Euformatics turns to Oracle Cloud to help geneticists interpret gene sequencing data faster and find the key changes in the genomes of patients.
“With Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing we bring everything to a unified cloud platform. Geneticists and clinicians don't have to filter through multiple databases to collect information from next-generation sequencing measurements. On Oracle Cloud, we give them the tools they need to drive genomic interpretation forward.”
The Finnish software company specializes in bioinformatics tools for genomic data interpretation. The company’s software helps geneticists get the most out of next-generation sequencing (NGS)—new sequencing methods for DNA and RNA gene sequencing, which geneticists use in basic, applied, and clinical research as well as regular clinical practice.
NGS produces an enormous amount of data to allow clinicians to look at genes on the molecular level to make diagnostic analyses and therapy decisions. However, delivering modern tools and databases for promoting usage of NGS presented Euformatics with a set of roadblocks to overcome.
The company’s main challenge was ensuring the security of gene sequencing data in a streamlined and simple-to-manage process. Some of Euformatics’ customers insisted that all data had to be stored on-premises, within the hospital’s firewall. So the company stored NGS data both on-premises and in the cloud, using Amazon RDS. Using a hybrid model made the process time-consuming and difficult to manage, pushing Euformatics to find a unified cloud platform that ensured the end-to-end security of all the data it manages.
Euformatics needed to find the right database solution to store and process such a considerable volume of historical NGS data. As a fast-growing company, Euformatics required a platform that could scale quickly to meet its needs while remaining cost-effective.
Tied to the requirements for security, high performance of its applications, and scalability, the company had to ensure speed of new deployment. Due to the implementation of various security protocols requested by customers who wanted to have everything stored on-premises, installations could take a long time and require numerous IT staff. Also, because all the data was stored on-premises, those customers could not benefit from the high-performance capabilities of the cloud-based tools.
Why Euformatics chose Oracle
Euformatics chose Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) with Oracle Application Express (APEX) for several reasons. First, customer data is always secure on Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing because all data stored is self-encrypted. “The always-secure feature that Oracle has is essential for us. We don't have to spend time configuring security-related settings,” says CTO Jussi Volanen. Furthermore, Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing can self-tune, self-repair, self-patch, and autoscale, capabilities not available in other cloud databases.
Since the autonomous solution is tailored primarily for complex transaction processing workloads, including operational reporting or batch data processing, it is ideal for Euformatics. “We don't have to spend time configuring security-related settings, and that is key for us,” says Volanen.
Oracle APEX, a feature of Oracle Autonomous Database, is another reason why Euformatics chose Oracle. “Oracle APEX is really a low code application development framework, which helps our developers focus on business functionalities instead of writing code,” says Volanen.
After moving to OCI, Euformatics reduced the costs and efforts of deploying applications, while gaining the ability to scale on demand. “Oracle Cloud is definitely the easier option,” says Volanen. “Also, the scalability is another important benefit. We don't have to think about what happens if the customer suddenly starts sequencing more genomes or if we get more customers. Oracle ATP on OCI autoscales accordingly.”
OCI is resilient to failures, ensuring protection of all information that Euformatics stores in the Oracle ATP database. “We can now share with our customers that the cloud we use is as safe, if not safer, than any on-premises system,” says Jamie McDonald, account executive.
“For example, when our customers switched from sequencing a few genes to multiple genes or entire genomes, the response times of our on-premises systems increased significantly. On Oracle Cloud Infrastructure we do not notice any difference,” says McDonald.
Another key aspect of Oracle Autonomous Database is that it can handle hybrid loads, supporting both Online Transaction Processing and data warehouse use for analytics. Euformatics puts its focus on fast OLTP processing because customers frequently update the information stored in databases. That makes Oracle ATP extremely useful because every time a user uploads a sample, the sample is automatically stored and remembered by the system. This way, geneticists can see the entire history of a gene variant, plus any notes they made about it, and can help clinicians make better-informed decisions.
The partnership with Oracle also helped Euformatics grow as a business. The company doubled its workforce and developed a global presence with customers from Australia to the Middle East, the US, and Europe. “The key output in terms of growth is that our development teams are now able to keep up with our sales teams. We can now onboard more customers and service them quicker. We also clearly improved the experience of our customers,” says Volanen.