Cloud Computing for Modern Genomics

January 27, 2022

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is an essential tool for modern life science researchers. In the age of genomic and big data, the scale of the physical infrastructure required to store such data can quickly become impractical or too expensive for smaller companies or academic institutions.

Cloud computing is a way for computational resources including data storage, computers, and bandwidth to be rented on a basis of only paying for what you need or use. These resources are all hosted on a digital infrastructure platform using the internet, called the ‘cloud.’

Advantages of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has many advantages compared to traditional on-premise infrastructure. The main advantages are elasticity and convenience. Elasticity refers to the fact that your cloud-based infrastructure can be scaled up or down as needed, preventing overpaying for resources you aren’t using.

The convenience aspect of cloud computing is that you don’t have to own or maintain the physical infrastructure for your data storage. Cloud computing platforms are hosted by companies like Amazon and Google that have the resources and space for the required computers and servers. Having an accessible, centralized data platform also makes collaboration and data sharing easier.

Cloud Computing for Genomics Research

Genomics in particular is a field that benefits from using cloud computing. Having genomic data on cloud-based platforms facilitates international collaboration because researchers can access and use the same data from anywhere in the world. The scalability of cloud computing also allows for the exponentially growing quantity of genomic sequence data

Cloud computing for genomics also improves reproducibility of data analysis. Analytical pipelines, results and raw data can all be stored and shared using the cloud, rather than being kept on a single institution’s internal servers. This advantage is highlighted by recent efforts to re-analyze huge amounts of existing genomic data using newer computational tools developed since those sequences were generated.

Funding bodies for genomics research are now specifically allocating resources for cloud computing, after recognizing the many benefits it has for the field.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

So how is cloud-based infrastructure set up? Infrastructure service providers like Bridge Informatics work with clients to create a custom cloud-based or hybrid infrastructure platform tailored to their data storage and data processing needs. Having IaaS experts set up your cloud computing infrastructure ensures cost effective data storage, searching capabilities, and help troubleshooting or scaling up/down as needed in the future. It also ensures that the correct data protection, security and privacy measures will be set up to keep your data safe.



Jane Cook, Journalist & Content Writer, Bridge Informatics

Jane is a Content Writer at Bridge Informatics, a professional services firm that helps biotech customers implement advanced techniques in management and analysis of genomic data. Bridge Informatics focuses on data mining, machine learning, and various bioinformatic techniques to discover biomarkers and companion diagnostics. If you’re interested in reaching out, please email daniel.dacey@old.bridgeinformatics.com or dan.ryder@old.bridgeinformatics.com.

Sources:

https://www.nature.com/articles/nrg.2017.113#change-history

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