In the News...

July 8, 2015

Data analysis: Create a cloud commons

Major funding agencies should ensure that large biological data sets are stored in cloud services to enable easy access and fast analysis, say Lincoln D. Stein and colleagues.

There was a collective cheer in the human genomics community earlier this year, as researchers — ever more stymied by the challenges of accessing vast data sets — saw a major roadblock disappear. In March, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) lifted its 2007 restriction on the use of cloud computing to store and analyse the tens of thousands of genomes and other genetic information held in its repository, the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP).

…These days, cloud services are just as secure as most academic data centres, often more so. They are now offered by major commercial companies including Amazon, Google and Microsoft, as well as smaller companies focused on genomics research, such as California-based Annai Systems, and several academic institutions such as the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, UK. These providers use strong encryption for data, have systems, such as firewalls and keychain fobs, for controlling who has access to the data, and provide tools to the owners of the data that allow them to monitor use closely. Read the full article…