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How We Helped a Genomics Company Migrate Petabytes of Data to the Cloud

In today’s data-driven world, the ability to efficiently store and manage vast amounts of information is crucial. For a large genomics company, migrating petabytes of data to the cloud was a complex and challenging endeavor. In this blog post, we will explore the solutions we provided and the benefits our client experienced throughout the migration process.


Migrating large amounts of data to the cloud poses unique and complex challenges that demand meticulous planning, implementation of robust security measures, and seamless integration with existing workflows. Our goal, as a dedicated team, was to ensure a smooth and efficient transition for our valued client, minimizing any potential downtime and maximizing the utmost level of data security. With a comprehensive strategy in place, we meticulously executed each step, safeguarding the integrity and confidentiality of the data throughout the migration process.

Initial Data Assessment

Before embarking on the migration journey, we conducted a thorough assessment of the genomics company’s data. This step was critical in understanding the scope of the project, identifying any potential pitfalls, and developing a comprehensive migration strategy.

The genomics company’s data was largely unstructured and scattered across multiple systems, creating a unique challenge for data retrieval and migration. Unstructured data, by its very nature, lacks a pre-defined format or organization, making it difficult to manage, process, and analyze. Additionally, the fact that this data was dispersed across various systems further complicated matters. These systems were relatively unmanaged, leading to inconsistencies in data quality, the potential for redundancies, and difficulty in locating specific data when needed. The sheer volume of data, combined with its unstructured format and lack of centralized management, necessitated a meticulous, detail-oriented approach to retrieve, organize, and migrate the data to the cloud without any loss of information integrity.

Ensuring Data Security during Transfer

Data security is of paramount importance, especially when dealing with sensitive genomic information. We implemented robust encryption protocols, network segmentation, and access controls to safeguard the data during the transfer process. Our client could trust that their valuable data remained secure every step of the way.

Migrating Data using AWS Snowball

To handle the sheer volume of data, we leveraged AWS Snowball, a powerful data transfer device. This rugged, portable appliance enabled us to physically transport large amounts of data from the client’s premises to the AWS cloud. The use of AWS Snowball significantly expedited the migration process and ensured efficient data transfer.

Testing and Validation after Migration

After successfully completing the complex and intricate data migration, we meticulously conducted a series of comprehensive testing and validation procedures. These rigorous measures were implemented to meticulously ensure the utmost integrity, accuracy, and reliability of the transferred data. Our dedicated team meticulously scrutinized every aspect, leaving no stone unturned, to identify even the slightest discrepancies or errors. With prompt rectification and meticulous attention to detail, we guarantee a seamless and flawless transition for the genomics company, instilling confidence in the reliability of their data.

Making Unstructured Data Searchable

One of the significant challenges our client faced was parsing and indexing petabytes of unstructured data. We implemented advanced techniques and algorithms to convert PDFs and unstructured text into searchable formats. This transformation enabled researchers to easily access and retrieve specific information, saving them valuable time and enhancing their productivity.

Harnessing the Power of Open Source Software – Apache Tika

Leveraging the potency of open source software, we employed Apache Tika, a versatile and robust toolkit, to facilitate the transformation of unstructured data. This powerful library, an epitome of collaborative innovation in the open-source community, provides a simplistic yet effective solution to extract text and metadata from a multitude of file types. Apache Tika’s ability to parse even the most complex and obscure file formats with ease played an instrumental role in making our client’s unstructured data searchable. This open-source software proved indispensable in our endeavor to streamline data retrieval, demonstrating the immense potential of open-source solutions in addressing complex data challenges.

Custom Interface for Researchers

Recognizing the importance of user-friendly data interaction, we developed a custom interface tailored to the needs of the genomics company’s researchers. This intuitive interface allowed them to navigate through the vast amount of data effortlessly, empowering them to extract valuable insights and drive scientific advancements.

Leveraging AWS Cloud Services

To support the new workflows and infrastructure, we harnessed the power of AWS cloud services. These services provided scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency, enabling our client to optimize their operations, reduce downtime, and achieve significant cost savings.

In our quest to provide a comprehensive solution, we found particular utility in Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), Amazon S3, and OpenSearch. Amazon ECS enabled us to effectively manage and scale containerized applications, allowing us to rapidly deploy necessary updates and changes to the system. This ensured our client’s workflows remained uninterrupted and highly efficient.

Amazon S3, with its unmatched durability, scalability, and security, served as the ideal storage solution for the vast genomic data. Its easy-to-use management features along with the ability to configure fine-tuned access controls, proved instrumental in securely managing the extensive data sets while also facilitating seamless data retrieval.

OpenSearch, on the other hand, provided a robust and scalable full-text search and analytics engine. Its powerful features facilitated efficient indexing of the vast data volumes, thereby significantly boosting the search operation’s speed and accuracy. This was instrumental in quickly pinpointing precise data sections, enabling researchers to gain valuable insights with ease. Collectively, the deployment of ECS, S3, and OpenSearch played a crucial role in our successful realization of a high-performing, scalable, and cost-efficient data management solution.

Case Study Results and Benefits

The successful migration of petabytes of data to the cloud brought numerous benefits to our client, including:

  • Time saved in data retrieval due to improved search capabilities
  • Increased data security with robust encryption and access controls
  • Improved data accessibility, allowing researchers to quickly access and analyze information
  • Cost savings from the elimination of expensive on-premises infrastructure and maintenance
  • Enhanced workflow efficiency, enabling faster scientific breakthroughs and discoveries


Migrating petabytes of data to the cloud requires careful planning, meticulous execution, and comprehensive solutions. Our experience in helping the genomics company successfully navigate this complex process resulted in improved data management, enhanced security, and increased efficiency. The benefits of a well-executed data migration are invaluable, empowering businesses to stay at the forefront of innovation and scientific discovery.