How to Build a Scalable IT Infrastructure for Your Life Science Startup

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 6/27/13 3:39 PM

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The laboratory of your life science startup is a hot bed of activity. As your researchers and technicians race to prove that your concept is sound and your executive team works to ensure your business model is solid, large amounts of information are coming in and out of your lab lab and executive operations. Properly storing, securing and protecting this large amount of data is the responsibility of your IT systems, processes, and people.

When the needs of your lab change, the capabilities of the technology that supports it need to change as well. If you find that you suddenly need to process tens of thousands of gigabytes of information, or store a similar amount of data for later analysis, the tools you have in place may not be adequate. That is why scalable IT has become such an important issue in the life sciences. Your technology needs to be able to change as fast as your lab does. The following features should be a part of any IT infrastructure that is flexible and adaptive.

Limitless Storage Space

Today, storage is the primary concern when it comes to scaling your IT capabilities. Life science startups running a wide variety of experiments are wrestling with the challenges of “big data.” Managing huge new information sources in the form of high-throughput screening, electronic medical records, high resolution imaging, and other 21st century lab processes is no small task. If you do not have the storage space and pre-planning to accommodate this data soundly, all of its utility is lost.

A scalable IT infrastructure must be able to provide you with exponentially more storage space at a moment's notice. Cloud storage services and other off-site computing solutions can complement local high-speed storage and allow you to address as much storage space as your life science startup needs, whenever you need it most. These solutions also help you to predict and prepare for the cost of scaling up your storage capability.

Advanced networking

New sources of data are not the only reason that your company could need to scale its IT. Life science startups often begin with just a few employees, but when new sources of funding are secured, or new experiments initiated, your staff list can double or triple in a matter of weeks. Bringing new users onto your system and giving them the tools they need can tax your existing IT capabilities.

New advances in networking technology make it easy to add new computers and technologies into your existing system. Virtualization is just one example of this. It is now possible for multiple server instances to run on a single hardware platform allowing you to scale server computing quickly and at a more predictable cost. Data storage is managed on separate devices, which makes it significantly easier for you to change and grow to meet your startup's rapidly changing needs. Desktop virtualization is also something that has been around for a while but finally at a place that even small companies can leverage this exciting technology.

ITO Partnerships

The best way to scale quickly and effectively is to have an IT service provider that can help you manage the process and understands the changing solutions landscape in the IT field. If they have designed and installed your existing IT infrastructure, they understand exactly what it will take to expand it. Their experience and expertise can be an invaluable resource when you need to make big changes quickly. Rely on professionals to ensure that all your present and future IT needs are met.

To learn more about how necessary it is to have a scalable IT infrastructure and how possible it is with today's technologies, read our white paper “After the Seed: Planning IT Investment for a Biotech Startup.”

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Topics: IT Outsourcing, IT Support, Biotechnology Startup, IT Efficiency, Biotech, IT Infrastructure