Setting up shared BLAST for multiple users

There are several ways to set up shared BLAST databases for your organisation depending on what you have available. They are:

1. Geneious "Custom BLAST" on a network drive

As described in the post How can I BLAST to a local copy of the NCBI nr or nt databases, a local copy of the BLAST executables can easily be set up to search a local copy of any databases you need. This approach can be used to create shared databases by simply putting the BLAST executables and associated data on a network drive.

Each user can then follow the same instructions for setting up Custom BLAST to access the databases. Their CPU will do the work but that data will be centralised. It is possible that this could cause performance issues over the network though and you'll need to deal with ownership and ensure that your users don't try adding databases themselves.

It is also possible to create BLAST databases outside of Geneious, by running the BLAST+ executable from the command line and using the makeblastdb command.  Then put the formatted BLAST database files into the BLAST/data folder where your other custom BLAST databases are located and Geneious users will be able to see them when they run custom BLAST.  Note that if the database is formatted manually using makeblastdb, there will be no annotations on the resulting alignments. If it is formatted from within Geneious, then an extra file is created with the annotations so Geneious can put them back onto the alignments after a search.

2. Raw database files on a network drive

Another approach is to provide users with a set of sequences in FASTA format that they can create a Custom BLAST database from on their own machine.  You can update these as required but you'll then need to ensure that users recreate their databases with each update. 

3. Cloud BLAST 

NCBI provides a BLAST server image hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).  To use it, you must enable it on your own AWS account.  To connect to your cloud BLAST implementation from Geneious, go to Tools → Add/Remove Databases → Set Up BLAST Services.  Choose Add alternative BLAST server under the Services drop-down menu at the top of the dialog, and enter the address of your AWS instance. 


Cloud blast is preconfigured to require web authentication ( Authentication is supported in Geneious Prime 2019.1 onwards; users should enter their username and password in the Set up BLAST Services window as shown above.  If you wish to use cloud BLAST with Geneious R11.1 or Prime 2019.0 you will need to disable web authentication. 

This link provides instructions for setting up Cloud BLAST.  Cloud BLAST includes some of the NCBI databases (see here for a list).  You can also upload your own preformatted BLAST databases created with command-line blast+. 

AWS Cloud Blast cannot be used with Geneious R10 or earlier.

4. Geneious Server BLAST

Geneious Server is a software package that extends the capability of Geneious to take advantage of your existing enterprise level infrastructure. It comes at an additional cost and includes the ability to create and manage shared BLAST databases.




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