Lab7 Systems was proud to be a Gold Sponsor of this year's Bio-IT World Conference and Expo, which took place May23-25, at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. The best part was that our booth #563 was right next to the bar...I mean...The best part was seeing the exciting advances in utilization of cloud technologies for bioinformatics solutions.
One of those innovations in cloud computing technology was Lab7's own High-Performance Genomic Cloud powered by IBM. We've discussed the Genomic cloud elsewhere, so I will direct you to the Genomic Cloud web page and to our Genomic Cloud white paper and case study to learn more about how we've optimized cloud performance for data-intensive scientific workflows. At Bio-IT World, our founder Chris Mueller presented the Genomic Cloud in the Cloud Computing track of the conference. We've made Chris' slides available in the Literature Download section of our website.
Outside of our own news, there were some other interesting things going on:
- The Broad Institute announced that GATK will once again be open sourced after a massively unpopular attempt to collect license fees from non-academic users, an action that spurred the growth of GATK alternatives/improvements from Edico Genome and Sentieon. We at Lab7 are very happy to see this announcement, and we anticipate that GATK will soon join the BioBuilds collection.
- Qiagen announced the CLC Genomics Cloud Engine. Frankly, we're glad to see our friends at Qiagen/CLC take the logical step of taking their industry-standard platform to the cloud.
- Our good friends at the BioTeam held the "BioTeam Micro-Symposium" on what they have learned from their varied work in informatics and data management solutions. Some very valuable insight was shared.
Finally, here are a few comments from our team:
- Alicia Francis, Senior Director of Sales:
- "I note that companies presenting for the first time were not new companies. They were simply new to BioIT/life sciences and were positioning existing products from other industries with a biotech spin. Through acquisitions, the 'giants' of Life Science Tools (Illumina, Roche, Thermo Tech) had a larger presence at the BioIT than prior years (i.e. Genologics/Illumia, Core Informatics/Thermo). I also noticed fewer new companies at the show."
- "It's amazing how much the industry has changed in the past 3 years. The first BioIT I attended was in 2014 and people were actively looking for solutions to solve their data storage and NGS analysis problems. There was also rigorous debate over whether it was "safe" to move data to the cloud and keep it stored there. Now, those decisions have been made and companies are looking at the cost effectiveness of their current solutions and are seeking to get more functionality out of what they already have in place."
- "Everyone is [still] overwhelmed. Despite having solutions in place, people still don't feel like they have their informatics under control."
- James Ryan, Director of Engineering:
- "Obviously my glasses are rather polarized since I come from the operations sides of different industries, but what I seem to have taken away from BioIT was that many (most?) of the offerings being hawked were point-solutions in the hardware and software realm with virtually no focus on broader operational coordination, control, or efficiency. Lots of focus on the rising flood of data and the storage and quality and controls around it, but I didn't see much in the way of data management solutions. The many "lab management" solutions with rather tight focuses on such narrow things as reagent tracking, experiment run requests, and data quality strongly reinforce my initial perceptions that the disciplines are rather walled off still. I guess the main takeaway considering those observations is a feeling that there is still plenty of room for a software player with a more holistic approach to lab management, especially as the pain of not practicing such an approach becomes more widespread." (editorial comment: It's damn refreshing to have an industry outsider's perspective on things!)
- Cheng Lee, Principal Software Architect:
- "Most noticeable thing was that the big hardware vendors (IBM, Dell, HP, etc.) either didn’t have booths or had toned-down 10’x10’. Lots of reps at the conference, but not a huge booth presence."
- "Storage and data management still seems to be the issue for people (as opposed to raw compute power). Saw a number of flash and object storage vendors there, though I really didn’t get to chat with them too much to see how much traction they’re getting in this space."
- "Lots of small vendors like us. I think customers are getting comfortable with not getting all of their bits and pieces from a single source (despite what certain sequencing instrument vendors may think), but for us, it means they’ll likely be looking for an integration component as well."