The objective of the IFB is to deploy a national bioinformatics infrastructure accessible to the medical and life sciences research communities. The IFB offers a portfolio of services including a physical infrastructure (storage & computing), generic and specialized software environments, biological databases, user support, consulting for the design and implementation of scientific projects and training.
The IFB’s services have two main objectives: the deployment of a high-performance bioinformatics service optimized for the needs of the life sciences communities (university laboratories and industries) and the development of innovative bioinformatics resources to address strategic challenges in health, environment and agriculture.
Services to the communities are provided by the NNCR, it includes all the equipment (IFB-core + regional platforms) contributing to the provision of services. The NNCR relies on a distributed infrastructure consisting of the IFB-core servers (Cloud in Lyon and Cluster in Orsay) and nine high-performance computing platforms located in different regions. This network is open to the French and international research communities, both public and private, in the field of life sciences.
Compared to data processing in other scientific fields, the special characteristics of biological data make them dependent on a very specific hardware architecture, software environment and data collections that are currently not available in national computing centres. To meet these challenges, the IFB has organized its services by decentralizing physical, logistical and human resources.
Such decentralization of resources offers at least four main advantages:
The NNCR provides resources (computing, storage) as well as services (support, account opening, software and database installation, website and virtual machine hosting, software/database/ information system development and bio-data analysis).
In parallel to the Cloud solution, the IFB offers HPC (High Performance Computer) Cluster type solutions, i.e. two types of infrastructure for storage, data calculation, training support and learning. This modular environment helps developers ensure best practices in software development and deployment and helps users find, access and deploy these resources. The IFB is also one of the main contributors to the European ELIXIR tool registry, bio.tools.
The Cloud, a service offering pre-configured software environments, for which the user is the administrator, dedicated to specific bioinformatics analysis.
Clusters, offering a set of pre-installed tools directly usable on large volumes of processors and memory.