Installing Pulsar

There are two primary ways to deploy Pulsar. The newer and preferred method is to install Pulsar from PyPI using the standard Python tools of pip and virtualenv.

The older method also requires these tools to install Pulsar’s dependencies but Pulsar itself is served directly from a clone of the Pulsar source tree - this mirrors how Galaxy is most typically deployed. This may be beneficial during Pulsar development and is required for certain experimental features such as Mesos support.

Both methods presented here require a pip installation availabe for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X in addition to a Python 2 runtime (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X).

These instructions also require virtualenv. Open a console on your machine and type virtualenv - if the command is missing you will need to install it. It can be installed using [sudo] pip install virtualenv.

From PyPI

Start by creating a directory for the pulsar configuration files and setting up a virtualenv to install Pulsar into using the following three commands.:

mkdir pulsar
cd pulsar
virtualenv venv

Next, activate this newly created virtualenv. From a Linux or MacOS X terminal this can be done with the command . venv/bin/activate and in Windows you can type venv\Scripts\activate.

Next install pulsar using pip.:

pip install pulsar-app

Next setup required this directory for use with Pulsar by running the following command.:


The pulsar-config script can bootstrap various Pulsar deployment options, run pulsar-config --help for full details. For instance, Pulsar can be configured to monitor a message queue and skip the web server configuration - enable this by passing --mq to pulsar-config. Another useful option is --supervisor which will generate a Supervisord configuration for this directory and install Supervisord.

pulsar-config installs a few files into this directory. app.yml contains Pulsar configuration options and server.ini contains web server related information (it will not exist if configured --mq).:

pulsar [--daemon]

Under Linux and Mac OS X the --daemon argument can be supplied to run Pulsar as a daemon and pulsar --stop-daemon. If start is not supplied, Pulsar will just run in the foreground (the only option for Windows).

The Pulsar deployment can be tested by running the following command, which will submit an example job and wait for its completion.:


If Pulsar is not running on the default port 8913, pulsar-check should be called with an explicit URL using the argument --url=http://localhost:8913. Likewise if a private token has been configured it can be supplied using --private_token=<token>.

From Source

Alternatively, Pulsar can be obtained from GitHub using the following command and ran directly from the source tree (like Galaxy is traditionally deployed):

git clone

The following section will assume your current working directory is the newly created pulsar directory.

cd pulsar

Pulsar Dependencies

Several Python packages must be installed to run the Pulsar server. These can either be installed into a Python virtualenv or into your system wide Python environment either using pip or easy_install. Combining the virtualenv approach with pip based installation works fine most of the time, but in the past easy_install-based installation was slightly more robust under Windows and requires only a Python installation so those instructions are included as well.

This section describes setting up the minimal dependencies required for running a standalone Pulsar web server. Additional dependencies are required for features such submitting to a cluster (drmaa), communicating via message queue (kombu), etc…. Most of the time these can just be installed with pip install <dependency_name>. Pulsar’s documentation about these functionality


  1. Install virtualenv (if not already available):

    [sudo] pip install virtualenv
  2. Create a new Python virtual environment called .venv in the pulsar root directory:

    virtualenv .venv
  3. Activate environment (varies by OS).

From a Linux or MacOS terminal:

. .venv/bin/activate

From a Windows terminal:

  1. Install required dependencies into this virtual environment:

    pip install -r requirements.txt


Install python setuptools for your platform, more details on how to do this can be found here.

The easy_install command line application will be installed as part of setuptools. Use the following command to install the needed packages via easy_install:

easy_install paste wsgiutils PasteScript PasteDeploy webob six psutil pyyaml

Launching Pulsar

Before launching Pulsar, it may make sense to copy over the sample configuration files. server.ini is used to describe web server related properties and app.yml is used for Pulsar application-related configuration files.

cp server.ini.sample server.ini cp app.yml.sample app.yml

Pulsar should now be launchable via the script under Linux or Mac OS X or using the run.bat script under Windows. So under Linux or Mac OS X, Pulsar can be launched in daemon mode as:

./ --daemon

This daemon can be stopped using ./ --stop-daemon. When run as a daemon, Pulsar will log to the file paster.log.

Under Windows, Pulsar can be started using:


and will run as long as that process is alive and log to standard output.


If Pulsar’s server.ini has been modified and it is not running on the default port 8913, should be called with an explicit URL using the argument --url=http://localhost:8913. Likewise if a private token has been configured it can be supplied using --private_token=<token>. server.ini settings can be overridden by setting environment variables, just as with Galaxy, by prefixing the config setting name with PULSAR_CONFIG_OVERRIDE. For example PULSAR_CONFIG_OVERRIDE_PRIVATE_TOKEN. Defaults can also be set via environment variables by just prefixing with PULSAR_CONFIG. For example, PULSAR_CONFIG_PRIVATE_TOKEN.

A Note on

If any of circus, chassuette, or uWSGI are installed into Pulsar’s virtual environment more sophisticated web servers will launched via this command. See the script for more details.