December 16, 2016 | Written by: Kurt Florus, CTO, Bluebee
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It is essential for startups to build strategic partnerships with key players in the market.
For my company, Bluebee, a relatively small outfit, larger, key players do not necessarily come to mind as logical partners for success. Bluebee offers cloud-based services for genomics analytics on a global scale for research labs, clinical users, diagnostics companies, and next-generation sequencing (NGS) service providers. Data security, compliance and local regulations are critical to our business, given our background in financial technology and high-value payments.
The requirements for our technological architecture to support a global service were crystal clear: we needed the “real cloud,” a true, global cloud solution in which multiple data centers in several remote geographies virtually act as one pool of resources and are capable of elastically provisioning bare metal infrastructure. Today, IBM SoftLayer is the only provider capable of providing us with this service.
A true cloud partnership
On our journey with IBM SoftLayer, we engaged in the early stages of product design with IBM Power Systems using IBM POWER8 technology. Our team members traveled to the IBM Austin labs to jointly research how to maximize throughput within our infrastructure. Very quickly, we realized that hosting our genomics analytics workloads on POWER8 in SoftLayer garnered the fastest results. We observed a substantial increase in performance when using POWER8 and FPGA’s (field-programmable gate arrays) over x86.
The IBM partnership provided us with the exceptional computing capabilities our business demands for our customer’s data intensive workloads.
Flexibility to support genomics demands
Partnering with IBM also allowed us to become an early adopter of the FASP (Aspera) protocol in the genomics domain. Together, we now collaborate to provide our high-volume customers with a fast, flexible, highly scalable, on-demand software solution that overcomes the challenges of large genomic data transfer issues.
The largest Bluebee client samples are from cancer centers, and are typically upwards of 360 gigabytes per patient. The integration of Aspera’s patented FASP transfer technology now reduces the critical end-to-end turnaround time of computational data analysis while ensuring high-speed and reliable data transfers. This is particularly critical as Bluebee offers high-performance NGS data analysis solutions in 22 data centers across the globe. The combined technologies enable faster and more efficient patient diagnosis and treatment decisions.
Our next combined venture was with IBM Cloud Object Storage, which has a unique offering of resilient object storage across data centers. We again met an IBM agile team, ready to support and help us with a very competitive, long-term storage solution for our customers. In less than a month, we had jointly designed a solution that met our clients’ needs.
Even as a relatively small startup, our search for the right partner ended with a large, key player in the industry. From the beginning, we were focused on an unwavering goal: a global, competitive, state-of-the-art and secure solution for genomics analytics. Our aspirations and the ability of IBM to provide and support a multifaceted solution allowed us to form a truly strategic, successful partnership.
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