Running RSpace on Docker

Running RSpace using Docker

This documentation is obsolete. If you're interested in running RSpace on Docker then please email for upto date documentation.

For RSpace versions 1.69 and higher, it is possible to run RSpace using Docker. This greatly simplifies installation and enables a running, fully featured RSpace in a few minutes.

Running RSpace on Docker is useful for the following cases:

  • RSpace Enterprise Edition customers' engineers who are working with the RSpace API, but who do not have access to an institutional RSpace test instance to try your applications / scripts / integrations against.
  • Potential customers who want to evaluate RSpace on-premises and want to get started easily and quickly.
  • Potential customers working exclusively in Windows or Mac environment that we don't support native deployment for.

We are not yet recommending using RSpace-on-Docker for a full production system; we are still evaluating data backup and restoration SOPs.


RSpace-on-docker runs as 4 separate, networked containers:

  • MySQL Database
  • RSpace web application
  • Aspose document converter
  • Snapgene DNA sequence viewer

All persistent data (database, files and logs) use docker volumes. The configuration file is kept on the host and mounted into the rspace-web container. This enables the configuration file to be easily edited and reapplied following a docker restart.


In order to start running RSpace on docker, you'll need to:

  1. install docker itself and docker-compose.
  2. Ask us for an access key to our Research Space Dockerhub account, and a license key for RSpace itself.

Running RSpace

A. We'll send you 3 files. These should all be put in the same directory.

  1. docker-compose.yaml configures the RSpace Docker application
  2. .env with the current release tags defined for the various docker images
  3. with your RSpace license key set.

B. Now, create a plain-text file called rspace-vars.env in the same directory and add database credentials for the RSpace database. These will be used to set the database credentials at initial launch. You can change these example values to more secure credentials of your choice.




C. Login to Dockerhub using the docker CLI and the credentials we sent you.

docker login

then you can launch

docker-compose -p rspace up -d

Initial launch will take a few minutes, subsequent launches will be much faster. You can inspect progress in the RSpace log files. Run:

#host >docker ps | grep rspace-web to get the RSpace web container name, then

#host>docker exec -it <containername> bash to enter the rspace-web container, then

#container> tail -f /media/rspace/logs-audit/error.log to view the error log stream

On first run, before RSpace starts, the database initialises and creates the RSpace database and tables. This can take a few minutes, so the error.log file in the rspace-web container won't be present immediately

Once running, RSpace will be available on port 8080.


Please get in touch if you have any problems launching RSpace using the steps described, via our usual support channels.

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