AWS Public Sector Blog

Quickly deploy a production-ready REDCap environment on AWS

AWS CloudFormation templates are now available for nonprofit organizations to deploy a production-ready REDCap environment in 20 minutes, increasing researchers’ agility and reducing the cost of electronically capturing research survey information. This automation deploys the latest REDCap software on secure, highly available AWS infrastructure and includes the ability to utilize the REDCap “Easy Upgrade” feature. With this automation and architecture, researchers can deploy and manage REDCap with a click of a button, without the need for specialized IT skills

REDCap (Research, Electronic, Data Capture) is an NIH-funded, free, secure web application for building and managing online surveys and databases used by over 3,000 institutions and is cited in more than 6,000 journal articles. While REDCap can be used to collect virtually any type of data (including in 21 CFR Part 11, FISMA, and HIPAA-compliant environments), it is specifically geared to support online or offline data capture for research studies and operations. The REDCap Consortium, a vast support network of collaborators, is composed of thousands of active institutional partners in over one hundred countries who utilize and support REDCap in various ways.

“The AWS CloudFormation template will truly be game-changing for many organizations running REDCap,” said Rob Taylor, REDCap Team Manager and Lead Developer, Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR). “There is so much excitement in the REDCap community regarding this new option because it alleviates much of the IT burden, such as reducing effort for patching and backups, while offering a secure, scalable environment at a low cost.”


The features of using this architecture include:

  • A complete and ready-to-use REDCap environment is automatically deployed in about 20 minutes
  • REDCap is deployed in an isolated, three-tiered Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
  • The environment enables automatic scaling up and down based on load
  • Data is encrypted by default at rest and in flight (in accordance with HIPAA)
  • Managed services are used that provide automated patching and maintenance of OS, middleware, and database software
  • Database backups are performed automatically to enable operational and disaster recovery
  • The design results in a reasonable monthly cost

A high-level diagram showing how the different functions of REDCap map to AWS Services is shown below.

“We think that organizations will be more likely to adopt REDCap because the AWS CloudFormation template makes hosting REDCap so easy and affordable,” said Rob.

Get started with AWS CloudFormation in a few quick steps

Visit the GitHub repository, which contains AWS CloudFormation templates to automatically deploy a REDCap environment that adheres to AWS architectural best practices. And learn more about AWS for research here.

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