Igneous Brings Structure To Unstructured Data With As-A-Service Solution

By Benjamin Ross

January 9, 2019 | Igneous, a Seattle-based Unstructured Data Management (UDM) provider, is offering its cloud-native solution to data-centric organizations in order to both monitor large amounts of data and prevent silos within the clinical research space.

The as-a-Service solution, consisting of Igneous DataDiscover, Igneous DataProtect, and Igneous DataFlow, provides all aspects of UDM at scale.

DataDiscover provides support to IT and data owners that need to find the right datasets for analysis; DataProtect is an IT-focused tool that simplifies data protection and archive as-a-Service; and DataFlow extends the capability for customers that want to manage API-driven automated data protection workflows.

Igneous licenses their technologies against terabytes of data under management. DataProtect customers have early access to DataFlow and DataDiscover now; the products will be available independently in the future.

Igneous’s solution was created to address three key issues that continually arise when it comes to managing structured and unstructured data: the ability to govern data, to both see and understand the data, and to create an accessibility paradigm so that users can access the right data at the right time.

Igneous’s Lead Solutions Architect, David Clements, told Bio-IT World that one of the reasons he joined Igneous was because, as a former solutions architect at Amgen, he’s seen the issues of UDM firsthand.

“When you work in that kind of environment it’s very difficult to include the requirements of your customer base or business units into the solutions you deliver,” Clements said. “[At Igneous] we include the ability to build out an ostensible workflow, so that you can then act upon your data in its different stages from basic patient data to research data that’s been anonymized and categorized.” “We’ve been in the data protection space for over a year now,” Allison Armstrong, Igneous’s VP of Marketing, told Bio-IT World. “And what we learned is that there were still some severely unmet needs with data-intensive organizations around the ability to see all their unstructured data, to get a sense for what they have and where it is, and then be able to make good decisions on what to do with that data.”

The  pain points of data management are important to the structure of Igneous, she said, so the company reached out to over 200 leaders in IT to see what aspects of data management were impacting them the most.

“We wanted to get a broad sense of the aspects of [UDM] and how it’s impacting these IT leaders,” Armstrong said. “There were about 10 aspects of [UDM] that we wanted to get a better understanding of how important they were, how challenging they were to solve, how well companies were doing in terms of meeting these priorities, and what we heard was that the aspects of managing structured data are different than managing unstructured data. People haven’t been focusing on managing unstructured data; they’ve been simply relying on more disk.”

This approach leads to data silos, Armstrong explained, where primary storage systems don’t interoperate. “It’s not conducive to democratized discovery of data,” she said.

The potential of how data can be analyzed and stored has shifted, says Clement.

“We’ve been talking for a while about data having gravity, where I’m going to dump all of this data here and try to sit next to it and process it,” Clements said. “The idea of being able to say, ‘Wait a minute, now you have a data stream where you have data where it needs to be and it’s being distributed out and moves with your systems’ is very exciting to me. I’m no longer tied down by my data to one way of dealing with things.”

Clements says the cloud aspect of the solution allows the customer to manage their data however they want, and customers retain ownership of their data throughout the process. Igneous also recently announced enhanced integrations with three major public cloud storage providers: Microsoft, Google, Amazon.

“At no point in time do we take ownership of our customer’s data within our cloud infrastructure,” said Clements. “When you look at us as a hybrid-cloud approach you can think of it as a cloud-based management plane that allows you to have an index across all your different data centers. Your data resides either onsite or within your own cloud solution.”

Armstrong says it’s exciting to see what the solution offers to Igneous’s customer base moving forward.

“When I think about what all our life science customers are able to do in terms of getting data in the right hands at the right time for the right usage, it’s a big plus for us,” she said. “This means improving cancer diagnosis, this means understanding the human brain for dementia prevention.”

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