IBM > Case Studies > Centre de Regulació Genòmica Enhances Genome Research with High-Speed File Transfer

Centre de Regulació Genòmica Enhances Genome Research with High-Speed File Transfer

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Technology Category
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - Cloud Computing
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) - Application Development Platforms
Applicable Industries
  • Healthcare & Hospitals
  • Life Sciences
Applicable Functions
  • Product Research & Development
Use Cases
  • Intelligent Packaging
  • Onsite Human Safety Management
  • System Integration
  • Testing & Certification
The Challenge
Centre de Regulació Genòmica (CRG), a renowned international biomedical research institute, was faced with the challenge of sharing large amounts of genome sequencing data quickly and cost-effectively with worldwide research institutions. The volume of data available for analysis was growing rapidly due to advancements in genetic sequencing technologies. CRG partnered with the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) to improve the services of the European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA) to offer easier access for a global research audience. However, the EGA archive contained over two petabytes of data in a range of different formats, which posed a significant challenge. Research institutions required huge amounts of data very quickly, which may be distributed across multiple small files, a small number of very large files, or a mixture of the two. Traditional file transfer protocols were unable to deliver the required performance.
About The Customer
Centre de Regulació Genòmica (CRG) is a renowned international biomedical research institute that was established in 2000. The organization employs over 600 people and aims to advance knowledge for the benefit of society, public health, and economic prosperity. CRG is dedicated to conducting cutting-edge research in the field of genomics and works in collaboration with other research institutions worldwide. The organization is committed to sharing its research data with other institutions to facilitate advanced research, avoid duplication of effort, and lower the barriers to entry for smaller institutions.
The Solution
CRG decided to perform a proof-of-concept exercise with IBM Aspera High-Speed File Transfer solutions, which had been used by the EMBL-EBI for its internal file transfer needs. During the proof-of-concept phase, CRG engaged expert consultants from IBM Business Partner TmediaT to perform a deep test of the IBM Aspera solution. After a successful testing phase, a joint team from the EGA and CRG deployed IBM Aspera High-Speed File Transfer on a high-performance, hardened computing environment. The IBM Aspera solution allowed research teams to upload anonymized sequencing data to the EGA via an online portal. Other research institutions could then apply to use the data, and once a request was approved, the data was re-encrypted with a per-request private key, and loaded into a container. The requester could then download the contents of the container using the IBM Aspera client, decrypt it in a secure vault, and perform their analyses.
Operational Impact
  • The IBM Aspera solution has enabled CRG and EGA to achieve their goal of making research data available to research groups around the world at speed and scale. The transfer rates typically deliver speeds of one gigabit per second, with peaks of up to three gigabits per second when demand for the system is higher than usual. The solution has proven to be user-friendly, requiring requesters to simply install the Aspera client on their system and start downloading their granted data. The high performance of IBM Aspera has even led some requesters to secure investment to upgrade their networking hardware. The solution is expected to enable institutions to maximize the value of their investment in computing, network, and storage infrastructure by benefiting from the full file-transfer speeds that IBM Aspera can deliver.
Quantitative Benefit
  • Up to 500 TB of discrete sequencing data easily packaged for sharing
  • Up to 3 Gbit/s transfer speeds achieved
  • Supports leading-edge genetics research

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