Introducing Workflows, the New Standard in Cloud Bioinformatics
August 3, 2017

Today, DNAstack announced the launch of a major update to its cloud-based genomics software platform. 

The update contains many new features, including a revolutionary application called Workflows that makes it easier and more affordable than ever for genome scientists to find, develop, share, and run bioinformatics workflows at scale. The app brings the most advanced technologies and standards for bioinformatics to market and positions DNAstack as a commercial leader in cloud genomics.



 “Our mission is to improve and save lives by democratizing access to genomics data and the infrastructure needed to analyze it at scale,” said Dr. Marc Fiume, the company’s CEO and co-founder. Dr. Fiume also co-chairs the Beacon Project, an international data sharing initiative as part of the Global Alliance for Genomics & Health (GA4GH).

“With the release of Workflows, we’re making the latest technologies in genomics broadly accessible and fostering standards to promote open science, reproducibility, sharing, and collaboration.” — Marc Fiume, CEO at DNAstack

DNAstack is increasing global access to bioinformatics by offering its platform without a subscription fee for research use and competitive pay-per-use pricing for data storage and computation.

Users of the Workflows App can choose from a growing selection of high quality, curated pipelines like Broad Institute’s GATK Best Practices, a popular end-to-end genotyping toolkit, or author their own custom analyses. The Workflows App runs pipelines written in the Workflow Description Language (WDL), a language developed at the Broad Institute that is being adopted as a community standard. “WDL enables analysts to create and understand pipelines with as little friction as possible,” said Jeff Gentry, Senior Principal Software Engineer at the Broad Institute and co-chair of the Containers & Workflows Task Team at GA4GH.

“The ability to execute those pipelines in different environments, like DNAstack, is critical to the success of the whole ecosystem.” — Jeff Gentry, Broad Institute

DNAstack’s application includes a WDL editor for authoring workflows that gives bioinformaticians and software developers a unified platform for developing, refining, and running their pipelines in the cloud.

DNAstack has collaborated with Ontario Institute of Cancer Research and University of California, Santa Cruz to connect the Workflows App to Dockstore, a repository of tools and workflows shared by members of the community. Now, users can browse the catalog of pipelines available on Dockstore and click to deploy them on their own data in DNAstack. “Consistent and coordinated processing of millions of samples collected from around the world will be needed to resolve complex diseases like cancer,” said Dr. Brian O’Connor, who helped create Dockstore. Dr. O’Connor is the Technical Director of the Computational Genomics Platform UC Santa Cruz and co-chair of the GA4GH Containers & Workflows Task Team. “Dockstore is a resource for sharing Docker-based workflow definitions, and the integration with DNAstack brings exciting new efficiencies and scale with which they can be run.” DNAstack is the first system to streamline execution of workflows from Dockstore.

DNAstack uses Google Cloud Platform to distribute the execution of computationally intensive tasks across tens of thousands of compute cores, on-demand. DNAstack has massive throughput, with the ability to process over a quarter million whole human genome sequences per year. DNAstack has recently become a Google Cloud Technology Partner, bringing deeper levels of integration between the two platforms.

Workflows is already being used around the world to accelerate research in cancer, autism, and rare disease. Academic and clinical researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto have used the application to run thousands of workflows on DNAstack. As organizations continue to adopt whole genome sequencing as the new standard in genomics medicine, the new addition of Workflows to DNAstack’s platform provides a simple, cost-effective, and powerful path towards their implementation of precision medicine in research and point of care.

The Workflows App is available to all DNAstack users. 

About DNAstack

DNAstack develops a cloud-based platform for genomics data analysis and sharing. Through collaborations with Google, Broad Institute, and the Global Alliance for Genomics & Health, DNAstack provides push-button access to state-of-the-art technologies to help researchers, clinical laboratories, and pharmaceutical companies more quickly and cost-effectively make sense of the world’s exponentially accumulating genomics data and break down barriers to data sharing.

Photo Credits

Feature photo by Michał Kubalczyk