At Bio-IT World, All Eyes Were on the Cloud and Big Data!

As expected, the 10th annual Bio-IT World Conference & Expo was both exhausting and invigorating. With three jam-packed days of great talks, demos, and networking opportunities, we came away from the meeting eager for a long nap. A huge thank you to all the people who stopped by our booth and engaged us in really interesting conversations! Talking with current and potential users has sent us back to Mountain View with the reinforced knowledge that our product really is making a difference in people’s lives — and making next-gen sequence data easier to manage and analyze for labs that don’t have production-scale compute resources, as well as for IT groups that find themselves juggling a lot of different computing needs. This gives us an even greater sense of urgency in launching our new platform this summer.

One of the most interesting facts about this year’s Bio-IT World conference was a shift in focus in the exhibit hall. In years past, there have always been a lot of vendors showing off servers, cluster improvement tools, chip accelerators, and other hardware offerings. This year, hardware was unusually hard to come by. It seems that the field has tacitly acknowledged that cloud-based data storage is indeed the way to go for the vast majority of genomic labs.

Scientists who spoke at the conference or visited our booth offered further validation of that trend. After years spent trying to figure out how to write scripts that work best on a cluster or with an FPGA, the biologists were relieved to be back where they wanted: focused on the data, not on the compute infrastructure. When talking to attendees in our booth, it was clear that the most pressing thing for this community is getting the right scientific answer, a sentiment that resonates with us.

In a keynote talk, Jill Mesirov from the Broad Institute spoke about the critical need to integrate tools and workflows for analysis and management of large data sets. She introduced GenomeSpace, the Broad’s new platform that combines various tools, including the UCSC genome browser, Cytoscape, GenePattern, Galaxy, and more.

On the commercial side, the emphasis on putting compute infrastructure behind the scenes so that scientists can focus on answers was reinforced by a number of news announcements tied to new cloud-based services from organizations including Illumina, BGI, and others. While the commercial services haven’t officially launched yet, we look forward to trying them out later in the year as they’re released.

Finally, we’re delighted to see that people are already flocking to our new Landing page at dnanexusX.com, which has information on the new DNAnexus platform to be launched this summer. If you haven’t signed up already, we encourage you to do so. This way you will be the first to learn about the capabilities the new platform will support and exact timing of the roll out. It’s simple: just enter your e-mail address and we will keep you posted with ongoing information about our best-in-class security, unified environment for instant collaborations, custom workflows, and more. You’ll also be automatically entered in a monthly drawing for a free iPad in May and June. Sign up early for the best chance of winning! Stay tuned — the winner for the April drawing has been pulled and will be announced shortly on our blog.

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