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User guide


Welcome to the user documentation for the ELIXIR Cloud & AAI ecosystem. With this powerful set of services, you'll be able to easily access cloud resources and send analysis pipelines to your data with just a few simple commands. Imagine being able to run complex genomic analyses on massive datasets without worrying about infrastructure limitations or having to manage complex server environments. The GA4GH Cloud APIs give you access to powerful tools and resources that allow you to focus on your research goals, not IT.

The GA4GH (Global Alliance for Genomics and Health) cloud APIs are a set of standard APIs that provide a common interface for accessing genomic data and tools across different cloud providers. These APIs are essential for enabling genomic data sharing and collaboration, and they have been adopted by major cloud providers such as Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services. In this documentation, we'll cover four main GA4GH APIs that you'll be using: the Workflow Execution Service (WES), the Task Execution Service (TES), the Data Repository Service (DRS), and the Tool Registry Service (TRS). The WES API allows you to define and execute workflows, while the TES API allows you to execute individual tasks within those workflows. The DRS API provides a way to access and download genomic data, and the TRS API enables the discovery of genomic analysis tools.

Whether you are a bioinformatician or a data scientist, this documentation will provide you with all the information you need to start using ELIXIR's GA4GH cloud services ecosystem and harness the power of cloud computing for your genomic data analysis needs. Let's get started!

ELIXIR Cloud & AAI deployments

The ELIXIR Cloud & AAI group manages different services and appliocations as part of the ELIXIR cloud framework. Currently, these services are temporarily listed in a dedicated services list applications. In the mid-term, all services instances will be registered in the ELIXIR Cloud Registry, an implementation of the GA4GH Service Registry API.

Task Execution Service (TES)

The GA4GH TES specification is a standard interface that enables interoperability between workflow management systems and execution engines. The TES specification provides a uniform way to submit and monitor tasks to any execution engine that implements the specification, allowing users to easily switch between workflow management systems or execution engines without rewriting their workflows. Typical use cases are

  • Scenario 1: A researcher wants to run a workflow locally. The workflow contains some resource-intensive steps, such as requirements for GPUs or many cores. Using TES as a backend, the researcher can execute the workflow locally and also send the resource-intensive tasks to cloud servers for execution.
  • Scenario 2: A researcher wants to run a workflow that involves processing data that is stored in cloud locations. Using TES would allow individual tasks to be sent to the compute locations associated with each storage location. This may be relevant if the data provider does not allow files to be downloaded to a central location or if it is not technically feasible.

The TES specification defines a HTTP API for submitting and monitoring tasks that includes endpoints for creating, querying, updating, and canceling tasks. Tasks are defined as JSON objects that include input and output files, a command to execute, and any environment variables or resources required by the task. The TES specification also includes mechanisms for handling task dependencies and retrying failed tasks. Popular TES implementations are Funnel and TESK.

Several popular workflow management systems, including cwl-tes, Snakemake and Nextflow, have implemented the TES specification, allowing users to easily run their workflows on any execution engine that supports TES.


Snakemake supports TES v1.0 since version 5.28.0, as described in the Snakemake documentation. Snakemake executes individual tasks as separate workflows that execute only one or a few rules. When using TES, it is recommended to use additional remote storage to store input and output files. By default, Snakemake TES tasks are executed using the official Snakemake container image in the same version as the original Snakemake call. To use specific tools, conda environments should be appended to the rules. A demo workflow is available here.


A demo workflow is available here.


Under construction

More info coming soon...

Workflow Execution Service (WES)

The GA4GH WES is a standard specification protocol for executing and monitoring bioinformatics workflows. It allows researchers to easily execute and manage complex analysis pipelines across multiple computing platforms and institutions. The WES specification provides a unified API for describing workflow inputs and outputs, monitoring job status and progress, and managing data transfers. With this specification, users can build scalable, reproducible, and interoperable genomics workflows, enabling collaboration across institutions and improving data sharing. Two use cases for the GA4GH WES specification are:

  • Scenario 1: A researcher wants to analyze a large dataset of genomic data using a specific analysis pipeline. With the WES specification, the researcher can easily define the inputs and parameters for the pipeline, select a computing platform that meets their requirements, and submit the job for execution. They can then monitor the progress of the job and receive notifications when the job is complete. This allows the researcher to focus on analyzing the results rather than managing the underlying infrastructure.

  • Scenario 2: A clinical laboratory needs to process patient samples for genetic testing. The laboratory can use the WES specification to define the analysis pipeline and integrate it with its LIMS. This allows the laboratory to automate the processing of samples, reducing errors and turnaround time.

Data Repository Service (DRS)

Under construction

More info coming soon...

Tool Registry Service (TRS)

Under construction

More info coming soon...