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Version: 23.2.0

AWS prerequisites

This page describes the infrastructure and other prerequisites for deploying Tower on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Tower container images

Nextflow Tower is distributed as a collection of Docker containers available through the Seqera Labs container registry ( Contact support to get your container access credentials. Once you have received your credentials, log in to the registry using these steps:

  1. Retrieve the username and password you received from Seqera Labs support.

  2. Run the following Docker command to authenticate to the registry (using the username and password values copied in step 1):

    docker login -u '/<USERNAME>/' -p '/\PASSWORD>/'

  3. Pull the Nextflow Tower container images with the following commands:

docker pull {{ images.tower_be_image }}

docker pull {{ images.tower_fe_image }}

The Seqera Labs container registry is the default Tower container image registry from version 22.4. Use of the AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Tower image registries in existing installations is still supported but will be deprecated for new installations starting June 2023. See here for steps to use the Seqera Labs private AWS Elastic Container Registry.

Mandatory prerequisites

SMTP server

If you do not have an email server, you can use Amazon Simple Email Service.

Amazon blocks EC2 traffic over port 25 by default. Ensure your integration uses a port that can successfully reach your SMTP server.

MySQL database

An external database (i.e. external to your Docker Compose or Kubernetes deployment) is highly recommended for production deployments. If you don't have your own database service, you can use Amazon Relational Database Service.

If you decide to use an external database, you must create a MySQL user and database manually. See Configuration for more details.

EC2 instance (Docker Compose)

An EC2 instance is required to deploy Tower via Docker Compose. Refer to the detailed instructions to provision an EC2 instance for this purpose.

EKS cluster (Kubernetes)

An Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) cluster is required to deploy Tower via Kubernetes. See the EKS documentation to provision your own cluster. Your EKS cluster must satisfy the following requirements:

The ingress that we provide for EKS assumes that your cluster supports:

  1. ALB provisioning via the AWS Load Balancer Controller
  2. ALB integration with the Amazon Certificate Manager

Additionally, the ingress assumes the presence of SSL certificates, DNS resolution, and ALB logging.

If you have chosen not to use some or all of these features, you will need to modify the manifest accordingly before applying it to the cluster.

Optional prerequisites

SSL certificate

An SSL certificate is required for your Tower instance to handle HTTPS traffic.

If you do not have a pre-existing SSL certificate, you can request or import an SSL certificate into the Amazon Certificate Manager (ACM).

From Tower 22.1.1, HTTP-only implementations must set the TOWER_ENABLE_UNSAFE_MODE=true environment variable in the Tower hosting infrastructure to enable user login.


DNS is required to support human-readable domain names and load-balanced traffic.

If you do not have access to a pre-existing DNS service, you can use Amazon Route 53.

S3 bucket for Application Load Balancer (ALB) logs

ALB logs can be stored in an S3 Bucket.

If you do not have a pre-configured S3 Bucket for ALB access log storage, you will need to specify and configure a target Bucket.

Detailed instructions

This section provides step-by-step instructions for some commonly used AWS services for Tower deployment. See the AWS documentation for up-to-date instructions, and contact AWS support if you have any issues with provisioning AWS resources.

Fetch Tower config values from AWS Parameter Store

From Tower version 23.1, you can retrieve Tower configuration values remotely from the AWS Parameter Store.

  1. Configure AWS authentication to grant AWS Parameter Store access on your local host.

  2. Retrieve the Tower container images and install Tower per the instructions at the top of this page.

  3. The default value for is tower-app. This can be changed in your tower.yml configuration file. Note that your application name must be specified in the path to your configuration values in AWS Parameter Store (see step 5 below).

  4. Set the TOWER_ENABLE_AWS_SSM environment variable to true. Alternatively, add the value aws-ssm to the TOWER_ENABLE_PLATFORMS variable.

  5. Add configuration parameters to the AWS Parameter Store individually, using the format /config/<application_name>/<cfg_path> : <cfg_value>. For example:

    /config/tower-app/ : "WARN"
  6. Start or restart your Tower instance to confirm that the configuration value is fetched. The following entries should appear in your backend log:

    [main] - INFO  i.m.context.DefaultBeanContext - Reading bootstrap environment configuration
    [main] - INFO i.m.d.c.c.DistributedPropertySourceLocator - Resolved 2 configuration sources from client: compositeConfigurationClient(AWS Parameter Store)

Amazon SES

If you're using Simple Email Service in sandbox mode, ensure that both the sender and the receiver email addresses are verified via AWS SES. Note that sandbox is not recommended for production use. See the AWS docs for instructions to move out of the sandbox.

