Headquartered in Kochin, India, SciGenom Labs (SciGenom) focuses on molecular diagnostics, cancer treatment, and metagenomics. SciGenom also provides commercial services for DNA sequencing that include next-generation and Sanger sequencing methods, as well as informatics and software solutions, and molecular diagnostic testing.
SciGenom has offices in India and the United States, with active research collaborations in the U.S. and Canada with Penn State College and the University of Toronto.
DNA sequencing technology has undergone a revolution in recent times both in its cost and processing speed. Over the past 13 years, the cost of DNA sequencing has dropped from $100 million per human genome to around $1000. With the sequencing services market in India currently worth around $20 million, SciGenom is taking advantage of this growing demand, particularly in the field of plant genomics for agriculturally important crops.
Highly scalable storage is becoming a core requirement for next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis. SciGenom works primarily with raw data using I/O intensive molecular dynamics software such as AMBER and NAMD and faces rapidly growing requirements for data storage.
Saneesh Chembakasseri, IT Manager at SciGenom Labs, says, “Our projected data needs will increase by around five times within the next 12 months. We have a continual demand for high-performance storage that will meet the requirements of DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, and medical diagnostics.”
SciGenom was reliant on scaling up storage to meet demand. As a result, it faced a corresponding reduction in performance that adversely impacted the speed at which the analysis of large-scale biological data sets could be completed. With advances in technology enabling the entire DNA genome to be sequenced within two weeks, increasing processing performance is critical in ensuring companies such as SciGenom can compete globally.
Chembakasseri says, “Previously when I allocated storage to a user and then added more based on requirements, the performance decreased as the storage expanded. We also wanted to avoid continually having to migrate users to new storage, due to the risks involved in disrupting our workflows. Our core aim was to be able to scale storage without compromising performance.”
SciGenom partnered with EMC to deploy an EMC® Isilon® X200 scale-out storage platform to speed access to the massive amounts of data involved in DNA sequencing.
Vishnu M Raja, Business Development Head at SciGenom Labs, says, “The core value Isilon delivers to our laboratory services is highly scalable storage. Our projects are growth intensive, and scalability is crucial to ensure there are no bottlenecks to our workflows. Isilon is playing a critical role in helping us handle large data sets.”
Because the analysis process includes data quality assessment, interpreting results, and then communicating and presenting results to customers in meaningful formats, any disruption or impact to delivery schedules has a financial and operational impact on the company.
“The key reason for moving to Isilon scale-out storage was to increase the performance and speed of analyzing raw data generated by the DNA sequencing machines. If you compare traditional and scale-out storage, there are no better choices in the market than EMC Isilon in providing both the needed scalability and performance for meeting the demands of DNA sequencing,” says Chembakasseri.
DNA analysis can now tell doctors which drugs might work best against a particular cancer, and so the quick delivery of results is critical to improving healthcare outcomes for patients. With Isilon, the lab expects to achieve reductions in the workflow times associated with analyzing, annotating, and understanding the terabytes of data generated every day by the sequencing machines.
Chembakasseri says, “We definitely expect to increase the speed in which we deliver projects due to the performance of Isilon storage. Right now we estimate a 40 percent decrease in the time taken to complete particular project tasks.”
The lab’s ability to improve its speed to market for its proprietary workflows and programs that analyze large-scale biological data sets provides it with an immediate competitive advantage. Isilon helps the company deliver an intelligent approach to processing NGS data efficiently.
“We face a lot of competition both in India and globally. While we have the necessary expertise and tool sets to deliver projects, having the cost-efficient balance of both throughput and capacity to power our data workflows helps us to publish and generate reports more quickly and efficiently, ensuring we deliver projects to meet exacting industry timelines,” says Chembakasseri.
To ensure it remains competitive within the price-sensitive India market, SciGenom is capitalizing on the high utilization rates of Isilon storage to deliver cost efficiencies throughout its analysis process.
Chembakasseri says, “We implemented Isilon utilizing around 28 terabytes of storage and within 12 months we project growth of up to 100 terabytes. We can maximize cost efficiency by achieving at least 80 percent utilization with Isilon, compared to 50
to 70 percent with traditional storage.”
The move to a single file system means reduced risk of disruptions to data analysis because users and their projects are no longer migrated between storage silos when they exceed capacity, thereby reducing management complexity for the company.
“This is where the scalability of Isilon is a huge benefit in the bioinformatics field because there are no manual data migrations required and we simply add nodes to expand capacity. As our business grows, we can easily meet the requirements of storing large-scale biological data sets by scaling storage in a granular method in line with our exact project demands,” says Chembakasseri.
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EMC2, EMC, the EMC logo, and Isilon are registered trademarks or trademarks of EMC Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners. © Copyright 2014 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. Published in the USA. 09/14 Customer Profile H13437
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