Sitting in our suite, gazing at the beach just before kicking off our DDN-hosted happy hour, it’s clear to me that AGBT is really the best genomics conference of the year.  After all, where else can you attend three to six parties every night and, at them, have discussions with the most brilliant minds in the life sciences and genomics industry?

Overheard at AGBT….. ‘This Event is one of a kind … it is the Academy Awards for this type of research’ ‘They were field sequencing Dengue?’ ‘Where’s the PacBio party tonight?’ ’They have around 20 HiSeqs running 24×7’ ‘We left that party when they ran out of scotch, so I am not sure what happened next’ Q: Who was that?  A: A Wall Street analyst in stealth mode!

Fueled by great conference sessions that run all day and evening, followed by all night sessions fueled by something a little higher proof, AGBT is a unique event that brings together a great cross-section of biologists, clinical researchers, bioinformaticians and vendors. The result? Insightful discussion and information sharing around user challenges and successes with highlights that include significant breakthroughs in sequencing related technologies and approaches for subsequent genomic analysis.

This is obviously a diverse community from a data storage and access standpoint.  I find myself talking to vendors about the demands generated by new technology on the instrument, to software developers about better integrated solutions, and in conversations with  compliance officers, I’m discussing HIPPA and CLIA regulatory aspects, and with end users their data management needs.  One of the most commonly discussed topics was around today’s challenges in managing data. While their environments ranged in size from tens of terabytes to tens of petabytes, one thing most of them had in common was that, while users are all pretty confident in their projected data growth for the next year, they are less confident in their  commitment to a number – even an estimate – on how much more data they would have in 3 years. Nevertheless, the consensus they all reached is the need to start planning for it, now.

In biosciences, rapid growth in data rates is driven not only by improved speed and fidelity of instruments for sequencing, microscopy, etc., but also by moving instruments from one-off experiments into 24×7 production, as well as by aggregating larger and larger populations of samples.  We at DDN, love to hear this, obviously, because the more data you have and the faster you need to get to it, the more likely you are to currently be or want to be a DDN customer. Over one third of the world’s largest sequencing centers are already using DDN, but even smaller sites are migrating to DDN as massive data growth requirements are already causing their scale out NAS systems to hit the wall on performance and management complexity; or they’re experiencing issues with public cloud solutions that are better served by a private or hybrid clouds.

I’d need a lot more space that is available in a short blog to delve into all the reasons for this, but presentations from The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology, Public Health England, Lineberger Cancer Center and others say more about how DDN helped them address the data challenges they are facing. What kinds of challenges are you facing?



  • George Vacek
  • George Vacek
  • Global Director Life Sciences
  • Date: March 4, 2015