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European Bioinformatics Institute

NetApp ONTAP feature NetApp FlexGroup gives scientists around the world the ability to access large volumes of open data for life science research.
European Bioinformatics Institute featured
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European Bioinformatics Institute

Biology and Big Data Make a Big Difference in Europe

What began in the 1980s as a modest task of abstracting information from scientific literature soon became a major database activity with direct electronic submissions of data and the need for highly skilled informatics staff. The task grew in scale with the start of genome projects and gained visibility as the data became relevant to commercial research.

Today scientists increasingly turn to AI, machine learning, and deep learning to solve bioscience problems and generate new products and solutions. The European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) now supports millions of researchers in all areas of the life sciences, from biomedicine to bio-diversity and agri-food research. To accomplish this mission, the Institute manages three data centers and 120PB of raw storage capacity to handle 27 million web requests each day.

We don't want to get in the way of science with technical barriers restricting the ability to create and manipulate data. The key for us is open data. That is what EBI's all about—allowing seamless access to the data sets that are forever growing.

Zander Mears Storage System Administrator, European Bioinformatic Institute

Because EBI stores data forever so scientists can always access what they need, robust file systems are necessary. To free up as much money as possible for research, cost-effectiveness is also required.

The Institute chose NetApp ONTAP® feature NetApp FlexGroup for its robustness and flexibility. The Institute needed a solution that didn’t have an inherent metadata limitation. To handle some of the Institute’s file systems that are massively metadata heavy, NetApp developed the new FlexGroup product.


Manage and store 120PB of data in three data centers to support 27 million daily web searches and give scientists all over the world information to solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges.

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