4 min readThe Beginning of Pay Per Use Services for Bioinformatics Software?
Additionally, over recent years we have seen an increasing number of major IT services companies such as Sun, IBM and HP extend this to offer access to data storage and processing power as well as just software. Sun for example, is now offering the Sun Grid Compute Utility at the cost of US$1 / CPU / hour.
So while we have seen, for some time now, forms of PPU in game rental, bulk licensing and more recently for storage and processing facilities, we have seen little evidence of this structure – IT as a service – PPU existing for bioinformatics applications or indeed life science applications on a whole. Until now that is. Equinox Pharma has just announced the launch of equinoxppu.com, a new web portal that enables researchers worldwide to access Equinox bioinformatics software on a ‘pay as you go’ basis. Possibly the first example anywhere of PPU software for bioinformatics.
To me this is a seemingly odd situation. For an industry composed of many highly specialized but often small companies and research groups, access to bioinformatics IT services through PPU is fiscally good sense – avoiding the large upfront costs involved in setting up in-house systems that many smaller organizations will find hard to justify.
That said, the purpose of this article is not to discuss the reasons why it has taken such a long time to reach a position of PPU for bioinformatics but to look at this new model offered by Equinox and see how it and future releases like it can be of benefit to the life science industry.
The first product to be made available as PPU through Equinox’s new portal is the company’s Phyre homology modelling and fold-recognition software, a highly functional piece of software which has, when distributed in this way, a number of advantages over a conventional licensing route.