Installation & Technical Requirements

Note: REDCap is server software, so it is not something that a user might install on their computer. REDCap must be installed on a local web server by your institutional IT staff, after which users will then be able to access REDCap over the web in their device’s web browser.

Cloud-based hosting vs On-premise hosting for REDCap

REDCap can be deployed on your local institution’s server/network infrastructure (i.e., on-premise) or on a cloud-based service, in which you might consider utilizing the REDCap AWS Quick Start or Azure Quick Start to quickly deploy a production-ready REDCap environment on Amazon’s AWS CloudFormation service or on Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform.*

* The Quick Start options require REDCap 8.9.3+ for AWS and REDCap 8.11.0+ for Azure. REDCap currently has a collaboration with AWS and Azure to provide tools for a fast, friction-free deployment of an entire REDCap server environment on their cloud infrastructure. You must be a REDCap consortium partner in order to pursue this option. But once a partner, no additional licenses with Vanderbilt are required for running REDCap on a cloud service. Check out the link for each Quick Start to learn more. NOTE: A Business Associate Agreement (BAA) is required if you’re storing Protected Health Information (PHI) on a cloud-hosted REDCap installation.

Requirements and dependencies for installing REDCap:

REDCap is easily configurable for use by consortium partner institutions and requires minimal infrastructure and setup. REDCap can run on a number of different operating systems (Linux, Unix, Windows, Mac). Below are REDCap’s requirements regarding hardware and third-party software. For more details, see the Technical Overview PDF.

  1. Web server with PHP (PHP 5.3.0+, including support for PHP 7). Apache (any OS) or Microsoft IIS (Windows)
  2. MySQL database server (MySQL 5.0+, MariaDB 5.1+, or Percona Server 5.1+). a MySQL client (e.g., phpMyAdmin, MySQL Workbench) is required for performing installation/upgrades
  3. SMTP email server. Configure PHP with an institutional SMTP server or install an SMTP to use for sending emails out of REDCap.
  4. File server (optional). A separate server may be utilized for housing files uploaded/stored in REDCap via secure communication using WebDAV protocol (SSL supported). Consult your local policy first in case your institution has regulations or mandates regarding file storage practices.

NOTE: Although all the components above can be set up on the same machine/server, for best security and performance we recommend that the web server, database server, and file server all be separate and running on different hardware (or virtualized servers). Additionally, although REDCap consortium developers can often provide any assistance needed for installing REDCap, IT assistance cannot be provided for help installing the required software listed above, in which it is recommended that you consult your local IT department or the plethora of detailed documentation found on the web.

REDCap has no hard requirements for server processing speed, memory, or hard drive space since it is very light weight in most respects and requires very little initial space (less than 10MB for both web server and database server combined). We typically recommend that 10GB be allocated for web server space and also 10GB for MySQL initially, as that should be more than enough for about one year of heavy REDCap usage.

Validation Testing and Part-11 Compliance:

21 CFR Part 11 compliance is required if you are conducting an FDA sponsored clinical trial and using computerized systems that contain any data that are relied on by an applicant in support of a marketing application, including computerized laboratory information management systems that capture analytical results of tests conducted during a clinical trial. This applies to computerized systems that create source documents (electronic records), but does not apply to paper records submitted electronically (scanned, faxed copies).  Successfully implementing Part-11 compliance for a study requires validation of the electronic system AND study specific processes (e.g. standard operating procedures, formal data management plan).

The REDCap consortium has a standing committee that oversees review of the REDCap software platform as to its ability to be utilized in a validated environment for a study requiring 21 CFR Part 11 compliance.  The committee performs rigorous validation tests on each LTS version (LTS = a dedicated version of REDCap released at 6-month intervals that includes no new features – only bug/security updates). These REDCap test scripts are all documented on our REDCap Community collaboration/messaging platform and available to all REDCap partner institutions. Any REDCap consortium partner may use those test scripts and other documentation provided by the committee to reduce the burden of implementing a validated system which is one component of study compliance to meet Part 11 requirements.