March 3, 2017

Ensembl and AWS: an Industrial Perspective

The excellent AWS Case Study on Ensembl is of particular interest to us at Eagle, not only because Glenn Proctor has since joined us as Principal Consultant, but also because we also have extensive experience in deploying Ensembl on EC2.

Our "Elastic Ensembl" was deployed in it's most sophisticated guise for Pistoia Sequence Services Phase 1, in collaboration with Cognizant. The brief was to develop a secure, scalable, hosted instance of Ensembl for pharma users. Single sign on (SSO) user authentication was achieved by lodging Ensembl behind an OpenAM user agent and effortless auto-scaling and load balancing came courtesy of the Zeus Traffic Manager. Apart from the 'industrial' platform on which it was deployed, the browser itself was vanilla Ensembl code, with databases loaded from the Public Data Sets on AWS.

This project ably demonstrates the use of AWS for deploying complex web resources, and integrating them with best-of-breed commercial and open source offerings from the likes of Zeus and ForgeRock. It also shows how fantastic it is to have vital public resources like Ensembl available 'locally' (in AWS terms) via the Public Data Sets.

- Will Spooner

Topics: AWS, Big data technology, Bioinformatics, eaglensembl, pistoia