The European Bioinformatics Institute wins Best Datacentre Project of the Year
Genomic research is one of the most exciting areas in science. Set to improve efficiency of treatments and cut costs, genomics will bring us a new age of personalised medicine that focuses on treating patients not just by their current illness, but their specific genetic make-up. However, we are only just beginning to understand the technological implications of this data-intensive research on datacentre infrastructures. And data rules.
A leader in the field, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) in Cambridge (UK) is now revolutionising the data architecture in its datacentres as a key step to coping with the data onslaught. Its reward? Winning the Best Datacentre Project in this year's Computer Weekly European Awards.
The first sequencing of the human genome took 10 years and cost almost £10bn. Now it takes days, if not hours, and costs under £650. However, as this area of life science develops, the amount of data it generates and demands is growing exponentially.
The EBI is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and operates as a non-profit organisation, providing freely available data from life science experiments to support researchers in academia and industry.
The EBI already holds 50 petabytes of data in three UK datacentres, and this doubles every year. In five years from now, it could have well over 1.5 exabytes of data (1.5 million terabytes).
To take control of this explosion in data and the accompanying infrastructure, EBI chose Delphix’s data-as-a-service (DaaS) platform. Using this platform, it began a project to virtualise the 500 databases that hold the metadata for genome datasets. Providing this data as a service to its various teams enables each developer to create their own environment on demand without affecting the datacentre processing power or increasing storage requirements.
The Computer Weekly European User Awards 2015 aim to shine a light on business across Europe that have excelled in their approach to using technology. The judges appointed for Computer Weekly 2015 awards said: “This is a really interesting project. Not only has a non-profit organisation had to tackle the costly issue of big data analytics and storage, but the project is innovative and forward-thinking”.