An OpenMRS Appliance?

Hey team in another thread @burke was helping me to understand how constrained some deployments are with regard to network connectivity. One of the effects of that is needing to support old configs that are difficult to upgrade. Which got me to thinking.

Could the implementation community benefit from a physical OpenMRS appliance? What if we e.g. configured an Intel NUC ($200) with two 1TB SSDs ($150 each), one for data, one for operations and updates that could be shipped back and forth.

Zero touch platform deploy anywhere in the world for $500, is there a use case?

There was some effort to do this using BRCK years ago. There was also a cool appliance designed for very rugged environments (maybe for MSF?) shared at a lightning talk at an OpenMRS conference years ago. I don’t know of current efforts in this space.

There was Project Buendia ( from MSF, and I think VecnaCares has a CliniPak device (

That would be interesting as a deployment option, couple of questions:

  1. what else comes in the package, for power, user interface, keyboard/mouse?

  2. How about extensibility for an additional access point?

  3. What OS would it run? How would deployments be added to it?

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Cool. If you squint hard it’s the cloud config but with a huge cache (the BRCK) and a slow but high capacity net connection (shipping SSDs around).

For the record that is my second weirdest proposal :slight_smile: … as cellular networks deploy in the developing world use patient feature phones to cache their records.

Hi Stephen! I am just kind of thinking out loud, these little systems look like this:

Just a base system, any peripherals would be more. Updates would be handled by periodic distribution/swapping of an new SSD, I realize there are some operational aspects I am not costing out either, like who configs the disks that are swapped.

In general I am trying to think how we can stop the number of configs we need to config/test/support from becoming unmanageable.

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Hi Carty -

VecnaCares has developed the CliniPAK - more like a ruggedized server - and we are deploying OpenMRS offline in over 50 locations. More information is here:

It’s not exactly what you were describing - we normally use the CliniPAK to broadcast OpenMRS across a facility. We have a couple of different strategies for upgrades.

Would be happy to talk more

Hi Paul, wow there is so much here, thanks.

Following this thread. We are having this same discussion on software and support in limited areas. Some of the solutions mentioned are new to me, so will be interested to see how this evolves.

Connectivity is the largest challenge to many of the solutions we look at, mostly due to the operating environment including support, footprint size, and obstacles.

I’m following another thread on scanning of forms, into OpenMRS, which has even been another solution we’ve considered. We want to try and make our technology solution as like paper or a non-tech fallback solution as possible. Nothing crashes a mission more than have tech fail you and then switching to paper completely changes all the processes that the team is used to.

Looking forward to hearing more.


very cool Ken looking forward to exploring further