply changes.


List config files registered with the process manager.


Deregister a Galaxy server config, Gravity will no longer manage this Galaxy instance. Run galaxyctl update after deregistering to apply changes.


Start and run Galaxy and associated processes in daemonized (background) mode, or -f to run in the foreground and follow log files. The galaxy command is a shortcut for galaxyctl start -f.

If no config files are registered and you run galaxyctl start from the root of a Galaxy source tree, it automatically runs the equivalent of:

$ galaxyctl register config/galaxy.yml  # or galaxy.yml.sample if galaxy.yml does not exist
$ galaxyctl update
$ galaxyctl start


Stop daemonized Galaxy server processes. If no processes remain running after this step (which should be the case when working with a single Galaxy instance), supervisord will terminate.


Restart Galaxy server processes. This is done in a relatively “brutal” fashion: processes are signaled (by supervisor) to exit, and then are restarted. See the graceful subcommand to restart gracefully.


Restart Galaxy with minimal interruption. If running with gunicorn this means holding the web socket open while restarting (connections to Galaxy will block). If running with unicornherder, a new Galaxy application will be started and the old one shut down only once the new one is accepting connections. A graceful restart with unicornherder should be transparent to clients.


Figure out what has changed in configs, which could be:

  • changes to the Gravity configuration options in galaxy.yml
  • adding or removing handlers in job_conf.xml

This may cause service restarts if there are any changes.

Any needed changes to supervisor configs will be performed and then supervisorctl update will be called.

update is called automatically for the start, stop, restart, and graceful subcommands.


Stop all processes and cause supervisord to terminate. Similar to stop but there is no ambiguity as to whether supervisord remains running.


Pass through directly to supervisor. Run galaxyctl supervisorctl to invoke the supervisorctl shell, or galaxyctl supervisorctl [command] to call a supervisorctl command directly. See the supervisor documentation or galaxyctl supervisorctl help for help.


List known (configured) Galaxy instances and services.


Show stored configuration details for the named config file.


If your galaxy.yml has moved, you can update its path in Gravity’s saved state with this command.


As discussed in the Configuration section, Gravity maintains a state file that also acts as a configuration of sorts. Administrators deploying Galaxy with a deployment tool (e.g. Ansible) can take advantage of this to deploy a Gravity state file as part of their Galaxy deployment. See the $GRAVITY_STATE_DIR/configstate.yaml file after performing a register and update command to see what this file looks like, or below for an example. Keep in mind that running galaxyctl commands after changing the Galaxy configuration can cause changes to the state file because it was not originally intended to be user-maintainable. See Issue #6 for discussion and development related to this, as we seek to provide a more consistent experience in working with Gravity’s configuration.


A configstate.yaml file for a Galaxy service might look like:

    config_type: galaxy
    instance_name: _default_
      app_server: gunicorn
      log_dir: /home/nate/work/galaxy/database/gravity/log
      bind: 'localhost:8080'
      galaxy_root: /home/nate/work/galaxy
    - config_type: galaxy
      service_type: gunicorn
      service_name: gunicorn
    - config_type: galaxy
      service_type: celery
      service_name: celery
    - config_type: galaxy
      service_type: celery-beat
      service_name: celery-beat







  • Merge galaxycfg and galaxyadm commands to galaxy.


  • Allow for passing names of individual services directly to supervisorctl via the start, stop, and restart methods.
  • Fix a bug where uWSGI would not start when using the automatic virtualenv install method.


  • Version bump because I deleted the 0.8 files from PyPI, and despite the fact that it lets you delete them, it doesn’t let you upload once they have been uploaded once…


  • Add auto-register to galaxy start if it’s called from the root (or subdirectory) of a Galaxy root directory.
  • Make galaxycfg remove accept instance names as params in addition to config file paths.
  • Use the same hash generated for an instance name as the hash for a generated virtualenv name, so virtualenvs are more easily identified as belonging to a config.
  • Renamed from galaxyadmin to gravity (thanks John Chilton).


  • Added the galaxyadm subcommand graceful on a suggestion from Nicola Soranzo.
  • Install uWSGI into the config’s virtualenv if requested.
  • Removed any dependence on Galaxy and eggs.
  • Moved project to its own repository from the Galaxy clone I’d been working from.


  • Works in progress as part of the Galaxy code.

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