Life Science

Top 5 Reasons Why You Need Centralized Storage for Life Science Applications

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New and enhanced technologies like cryo-EM/ET, automated genome sequencers and higher resolution cameras have heavily impacted many areas of life sciences. These have contributed dramatically to accelerate research and lower costs in fields such as structural biology, genomics, drug discovery, etc. With all the good these technologies bring to help the advancement of research there is one side effect: the massive increase in the amount of data produced that needs to be managed and stored.

Since life science applications have different IO profiles, they each have different data storage requirements. For example, genomic sequencing handles hundreds of millions of small files, which makes low latency a top priority. Whereas, cryo-EM/ET generates files in the gigabytes to terabytes range. That means these applications require storage with a lot of capacity and high throughput at an affordable cost.

At the other end of the spectrum, researchers who rely heavily on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). They require high performance to handle metadata and the capacity to store extremely large data sets.

Although buying different storage systems to meet each application’s requirements is a quick and dirty solution, it is far from the best. Having several storage appliances creates silos which wastes money and makes it difficult for users to find and work with their data. Instead of multiple storage systems, life science organizations need centralized storage.

Here are the top five reasons why you need a centralized storage system for your life science applications.

Data sharing

Data sharing becomes a manual process when each group manages its own storage system. Some of the issues with manually sharing data are that it can be very time-consuming and is not always reliable. To do so, access permissions need to be granted; until then, the data can’t be copied. Also, researchers can find themselves using outdated copies of the data.

A centralized storage system solves the data sharing issues by allowing all groups to store data in the same system while still providing isolation for each group. This enables collaboration and facilitates data sharing, as data no longer has to be copied.

Data management

Managing data across different storage systems can be tricky, as data might be duplicated and outdated. At the same time, it can be hard to locate or even access the data. In addition, it is difficult to ensure you are storing data in compliance with legal or contractual requirements when the data is all over the place.

Storing all the data in one centralized storage system simplifies data management and avoids data duplication. In addition, it makes it easier for groups or individuals to find and consume the data. Also, in centralized storage you can easily use policies to make sure your data is compliant with all regulations.

Better resource utilization

Data silos waste your resources and data duplication costs you money. In addition, some groups might not use all of their free disk space, and it can’t be shared with the groups that need more space. Similarly with performance, it can’t be shared between silos. All of which negativity impacts productivity.

Centralized storage aggregates the capacity and performance of your resources and makes them available to all your groups. This means you can save money when your users share the same storage and avoid paying costs for duplicate data.

Scalable storage

Since you can’t aggregate the performance or the capacity of silos, it becomes a challenge to scale based on demand. When newer microscopes require higher performance, or if you need to store large amounts of data for extended periods, you might need to buy another storage solution.

With a true scale-out storage system, you can add more drives when you need more capacity. At the same time, you can add SSDs whenever applications need higher flash performance. This way, you don’t have to worry about data growth or newer microscopes or sequencers requiring additional performance because you can scale your storage anytime.


You have to deal with security risks when you have data scattered across many systems. Keeping permissions set correctly across silos is a complicated and manual process. In addition, when dealing with medical images, you must enforce security policies such as data encryption, access control, immutability, and data retention, to name a few. Doing this for many silos can be very difficult and time-consuming.

When you manage a single storage system, it becomes easier to maintain proper access control and enforce the type of policies mentioned above. These tasks can be simplified if the storage system supports such policies natively.

For a more in-depth discussion on how to optimize cost, performance, and user happiness with centralized storage, check our Life Science Solution Brief.

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