  1. Navigate to the Amazon Simple Email Service console.

  2. In the navigation menu, select SMTP Settings.

  3. Select Create my SMTP Credentials

  4. Select Create.

  5. Select Show User SMTP Credentials to copy your credentials, or select Download Credentials.

The credentials (username and password) will not be shown to you again after this instance.

  1. You will be automatically redirected to the IAM dashboard. Log back in to the Amazon SES Console.

  2. Select Email Addresses in the navigation menu. Then, select Verify a new Email Address.

  3. A pop-up asking for your email should automatically appear. Once you type in your email address and select Verify This Email Address, you should receive a confirmation email from Amazon SES to confirm email address ownership.

  4. Open the verification link in the message.

The verification link is only valid for 24 hours after your original request for verification.

You can now use Amazon SES to send email from this address.

To avoid emails sent from SES being flagged as spam, see here.

See the AWS documentation for more options, such as setting up an Easy DKIM for a Domain or Authentication Email with SPF.

Amazon RDS

  1. Open the Amazon RDS console.

  2. Select Create database -> Standard create -> MySQL.

  3. Under Edition, select MySQL Community and any version under 5.7.x, or 8.0.x.

  4. Enter the DB cluster identifier (e.g., nftower-db).

  5. Enter the Master username, or keep the default.

  6. Enter the Master password.

    • To use an automatically generated master password, select Auto generate a password.
    • To use a custom master password, deselect Auto generate a password and enter your password in Master password and Confirm password.
  7. Under Instance configuration, select the DB instance class and instance type.

  8. Under Connectivity, select the correct VPC security group. Confirm this with your AWS administrator.

  9. Under Additional configuration, enter the Initial database name (e.g., tower).

  10. Select Create database.

After your database is created:

  1. Update the inbound rules for the underlying EC2 instance to allow MySQL connections.

  2. Update TOWER_DB_URL in your configuration value with the database hostname.

Amazon EC2

If you have never set up an Amazon EC2 instance for Linux, refer to this guide to get started with Amazon EC2.

  1. Open the AWS Management console.

  2. Log in as an IAM user with your credentials.

  3. Under AWS services, select All Services.

  4. Under Compute, select EC2.

  5. Select Instances, then Launch instances.

  6. You will be asked to choose an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). Scroll to the middle of the page and select Amazon Linux 2.

  7. Once you click Select, you will be redirected to Step 2: Choose an Instance Type.

  8. Scroll down and select either c5a.xlarge or c5.large — these provide 4 CPUs and 8GB of RAM.

  9. Select Next: Configure Instance Details.

  10. If required, configure the instance details settings. Then, select Next: Add Storage.

  11. The root storage should be 20GB. Configure this under Size (GiB).

  12. Select Add Tags (if required) to add case-sensitive key-value pairs (e.g., key = Name and value = Webserver).

  13. Select Next: Configure Security Group.

  14. Enter nftower-sg as the Security Group name.

  15. Optionally, you can enter a description for your Security Group's name.

  16. Configure the type of protocol settings. Note that the security group port must be configured to 8000.

  17. Select Review and Launch.

  18. Once you have reviewed your instance, select Launch.

  19. Select an existing key pair or create a new one in the pop-up that appears.

    If you already have an existing key pair, select Choose an existing key pair and choose from the available options in the drop-down menu.

    If you do not have a key pair yet, select Create a new keypair. Enter a name, then select Download Key Pair.

    Note: once you download the key pair, store it in a secure and accessible location. You will not be able to download the file again after it is created.

  20. Select Launch Instances.

  21. Use the key pair to connect to the server using SSH and its public IP address. Terminal-based SSH is easier to use than browser-based SSH for copying and pasting text.

  22. Enter the following commands to set up docker and docker-compose.

# Install and start the docker engine
sudo yum install docker git -y
sudo service docker start
sudo usermod -a -G docker ec2-user
sudo chkconfig docker on

# Setup docker-compose
sudo curl -L$(uname -s)-$(uname -m) -o /usr/local/bin/docker-compose
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/docker-compose
sudo mv /usr/local/bin/docker-compose /bin/docker-compose

Then, configure the AWS CLI and Docker as described in Tower container images. The AWS CLI (v1) is pre-installed in Amazon Linux.