Why you can’t avoid the “web” any longer for your Drug Discovery data
Surfing two disruptive waves: “The Cloud” and “Collaboration”
From the desk of Sylvia Ernst – CDD Sr. Director Community Growth
Remember those days? A while ago the computing world changed from Terminal/Host systems to Client-Server technology; that was in the early nineties. Terminal/Host required an expert for data input into a terminal and the data were processed then on the host.
Then Client Server technology arrived. Suddenly regular people could use computing power via a graphical user interface. It was revolutionary; it was “power to the end-user” and “freedom from the bottleneck” (the data terminal expert).
In Drug Discovery it meant the rise of at the time real hi-tech solutions like MDL ISIS, MDL Assay Explorer, Cambridgesoft products like Chemoffice with Chemdraw, IDBS Activity Base, Beilstein CrossFire, Accelrys Accord, Symyx ELN and many more. This was huge progress compared to the former very inefficient “workflows” using Terminal/Server architecture. It triggered growth for many businesses at that time.
Today we are in the middle of a disruptive technology wave: A very fast change away from the Client-Server architecture to a 100% web based technology, also called “the cloud”. The cloud can mean many things, a very helpful overview is here: http://www.infoworld.com/d/cloud-computing/what-cloud-computing-really-means-031?page=0,0
All have in common that your stuff resides on a server which someone else is running. And because of that – this is a highly economical way to use computing power. No hardware to buy, no server to install or maintain and so on, just read the article above. Users are end-users, they buy a subscription, log in and go. They use a web-browser to access their data and software.
This now means even more freedom from any bottlenecks and time sinks: Work from anywhere and from any device!
CDD for example is offered as “SaaS” Software as a Service software for chemical registration, SAR, drug discovery collaboration via the web. Users log in securely into their Vault accounts, regardless of where they are. Modern web application programming languages (Ruby on Rails) like CDD’s software is built with allow very sophisticated application development with new uses which have not been available before like:
And Collaboration is for today’s Drug Discovery companies, Pharma, Biotech, labs around the world – the hottest trend and – an economic necessity in order to stay competitive.
Now bring the web and Collaboration together! Think about it: No IT/IS personnel needed to install or maintain software, no local security experts needed, no firewalls to “punch holes in”. You purchase your subscription, get an account and login and go. Securely. From anywhere. Access to your data, your work. Platform independent. This saves weeks if not months on deployment.
In an industry where each day costs hundreds of thousands or millions of $ this sure matters.
A true cloud software (opposed to a “retrofitted client server environment”) is the solution for many drug discovery projects, large and very small with the capacity to collaborate to scale.