New Case Study: how faster access to data helps researchers at the Children’s Medical Research Institute

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ProCan Scientists working in lab

Almost every person has a story of cancer affecting friends or family. Cancer is devastating and ubiquitous, and treating it remains one of the greatest challenges of modern medicine.

Part of the challenge of treating cancer is that it is not a single disease. Cancer is a group of around 100 different diseases, each with different causes and effects. The common theme that links these different diseases is the uncontrolled spread of damaged or mutated cells. Within each of these cancer types, no two cancers are exactly the same as each other.

One possible avenue for finding better cancer treatments is to study cellular proteins to learn how they interact with different cancer treatments. ProCan, one of many research projects run by the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI), aims to study these cellular proteins.

ProCan relies on the creation and processing of large data sets. The team runs a host of analysis equipment, including six mass spectrometers, which generate roughly 100 Gigabytes of data per day.

The team also creates thousands of digital images – up to 10 Gigabytes each in size – and stores metadata at different stages of their work.

While ProCan’s locally hosted High Performance Computing (HPC) environment is capable of handling day to day loads, processing of large cancer cohorts or cross cohort analysis requires additional resources that can only be both practically and economically provided by cloud computing.

To solve this two-speed computing problem, ProCan developed a hybrid cloud implementation that enables computing tasks to be seamlessly executed on either HPC or cloud resources based on operational needs.  The existing network infrastructure was  a major chokepoint for the hybrid cloud implementation as well as ProCan’s backup strategy.

On the advice ProCan’s Backend Engineer Michael Hecker, CMRI partnered with AARNet to overcome this limitation.

“Without external resources, compute jobs took too long for our researchers to perform any kind of rapid prototyping or testing of their workflow,” CMRI’s Head of ICT Mike Baker said.

“We considered getting more local computing resources, but it just wasn’t economically viable.”

The partnership with AARNet provides CMRI with a 10 gigabit-per-second internet connection and direct connections to leading cloud service providers so that researchers can quickly and easily access the compute and storage resources they need.

To find out more, read the entire case study

Health and Medical Research Partnership

AARNet is working closely with the Health and Medical Research sector to develop specialised infrastructure that not only meets the sector’s unique and evolving needs for fast, reliable and scalable connectivity, but also for storage, analysis, management and archive of sensitive data, with CMRI partnering with AARNet on this initiative.

To find out more or get involved, please contact us

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