Netezza debuts biology-aware data warehouse for era of genomic medicine

Savannah 22 September 2003Netezza Corporation has unveiled its Netezza Performance Server (NPS) data warehouse for bioinformatics. Integrated with BLAST ("SQL-BLAST") and incorporating defined genomic data types, the NPS system delivers increased functionality and performance for large, complex and constantly growing bioinformatics analyses at half the cost of existing data warehouse systems. For genetic researchers, this means faster time to discovery for uncovering defects in proteins, and finding new therapeutic proteins and life-saving cures.

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For years, researchers and scientists have been thwarted by the inability of computers to process genomic data at the terabyte level including sequence analysis. The NPS system for bioinformatics is a biology-aware, tera-scale data warehouse that includes data types specific to bioinformatics applications and integrates sequence analysis using BLAST with an SQL relational database. Data processing can now be done in near real-time at the source of the data. Full sets of data, rather than sample subsets, can be analysed for a complete view of patterns and similarities. The NPS system manages fast data loads and optimizes ad hoc and complex queries for maximum performance, transforming the way researchers can use their data.

"The NPS system dramatically decreases the time and cost to produce gene profiles, sequence comparison results, and more quickly enables researchers to make important discoveries", stated Marshall Peterson, CTO, J. Craig Venter Science Foundation. "The NPS system delivers groundbreaking innovations and performance at the system architecture level, enabling genetic and other scientific researchers to analyse genomic data and combine it with other critical patient and clinical data. Managing a single copy of sequence data and associated structure data in an SQL database enables researchers to focus on important life sciences questions without having to worry about multiple copies of data in multiple formats that have to be kept in sync."

"Netezza is delivering innovation to several industries, and contributing to genomic medicine is particularly gratifying", stated Jit Saxena, co-founder and CEO of Netezza. "Our biology-aware data warehouse is a step towards Netezza's vision of helping companies and institutions increase productivity, facilitate innovation and reduce time to market by delivering previously impossible or unaffordable analyses at a fraction of the cost of the traditional patchwork of data warehouse technologies."

Until now, bioinformatics analyses have been performed on an expensive patchwork of supercomputers and software designed for scientific computing. The emphasis has been on computing and not data processing and management. But these systems are not scalable, powerful nor biology-specific enough to handle the exponentially growing amount of data being analysed, especially given the emerging need to integrate patient records with individual genetic codes and clinical test data. Given the scalability limitations of current database solutions, sequence analysis must be run outside the database on separate supercomputers.

This process is slow, cumbersome and unreliable. To speed the process, researchers often partition data, but this practice limits the researcher's ability to perform the comprehensive "all against all" comparisons that are so critical to new discoveries. As proven in the Business Intelligence marketplace, the NPS system delivers 10 to 50 times the performance for large, complex and constantly evolving data analyses at half the cost of existing systems.

"As a result of productivity improvements in laboratory equipment and methods, organisations engaged in life sciences R&D are challenged by the explosive growth in data volumes", stated Dan Vesset, research manager, Analytics and Data Warehousing, IDC. "By introducing its latest, biology-aware version of the Business Intelligence appliance, Netezza is bringing the ease-of-use and performance benefits of the NPS system to the life sciences informatics industry. Combined with its SQL-BLAST capability, the new system enables improvements in data management productivity and decision-making processes for researchers and scientists."

Netezza also launched two new configurations and other innovations for the Netezza Performance Server (NPS) enterprise-class data appliance that double the speed and triple the data capacity for companies that need fast, on-demand analysis of terabytes of business-critical information.

The NPS system combines servers, storage and database into a single powerful, enterprise-class appliance created from the outset to process queries faster and enable complex analysis that was not previously possible because of large and fast-growing data sizes. By combining, mature off-the-shelf components and a standards-based architecture that doesn't require customers to restructure data, tools or applications, Netezza delivers a dramatically lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than today's patchwork approach, making the NPS system an affordable solution for tera-scale genomic sequence analysis.

Through its Asymmetric Massively Parallel Processing (AMPP) architecture, the system combines the processing power of SMP with the scalability of MPP to deliver breakthrough price/performance. Netezza's Intelligent Query Streaming design implements query functions in silicon and enables intelligent data streaming at the disk level, shattering traditional performance benchmarks by removing many of the technical roadblocks that paralyze today's patchwork of general-purpose offerings.

Built for quick deployment, simple administration and nearly infinite scaling, the NPS 8000 series is fully compatible with existing data warehouse infrastructures, applications, legacy systems and data. The NPS data warehouse for bioinformatics is available immediately. Pricing for the NPS 8000 series begins at $622.000.

Netezza is a fast-growing provider of enterprise-class data appliances for on-demand analysis of terabytes of business-critical information. The Netezza Performance Server (NPS) system is the first enterprise-class data appliance optimized for Business Intelligence (BI) on tens, even hundreds, of terabytes of data in today's real-time enterprise.

The NPS appliance is being used by data-intensive organisations in telecommunications, financial services, retail, bioinformatics, government and other markets to enable faster, more sophisticated analysis while allowing companies to leverage their existing infrastructure. Founded in 2000 and based in Framingham, Massachusetts, the company has raised more than $53 million from leading venture capital firms, including Matrix Partners, Charles River Ventures, Battery Ventures, Orange Ventures, and Sequoia Capital.


Leslie Versweyveld

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