Podcast: Preemptible VMs Lower Cost of Cancer Research at Broad Insitutue

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Jason Stowe, CEO, Cycle Computing

Jason Stowe, CEO, Cycle Computing

In this podcast, Jason Stowe from Cycle Computing describes how the Broad Institute is mapping cancer genes with CycleCloud.

According to Stowe, Cycle Computing recently ran a 50,000+ core workload for the B​road Institute with low-cost Preemptible VMs on the Google Compute Engine, performing three decades of cancer research computations in a single afternoon.

Cycle’s mission is to enable our customers to easily access the Big Compute resources required to solve problems and meet deadlines. Over the years our software has orchestrated workloads both internally and externally while accelerating the move to cloud. This is why we were ready when the Broad Institute came to us with a problem: Their cancer researchers saw value in a highly-complex genome analysis, but even though they already had powerful processing systems in-house, running the analysis would take months or more. We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to utilize Google Compute Engine’s Preemptible VMs to further their cancer research, which was anatural part of our mission. And now that Preemptible VMs are generally available , we’re excited to tell you about this work.

Over the past decade, the Broad Institute has collected and either sequenced or genotyped the equivalent of more than 1.4 million biological samples. They are a pioneer in genomics research to benefit human health. This new data suite is designed to be affordably re-run as new experimental data become available, and Preemptible VMs enable that affordability and flexibility.

These types of analyses provide the clues that can lead to breakthroughs in disease research, such as cancer, and this kind of cloud-based infrastructure helps us remove some of the local computing barriers that can stand in the way,” said Chris Dwan, Acting Director of Information Technology at the Broad Institute. “Flexible processing power allows us to think on a much larger scale.”

 What is a Preemptible VM?

Preemptible VMs are the same as regular instances on the Google Compute Engine, except for one key difference – they may be shut down at any time. While that may sound disruptive, it actually makes them a great choice for distributed, fault-tolerant workloads that do not require continuous availability of any single instance. By not guaranteeing indefinite uptime, Google is able to offer them at a substantial discount to normal instances.

Stowe says that Cycle Computings full suite of products will soon work on Google Compute Engine, including the optional use of Preemptible VMs.

Customers already using CycleCloud will find that Google Compute Engine Preemptible VMs are an easy choice for reducing costs for financial, big data, insurance, manufacturing, life sciences, and engineering workloads, whether you need 50 cores or 50,000. Preemptible VMs are a great new offering for big compute, analytics, and batch workloads, and we’re happy to support them as an option for our customers. The Broad Institute’s story showcases a production workload running in 6 hours instead of 6 weeks, thanks to Preemptible VMs.

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