Department of Health to use IaaS to analyse Genome Project data

7 Dec 2015, 3:17 pm

A project that is sequencing whole human genomes, to better understand and diagnose rare diseases and common cancers, is to use Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions to support, process and analyse data more cheaply.

DNAThe 100,000 Genomes Project from Department of Health owned company Genomics England, is sequencing 100,000 whole genomes of patients with rare diseases and their families, as well as patients with common cancers.

The project aims to improve diagnosis, develop new treatments and understand how genomics impacts on health and healthcare.

Technologies such as cloud computing can help to significantly reduce the cost of genome sequencing, and the move is part of a wider drive towards making whole genome sequencing ‘the norm’ in NHS mainstream healthcare.

Genomics England will use Skyscape Cloud Service’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform to build a high performance computer cluster that will drive over 20,000 Central Processing Unit cores. Infrastructure describes the networks, hosting facilities and servers on which platforms and software depend, while IaaS is infrastructure you can run entirely over the internet, without having to pay for your own hardware.

The solution will host a private cloud (using Skyscape’s two UK data centres) and will be available to health and social care organisations via the N3 network, the Virtual Private Network  that supports the NHS Internet Gateway and the NHS National Programme for IT.

“Given the nature of our work and the sensitive patient data that we are entrusted with, it was crucial that we enlisted the help of a cloud services provider with an exemplary record when it comes to security,” said Dave Brown, Head of Infrastructure at Genomics England.  “Indeed as a public body, value for money and scalability were also top of our list of priorities.”

Genomics England intends to kickstart the development of a UK genomics industry with the project and make the UK a world leader in genomics research.

The solution was procured via Government’s G-Cloud Framework.


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