phoenixNAP, Intel Help TGen Build Platform for Sharing COVID-19 Research Data

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS hosting) provider phoenixNAP has announced a case study detailing its collaboration with Intel on building an IT platform for a COVID-19 project by Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope. Considering the volume and complexity of biomedical data, the platform needed powerful hardware to ensure seamless processing, reliable storage, and global availability.

In an effort to help the global fight against COVID-19, TGen proposed the creation of a centralized platform for knowledge and information sharing between researchers from all over the world. The platform is intended to automatically pull data related to COVID-19 sequenced genomes from multiple sources and provide an aggregated dataset to enable comparative research. This would help identify previously uncharacterized elements in the SARS-CoV-2 genome and observe important correlation between them for the purpose of improving diagnostics, vaccine constructs, and treatments for COVID-19.

phoenixNAP and Intel collaborated to provide a customized IaaS hosting solution to support TGen’s needs. phoenixNAP’s hardware-as-a-service powered by Intel Xeon Dual Gold 6258R CPUs and Intel NVMe’s (P4610) with Intel VROC, Intel NICs, and Intel Optane persistent memory met the needs of the project.

The “ultrafast” network experience for TGen is enabled through a customized implementation of Intel Tofino Programmable Ethernet Switch Products, which Intel has offered since the acquisition of Barefoot Networks in June 2019.

“We needed a robust computational environment for large data volumes and sophisticated analytical tools,” said Glen Otero, VP Scientific Computing, TGen. “We have maintained compute infrastructure with phoenixNAP for years, but we needed to expand and customize it to support this project. We got a more streamlined, powerful infrastructure that will give us enough power and memory, while at the same time providing us with a great degree of flexibility as our research expands. Intel Optane PMem emerged as a logical solution to support large data sets.


“Healthcare is becoming more intelligent, distributed, and personalized,” said Rachel Mushahwar, VP and GM, Intel US Sales, Enterprise, Government and Cloud Server Providers.Intel technologies are helping to enable a new era of smart, connected, value-based patient care, remote medicine and monitoring, individually tailored treatment plans, and more-efficient clinical operations. Intel-enabled technologies help optimize workflow to lower research and development costs, improve operational efficiency, speed time to market, and improve patient health.”

TGen has so far identified several new features in the SARS-CoV-2 genome and continues to focus on making new contributions to the cause. Its project addresses a critical need of the global biomedical community and promises to enhance further research on COVID-19. It would also demonstrate the potential of using innovative technology to make a difference in the lives of millions of people.

“TGen is doing an amazing job every day and this project is one of the examples of how they are actively working to make life-changing results,” said Ian McClarty, President of phoenixNAP. “We discussed their project and knew that Intel will be open to collaborating with us on building a proper platform for it. We are excited for having the opportunity to work with both Intel and TGen on something this relevant to the entire world.”