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What is "Phone Home" and how does it affect me?

CarneiroCarneiro Posts: 275Administrator, GATK Developer admin
edited March 2013 in FAQs

1. What it is and how it helps us improve the GATK

Since September, 2010, the GATK has had a "phone-home" feature that sends us information about each GATK run via the Broad filesystem (within the Broad) and Amazon's S3 cloud storage service (outside the Broad). This feature is enabled by default.

The information provided by the phone-home feature is critical in driving improvements to the GATK

  • By recording detailed information about each error that occurs, it enables GATK developers to identify and fix previously-unknown bugs in the GATK. We are constantly monitoring the errors our users encounter and do our best to fix those errors that are caused by bugs in our code.
  • It allows us to better understand how the GATK is used in practice and adjust our documentation and development goals for common use cases.
  • It gives us a picture of which versions of the GATK are in use over time, and how successful we've been at encouraging users to migrate from obsolete or broken versions of the GATK to newer, improved versions.
  • It tells us which tools are most commonly used, allowing us to monitor the adoption of newly-released tools and abandonment of outdated tools.
  • It provides us with a sense of the overall size of our user base and the major organizations/institutions using the GATK.

2. What information is sent to us

Below are two example GATK Run Reports showing exactly what information is sent to us each time the GATK phones home.

A successful run:

<GATK-run-report>
    <id>D7D31ULwTSxlAwnEOSmW6Z4PawXwMxEz</id>
    <start-time>2012/03/10 20.21.19</start-time>
    <end-time>2012/03/10 20.21.19</end-time>
    <run-time>0</run-time>
    <walker-name>CountReads</walker-name>
    <svn-version>1.4-483-g63ecdb2</svn-version>
    <total-memory>85000192</total-memory>
    <max-memory>129957888</max-memory>
    <user-name>depristo</user-name>
    <host-name>10.0.1.10</host-name>
    <java>Apple Inc.-1.6.0_26</java>
    <machine>Mac OS X-x86_64</machine>
    <iterations>105</iterations>
</GATK-run-report>

A run where an exception has occurred:

<GATK-run-report>
   <id>yX3AnltsqIlXH9kAQqTWHQUd8CQ5bikz</id>   
   <exception>
      <message>Failed to parse Genome Location string: 20:10,000,000-10,000,001x</message>
      <stacktrace class="java.util.ArrayList"> 
         <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.utils.GenomeLocParser.parseGenomeLoc(GenomeLocParser.java:377)</string>
         <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.utils.interval.IntervalUtils.parseIntervalArguments(IntervalUtils.java:82)</string>
         <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.commandline.IntervalBinding.getIntervals(IntervalBinding.java:106)</string>
         <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.gatk.GenomeAnalysisEngine.loadIntervals(GenomeAnalysisEngine.java:618)</string>
         <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.gatk.GenomeAnalysisEngine.initializeIntervals(GenomeAnalysisEngine.java:585)</string>
         <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.gatk.GenomeAnalysisEngine.execute(GenomeAnalysisEngine.java:231)</string>
         <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.gatk.CommandLineExecutable.execute(CommandLineExecutable.java:128)</string>
         <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.commandline.CommandLineProgram.start(CommandLineProgram.java:236)</string>
         <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.commandline.CommandLineProgram.start(CommandLineProgram.java:146)</string>
         <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.gatk.CommandLineGATK.main(CommandLineGATK.java:92)</string>
      </stacktrace>
      <cause>
         <message>Position: &apos;10,000,001x&apos; contains invalid chars.</message>
         <stacktrace class="java.util.ArrayList">
            <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.utils.GenomeLocParser.parsePosition(GenomeLocParser.java:411)</string>
            <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.utils.GenomeLocParser.parseGenomeLoc(GenomeLocParser.java:374)</string>
            <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.utils.interval.IntervalUtils.parseIntervalArguments(IntervalUtils.java:82)</string>
            <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.commandline.IntervalBinding.getIntervals(IntervalBinding.java:106)</string>
            <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.gatk.GenomeAnalysisEngine.loadIntervals(GenomeAnalysisEngine.java:618)</string>
            <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.gatk.GenomeAnalysisEngine.initializeIntervals(GenomeAnalysisEngine.java:585)</string>
            <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.gatk.GenomeAnalysisEngine.execute(GenomeAnalysisEngine.java:231)</string>
            <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.gatk.CommandLineExecutable.execute(CommandLineExecutable.java:128)</string>
            <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.commandline.CommandLineProgram.start(CommandLineProgram.java:236)</string>
            <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.commandline.CommandLineProgram.start(CommandLineProgram.java:146)</string>
            <string>org.broadinstitute.sting.gatk.CommandLineGATK.main(CommandLineGATK.java:92)</string>
         </stacktrace>
         <is-user-exception>false</is-user-exception>
      </cause>
      <is-user-exception>true</is-user-exception>
   </exception>
   <start-time>2012/03/10 20.19.52</start-time>
   <end-time>2012/03/10 20.19.52</end-time>
   <run-time>0</run-time>
   <walker-name>CountReads</walker-name>
   <svn-version>1.4-483-g63ecdb2</svn-version>
   <total-memory>85000192</total-memory>
   <max-memory>129957888</max-memory>
   <user-name>depristo</user-name>
   <host-name>10.0.1.10</host-name>
   <java>Apple Inc.-1.6.0_26</java>
   <machine>Mac OS X-x86_64</machine>
   <iterations>0</iterations>
</GATK-run-report>

