Meet the new DNAnexus and its Instant Collaboration Environment

The life sciences field has a long and respected tradition of collaboration among researchers. Genomics as we know it today kicked off with one of the biggest biology collaborations of all time, the Human Genome Project.

This has led to a highly cooperative mindset among many participants in the community, and it’s a mentality that we at DNAnexus share and embrace. A successful collaboration is more than just a mindset, though. It requires infrastructure of all sorts: today’s partnerships benefit from technology advances such as Skype, instant messaging, FaceTime, Google Docs, and more.

genomics platformThese collaborations often involve many participants with a range of backgrounds and expertise, such as bioinformatics, medicine, microbiology, molecular biology, and more. The new DNAnexus includes a set of features to facilitate research projects for teams within and across organizations. As a bioinformatician, for example, you can upload your data, build Apps, create custom workflows, and then share all of it with your research partners, whose access and permissions you control. Because you have the ability to define the project and design the workflow yourself, your collaborators — who might be clinicians or biologists with little to no expertise in bioinformatics — will have easy access to the entire project via an intuitive web interface to analyze and visualize their data.

With the new DNAnexus, you not only enable non-bioinformaticians to run your custom analysis tools and best-practice workflows, but you’ll also be able to eliminate data transfer, format conversion, and other incompatibilities that currently slow down even the most efficient collaborative efforts. This platform offers a secure and reliable environment through which you can instantly collaborate with team members without the hassle of data synchronization and shipping hard drives.

Here are a few key features of the new platform that are especially useful for collaborations:

Instant access from anywhere: When you’re part of a team that could be spread out across an organization, country, or even the world, you need to have easy access to your data from anywhere, at any time. The beauty of using a cloud-based platform is that it offers just that: peace of mind that your data will be ready and waiting for you whenever and wherever you need it. One of the main values of the new DNAnexus is collaboration support without the need to transfer files between collaborating sites. All the data is in one location and can be accessed by any permitted person from anywhere.

Intuitive permission definitions for users: As the project leader, you’ll be able to use the new DNAnexus to set access permissions for the other users of your project. Some people may be able to just view or download the data, while others can be made contributors, allowing them to manage and run analyses on the data — it’s all up to you, the administrator.

share genomic data

Enterprise-grade data security: Just as much as you want the right people to have access to your project data, you don’t want other people seeing it. With its extensive background in data and cloud security, the DNAnexus team has built this platform with enterprise and user-controlled permission for data, analysis tools, and workflow sharing. Your data is not only stored in high-end physical data centers, but also fully encrypted at rest and in transfer.

If you haven’t yet tried the new DNAnexus for yourself, what are you waiting for? Sign up here for your free beta testing account. And check back on this blog for our next in-depth look, when we will discuss security and compliance.

Hello World! Come Take the new DNAnexus for a Test Drive

dnanexus betaToday marks the official beta launch of our new platform, and we can’t wait for you to try it out!

As our current users know, DNAnexus focuses on massively parallel, cloud-based solutions for analyzing, managing, and storing genomic data. With this beta launch of our new platform, we have a host of exciting new features and capabilities to tell you about.

The new DNAnexus has been developed with the expert analyst or bioinformatician in mind (our existing offering will now be known as DNAnexus Classic). The new DNAnexus is a secure and extensible genomics data analysis and collaboration environment designed to meet IT and compliance requirements, built for the bioinformatician in research or the clinic. If you are a bioinformatician who would like to dig into the technical side of genomics data analysis and you’re dealing with large amounts of sequence data, then this platform is for you. It is configurable, provides an ever-expanding genomics toolbox, and allows instant and secure data analysis and collaboration.

Here are a few highlights:

  1. Take advantage of a fully configurable and scriptable infrastructure through the command-line and documented APIs, SDK, and web browser.
  2. Leverage Amazon Web Services for scalable, cost-effective computing and data storage.
  3. Get started immediately by leveraging a genomics toolbox rich in industry-recognized analysis tools and datasets.
  4. Create your own custom analysis tools, filters, and workflows to run and distribute in the cloud.
  5. Visualize your genomic data via an integrated, HTML5-based genome browser.
  6. Securely share genomics data, analysis tools, and workflows.
  7. Take advantage of a system that has enterprise-grade security and has been designed for people in drug, device, or diagnostics development, as well as CLIA labs and clinical environments.
Of course, the best way to see what the new DNAnexus has to offer is by test driving it yourself. Today, we officially kick off the beta for the new DNAnexus. During this beta users may upload and analyze as much as 1 Tbyte of sequence data (which is more than enough to store and process one whole genome), create and tune workflows, check out the many available analysis tools and data sets, and much more. To sign up and create your free beta account, simply enter your email address here and we’ll contact you with details on how to get started.

Dispelling the Myths of the Cloud

cloud computing in genomicsWhat comes to mind when you hear the word “cloud”? Does the Amazon cloud immediately pop into your head?

Despite the cloud’s widespread recognition in the media, many are still uncertain about the benefits of cloud computing.  In a recent national survey, 95% of respondents who claimed they have never used the cloud actually have. In fact, they do so unwittingly nearly everyday via online banking and shopping, social networking, emailing etc.

Some scientists still seem skeptical of the cloud’s place in next-generation sequencing. If you tend to gravitate to skepticism, please read my article, Dispelling the Myths of the Cloud for the Skeptical Scientist, on BitesizeBio.com.

It provides an overview of how the cloud can be useful to scientists in a multitude of ways, such as infinite scalability, enabling instant and limitless access to storage and compute resources, eliminating up-front commitment to expensive hardware. Another advantage, Data security, is the cloud’s core competency, which cannot be measured up to any other internal infrastructure.

The “cloud” may be generating a lot of buzz in the NGS community, but is it worthy of all the hype? It appears that all signs point to yes.