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2022-23 Top 5 Storage for Life Sciences Solutions

DDN EXAScaler, IBM Spectrum Scale, Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform, Quobyte, Vast Data Universal Storage

This report was publlshed on January 11, 2022 by Mike Matchett and Ken Clipperton, analysts, DCIG, Inc.

2022-23 Top 5 Storage for Life Sciences Solutions Report Now Available

DCIG announced the availability of the 2022-23 Top 5 storage for life sciences solutions report.

It evaluated 15 providers offering storage solutions across 5 different categories. 

This report provides guidance on the top 5 rising vendors providing storage solutions organizations should consider for the unique storage solutions life science organizations require. 

Top 5 reports help IT decision makers:
• Save time discovering, researching, and analyzing products for consideration.
• Understand essential factors organizations should consider for selecting a provider.
• Identify differentiators between top providers that may be important to their business.

Life Sciences Workloads Data-Intensive
Life sciences organizations depend on some of the most compute and data-intensive applications in the world for primary research, on-line analysis, global collaboration, and product development. Many of these applications are HPC quality workloads that include genomics sequencing, molecular simulations, protein folding, AI/ML optimization, and intensive media processing.

These applications can push even cutting-edge IT data storage implementations to their performance and capacity limits. Maintaining an organization’s key data properly over time can become critical to the ongoing success of that organization.

Stakes Are High
And increasingly, upstream life sciences workloads feed critical data into downstream workflows that might for example manage real-time medical-grade production lines or oversee global distribution.

The stakes are high for IT in life sciences with competitive global pressures, the search for life-saving solutions, expensive data “source” equipment, elite research staff and ever-increasing data volumes and performance demands.

Voracious genomics sequencing equipment can easily generate terabytes of raw data in a few hours, overwhelming local legacy file storage often configured with the default operator workstation. This data must then be offloaded into downstream research-feeding storage while that equipment is idling, wasting opportunity, time and resources.

Other workloads present challenges too – molecular simulations running on scale-out HPC clusters impose HPC data consumption patterns, which require local high-speed parallel file IO of very large or very many files to many client nodes at once.

Benefits of Effective Storage for Life Sciences Solution
At the top level, scalable storage performance is critical. A life science organization should try to fully utilize their high-end research and laboratory equipment, HPC clusters and GPU-intensive analytical servers. The objective of life science storage then is to store and flood massive amounts of scientific data into all the expensive data pipelines serving the organization’s goals. An effective and equally scaled storage solution will ingest and store data faster than source equipment can produce it and then deliver it as fast as the sum of consuming workloads calls for it.

When we undertook our research to select the DCIG top 5 storage for life sciences solutions, we thought we might just find the same old parallel file system solutions from years past. But a whole new world of scientific discovery at the bright edge of research keeps pushing the limits of what IT infrastructure can deliver, constantly creating streams of valuable big data that demand ever faster, ever more scalable storage solutions. It is an exciting industry, and the top 5 storage solutions we highlight in this report are today conquering some of the world’s largest storage performance and scale challenges, helping create a better world for all us.” said Matchett.

Distinguishing Features of Storage for Life Sciences Solutions
In addition to the broad capabilities mentioned above, all of the life sciences storage solutions evaluated in this report share some features that help distinguish them from the broader IT storage market.

  • File performance. First, these are not simply scaled up NAS solutions, but designed from the start for high-end file storage performance and capacity.
  • Large capacities. Scalable architectures are the norm, with the ability to add or expand on-line and support multiple storage tiers without grossly affecting operations or performance.
  • Broadening application support. Life sciences research encompasses a wide variety of applications, usage, access, cost, risk and data management concerns. The storage solutions evaluated for this report have demonstrated significant utility in some slice of life sciences. Solution providers are broadening application support, creating an opportunity to increasingly consolidate storage and eliminate the need to create extra copies of the data.
  • Resiliency at scale. All of the life sciences storage we evaluated have features that address the resiliency and resulting availability of the solution at large scales of deployment.

Storage for Life Sciences Solutions
In preparing this report, 15 vendors were evaluated that offer storage for life sciences solutions.

General categories under which DCIG evaluated solution features included:
• Deployment capabilities
• Data protection
• Product and performance management
• Documentation
• Technical support
• Licensing and pricing

Based on these criteria, DCIG awarded the following storage for life sciences vendors a Top 5 ranking (in alphabetical order):
• DDN EXAScaler
• IBM Spectrum Scale
• Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform
• Quobyte
• VAST Data Universal Storage