Note that as of GATK 1.5 we no longer collect information about the command-line executed, the working directory, or tmp directory.

3. Disabling Phone Home

The GATK is currently in the process of evolving to require interaction with Amazon S3 as a normal part of each run. For this reason, and because the information contained in the GATK run reports is so critical in driving improvements to the GATK, we strongly discourage our users from disabling the phone-home feature.

At the same time, we recognize that some of our users do have legitimate reasons for needing to run the GATK with phone-home disabled, and we don't wish to make it impossible for these users to run the GATK.

Examples of legitimate reasons for disabling Phone Home

  • Technical reasons: Your local network might have restrictions in place that don't allow the GATK to access external resources, or you might need to run the GATK in a network-less environment.

  • Organizational reasons: Your organization's policies might forbid the dissemination of one or more pieces of information contained in the GATK run report.

For such users we have provided an -et NO_ET option in the GATK to disable the phone-home feature. To use this option in GATK 1.5 and later, you need to contact us to request a key. Instructions for doing so are below.

How to obtain and use a GATK key

To obtain a GATK key, please fill out the request form.

Running the GATK with a key is simple: you just need to append a -K your.key argument to your customary command line, where your.key is the path to the key file you obtained from us:

java -jar dist/GenomeAnalysisTK.jar \
    -T PrintReads \
    -I public/testdata/exampleBAM.bam \
    -R public/testdata/exampleFASTA.fasta \
    -et NO_ET \
    -K your.key

The -K argument is only necessary when running the GATK with the NO_ET option.

Troubleshooting key-related problems

  • Corrupt/Unreadable/Revoked Keys

If you get an error message from the GATK saying that your key is corrupt, unreadable, or has been revoked, please email '''gsahelp@broadinstitute.org''' to ask for a replacement key.

  • GATK Public Key Not Found

If you get an error message stating that the GATK public key could not be located or read, then something is likely wrong with your build of the GATK. If you're running the binary release, try downloading it again. If you're compiling from source, try doing an ant clean and re-compiling. If all else fails, please ask for help on our community forum.

What does GSA use Phone Home data for?

We use the phone home data for three main purposes. First, we monitor the input logs for errors that occur in the GATK, and proactively fix them in the codebase. Second, we monitor the usage rates of the GATK in general and specific versions of the GATK to explain how widely used the GATK is to funding agencies and other potential supporters. Finally, we monitor adoption rates of specific GATK tools to understand how quickly new tools reach our users. Many of these analyses require us to aggregate the data by unique user, which is why we still collect the username of the individual who ran the GATK (as you can see in the plots). Examples of all three uses are shown in the Tableau graphs below, which update each night and are sent to the GATK members each morning for review.

GATK_errors.png
1488 x 766 - 39K
GATK_trends.png
1488 x 766 - 50K
Common_tools_over_time.png
1478 x 766 - 68K
Post edited by Geraldine_VdAuwera on
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