The Challenge

There is a growing trend for early phases of drug discovery to be done in academic institutions. Academia is an area where a relatively small but important investment in research can yield tremendous results. Many universities possess the talent to contribute greatly to emerging research. However, the challenge to produce results has gotten greater as well.

The Wistar Institute, at The University of Pennsylvania, is an international leader in biomedical research. Various groups within Wistar have worked with RCH since 1992. They were challenged with developing an effective strategic plan to scale their existing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) compute and storage environment to maximize their NGS investment.

The question was how to provide a cost-effective rapid solution to complement the existing infrastructure. Their existing challenges included:

  • Inadequate instrument vendor supplied servers and storage
  • High storage management overhead
  • Computational limitations – needed faster time to results

The Solution

RCH was able to architect, implement and support the entire hardware solution. We worked directly with the internal research scientists and IT infrastructure team to provide the optimum scalable solution for this dynamic environment. Our work included deployment of an IBM compute cluster and fast modular storage arrays for future growth. We proposed:

  • Flexible and scalable industry leading servers
  • Cost effective high performance storage
  • Minimal management administration overhead
  • Scalable computationally

The Results

Through RCH, the Wistar Institute now has a comprehensive, scalable, flexible solution designed to strategically support their dynamic NGS environment. Fortunately, they were able to work with a vendor in RCH that has specific experience and expertise in working with such research groups and environments. They are now in a position to scale appropriately to support not only data growth from changes in instrumentation but, application modification as well.


The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research, with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. It is located in the University City section of Philadelphia, Pa.