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Migration, HIPAA, & DevOps

A Story of Owning Change

About IDbyDNA

IDbyDNA is transforming genetic discovery and disease detection with an ambitious promise: to identify any microbe, from any sample, anywhere in the world. At the core of this promise is innovative metagenomics technology that simultaneously profiles tens of thousands of microorganisms and pathogens in any sample. IDbyDNA’s Explify®; Platform easily integrates into medical laboratories to deliver actionable information to healthcare providers. Working with their global partners, IDbyDNA is setting the standard for the identification and understanding of microorganisms and their role in human health.

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We are really happy to have partnered with 1Strategy. They helped us lay the foundation for a secure, highly available, and easy-to-manage AWS implementation. The project was well managed, on-time, and on-budget…

Qing Li, VP of Products, IDbyDNA

The Challenge

At IDbyDNA , tackling gnarly metagenomics problems is a way of life. Confronting these problems while scaling to meet customer demand, controlling costs, and maintaining HIPAA compliance in an on-premises environment, however, was another story.

The Explify® Platform requires significant amounts of computing capacity—and in an on-premises environment, that capacity tended to run up costs, fast. Deciding how much capacity to provision was a balancing act: too little, and customer job times were impacted. Too much, and money went down the drain. IDbyDNA had struck a balance that largely worked, but it worked at the cost of not being able to run multiple customer jobs at once. It was also difficult to easily scale that computing capacity to meet changing customer demands.

Aside from the challenges with scaling and cost management, valuable engineering time to create and maintain a HIPAA-compliant environment on-premises was being squeezed. Faced with these challenges, IDbyDNA decided to opt for a better way.

Why Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) makes it easy to scale compute capacity in response to demand. AWS also offers extensive support for implementing HIPAA-compliant architectures; for example, it’s easy to configure requirements like end-to-end encryption with AWS. By teaming up with 1Strategy, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, IDbyDNA was able to migrate their platform to AWS—and are prepared to achieve HIPAA compliance for that platform—in a matter of months.

The Benefits

1Strategy started by laying a solid AWS foundation for IDbyDNA, then turned their attention to creating an architecture for the analysis servers that would allow them to scale. In the on-premises environment, these analysis servers had to be kept running even when idle, which was a waste of money. However, AWS allowed for an event-based architecture. In this architecture, the analysis servers that crunch customer metagenomics data are only provisioned when they’re needed.

This architecture gave IDbyDNA two big wins. First, the compute resources were only provisioned when needed, which saved on costs. Secondly—and very important for a growing company—they could now run many customer jobs at once, and scale almost infinitely to meet demand. As a side benefit, those jobs ran up to 20% faster than before.

In addition, 1Strategy was able to architect this whole system in a HIPAA-compliant manner. By following the AWS best practices and leveraging the built-in encryption capabilities of AWS services like S3, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Amazon Elastic File System (EFS), and DocumentDB, as well as implementing sound governance and auditing capabilities, IDbyDNA is in a position to pass the HIPAA audit of their AWS environment with flying colors.

Finally, 1Strategy made this whole architecture easy to deploy and manage over the long term. When an engineer commits code, AWS CodePipeline automatically deploys it into a test environment, then manages the promotion of those changes to production. This DevOps workflow represents a time-saving improvement over their previous manual deployment processes.

Qing Li, VP of Products at IDbyDNA, was happy to have worked with 1Strategy and says 1Strategy, “helped us lay the foundation for a secure, highly available, and easy-to-manage AWS implementation. The project was well managed, on-time, and on-budget. A third-party IT security auditing company we hired later commented that the implementation was well architected and professional.”

This means that IDbyDNA can now focus on what it does best: enabling laboratories, researchers and doctors around the world to identify microorganisms and understand their associations with health and disease. That, in turn, will drive diagnosis and treatment improvements that will ultimately benefit us all.

The work described in this engagement was originally completed by 1Strategy, a TEKsystems Global Services company acquired in 2019. As of June 2023, 1Strategy has fully integrated with TEKsystems Global Services to continue to deliver AWS expertise to customers. Learn more about our AWS solutions.

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