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Next-Generation Data Storage

The explosion in life sciences data in general, and next-generation sequencing in particular, is nothing short of remarkable. At the 2010 Bio-IT World Expo, the director of IT at a leading genome institute casually remarked that he had just ordered 1.1 petabytes of storage to try to cope with the extraordinary surge in data generation. This puts a premium on sophisticated IT solutions not only for storing data, with reliable and secure backup and retrieval systems. Organizing the data, much of which is generated and viewed once and once only, is a problem that will require more work in future. In this Briefing On supplement, we present a selection of stories published in the past 12-24 months that have examined the technologies that are both creating and solving the next-gen data deluge (“The DNA Data Deluge”).

Increasingly, the value of next-gen sequencing studies is being validated with the identification of rare disease genes in studies of small families (“Next- Generation Genome Sequencing Identifies Disease Genes”). It is possible that the arrival of third-generation sequencing solutions, such as that from Pacific Biosciences (“PacBio’s Eleven”), will reduce the intense need to store image data, but IT managers aren’t popping the champagne corks just yet. One of the most interesting trends in next-gen data management is the potential of “on demand”.

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