Data WarehousesBig DataCloud AnalyticsResearch Analytics
University of Colorado
Objective: Clinical research data warehouses (RDWs) linked to genomic pipelines and open data archives are being created to support innovative, complex data-driven discoveries. The computing and storage needs of these research environments may quickly exceed the capacity of on-premises systems. New RDWs are migrating to cloud platforms for the scalability and flexibility needed to meet these challenges. We describe our experience in migrating a multi-institutional RDW to a public cloud. Materials and Methods: This study is descriptive. Primary materials included internal and public presentations before and after the transition, analysis documents, and actual billing records. Findings were aggregated into topical categories. Results: Eight categories of migration issues were identified. Unanticipated challenges included legacy system limitations; network, computing, and storage architectures that realize performance and cost benefits in the face of hyper-innovation, complex security reviews and approvals, and limited cloud consulting expertise. Discussion: Cloud architectures enable previously unavailable capabilities, but numerous pitfalls can impede realizing the full benefits of a cloud environment. Rapid changes in cloud capabilities can quickly obsolete existing architectures and associated institutional policies. Touchpoints with on-premise networks and systems can add unforeseen complexity. Governance, resource management, and cost oversight are critical to allow rapid innovation while minimizing wasted resources and unnecessary costs. Conclusions: Migrating our RDW to the cloud has enabled capabilities and innovations that would not have been possible with an on-premises environment. Notwithstanding the challenges of managing cloud resources, the resulting RDW capabilities have been highly positive to our institution, research community, and partners.
Michael G. KahnJoyce Y. MuiMichael J. AmesAnoop K. YamsaniNikita PozdeyevNicholas RafaelsIan M. Brooks