Reduced functionality: 10th March – 16th April 2020

Update: The Ensembl and Ensembl Genomes services have now been restored following this period of reduced functionality.

What will be affected?

  • There will be a temporary loss of all tools, including VEP and BLAST, at the beginning and end of the migration period. Jobs will not be saved during the whole migration period.
  • Accounts will not be available
  • BLAT will not be available
  • Vertebrate archives from e88 to e98 inclusive and all non-vertebrate archives will not be available

Please see below for more details and ways to mitigate this downtime. If your service is not listed above then you should assume it will be available during this period.

VEP and other tools

We have an alternative server set up for VEP and other tools, such as BLAST, Assembly Converter and the LD Calculator. It is not possible for jobs to be copied between these servers. This means that if you have jobs saved to your session or account prior to the start of migration, you will not be able to see them during the migration, but they will come back once normal service resumes. Similarly, any jobs you run during the migration period will disappear when we return to the normal servers.

We recommend downloading the data from any jobs you wish to keep before the migration occurs, and during this period. Since accounts will not be available, you cannot save to your account.

We will advertise the time of the switch over in advance as any jobs that are running when it happens will be lost. We recommend that you resubmit any lost jobs after the switch. We will close the input forms so you cannot start any new jobs in the hour before the switch, but some larger jobs may still be running from before this.

If you are using the offline version of tools, such as the VEP, these will not be affected.

Accounts and configurations

If you have an Ensembl account, this will not be accessible during the migration, as these are not enabled on our back-up servers. You will not be able to access any saved bookmarks, jobs, custom tracks or configurations, or save any bookmarks, jobs, custom tracks or configurations within Ensembl during this time.

Our main servers and back-up servers will not communicate with each other. This means that if you have a session running at the time when we switch between the servers, any configuration you have set up will not be saved and you will need to reconfigure when you refresh or return to the page. This includes any custom data tracks that you are viewing in Ensembl, which will need to be re-attached. We recommend taking a screenshot of your current configuration so that it can be easily replicated.


The BLAST-like alignment tool, BLAT, which is the default nucleotide sequence search tool used by BLAST/BLAT in Ensembl, will not be available during the migration. Jobs will default to BLAST instead, which may mean jobs take longer to run. The BLAST/BLAT tool will experience the same server shift as VEP.


Some of our archive sites will be completely unavailable. You will not be able to access any archive websites for non-vertebrates. For vertebrates, archives e88-e98 inclusive will be inaccessible.

Why is this happening?

The EMBL-EBI data centres are moving to new premises. This means that the servers will be turned off, physically moved and reinstalled. While some of our services have alternative servers that can be used in the event of a data centre shutdown, some are only served by the single data centre and we have no way of providing them otherwise.

When exactly will this occur?

Shut-down will begin on the 10th March. Because of the distance to travel and the complex nature of the servers that need to be reconnected in the right way, we anticipate that services will start to come back online from the 16th April. We will communicate when things go down and as they are restored using this blog site, our dev and announce mailing lists and our Twitter and Facebook accounts.