The SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics Chooses WekaFS™ to Enable Secure Scientific Research

The HPC storage solution ensures secure data access coupled with high performance. Since installing WekaFS, SIB supports a growing number of biomedical research projects.

CAMPBELL, Calif., August 25, 2020 – WekaIO™ (Weka), the innovation leader in high-performance, scalable, and parallel file storage, announced today that the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics has selected the Weka File System (WekaFS™) to ensure data security with zero application performance degradation. SIB chose WekaFS because it provides a secure high-performance compute (HPC) and storage platform that prevents unauthorized users from accessing sensitive personal biodata while ensuring immediate access to the same data for authorized researchers who use it to accelerate research for critical public health issues, such as cancer or diabetes. Since installing WekaFS, SIB supports a growing number of projects on the cluster, in particular, because the researchers can trust the security of the sensitive data.

SIB is a Swiss-based, internationally recognized center of expertise in data science that is dedicated to biological data. It provides life scientists and clinicians with essential databases and custom-made tools, computational biology expertise, secure services for sensitive data, as well as bioinformatics training. A non-profit foundation, the Institute also represents the Swiss bioinformatics community by federating about 800 data scientists in the country and fostering collaboration among them. As part of its infrastructure activities, SIB develops a nationwide project called BioMedIT, aiming to implement a secure and cutting-edge IT network to support biomedical research and clinical bioinformatics. One of the three nodes of this network, the Romandie infrastructure at SIB, operates a platform that offers biomedical researchers a full service for the processing of sensitive data. In this context, cybersecurity and trust are of utmost importance.

DALCO, a Weka Innovation Network (WIN) Accelerator partner headquartered in Volketswil, Switzerland, lent its expertise to architect a clustered file system for SIB that would encrypt data for security without compromising on the high-performance required for research. The challenge was to find a parallel file system that provided the combination of encryption for security, shared data accessibility for authorized users only, and high performance for applications. SIB had evaluated other high-performance file systems but none met the data shareability and encryption-in-flight requirements. WekaFS was installed on an 8-node, on-premises storage cluster to serve data to a GPU-enabled, multi-tenant OpenStack cluster. OpenStack pools the virtual resources into a private cloud and WekaFS is used to mount it for different tenants. Data is tiered from the NVMe layer to 500TB of Red Hat Ceph object storage.

“We were looking for an HPC storage system that would be easy to manage and fully protect data with encryption at rest and in flight, all while maintaining the highest performance,” says Dr. Heinz Stockinger, Head of the Core-IT department at SIB. “With Weka, we can provide a storage solution for Swiss hospitals and other data providers. It offers secure access to patient data as well as the performance required by research groups. The trust that we have gained to provide a secure environment for sensitive health data has enabled us to increase the number of research projects on the platform.”

“The challenge for SIB was to find a solution that would protect the data from unauthorized access and simultaneously accelerate GPU performance and application performance for the researchers,” said Pascal Suter, CTO at DALCO. “The Weka parallel file system was architected from the ground up to empower the modern datacenter, with flash optimization and seamless tiering to object storage on- premises or in the public cloud. As it delivers unsurpassed bandwidth to GPU servers, Weka was the best HPC storage solution for SIB.”

The complete solution has allowed SIB to support the varied workloads of its healthcare and research community and embed data encryption in-flight for security without compromising performance. In addition to ease of management with its simple, intuitive GUI, WekaFS provides advanced authentication services that securely restrict data access to authorized users only, including shared access using Weka’s private cloud multi-tenancy capability. Weka reduces management with automated tiering to object storage via an S3 gateway and delivers high performance and high bandwidth to accelerate research and discovery. SIB has not only enhanced the security of its infrastructure but realized several benefits, including an increase in trust from partners and more data on the platform.

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“We couldn’t be happier to be a core component of SIB’s infrastructure and to help accelerate life science research to improve the lives of people,” added Ken Grohe, president and CRO at WekaIO. “Weka is the defacto storage solution that solves big problems for the most active research companies in healthcare, pharma, biotech, and genomics. WekaFS uses a shared storage architecture that eliminates any GPU performance bottlenecks and scales without limits. With integrated tiering to object storage and a simple, intuitive management interface, Weka is as easy to use as it is powerful.”

Additional resources:

For more information or to locate a partner in the Weka Innovation Network, go to: https://www.weka.io/partners

For more information about the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, go to: https://www.sib.swiss/

For more information about DALCO, go to: http://www.dalco.ch/

About WekaIO
Weka offers WekaFS, the modern parallel file system that uniquely empowers organizations to solve the newest, biggest HPC storage problems holding back innovation. Optimized for NVMe and hybrid cloud storage, Weka handles the most demanding HPC storage challenges in the most data-intensive technical computing environments, delivering truly epic performance at any scale. Its modern architecture unlocks the full capabilities of today’s data center, allowing businesses to maximize the value of their high-powered IT investments. Weka helps industry leaders reach breakthrough innovations and solve previously unsolvable problems. For more information about WekaFS, go to: https://www.weka.io/products.

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We were looking for an HPC storage system that would be easy to manage and fully protect data with encryption at rest and in flight, all while maintaining the highest performance.

Dr. Heinz Stockinger
Head of the Core-IT Department, SIB