Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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TECHNICAL NOTE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 45

The growing need for microservices in bioinformatics


Department of Pathology, Division of Informatics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Correspondence Address:
Ulysses G. J. Balis
Department of Pathology, Division of Informatics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2153-3539.194835

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Objective: Within the information technology (IT) industry, best practices and standards are constantly evolving and being refined. In contrast, computer technology utilized within the healthcare industry often evolves at a glacial pace, with reduced opportunities for justified innovation. Although the use of timely technology refreshes within an enterprise's overall technology stack can be costly, thoughtful adoption of select technologies with a demonstrated return on investment can be very effective in increasing productivity and at the same time, reducing the burden of maintenance often associated with older and legacy systems. In this brief technical communication, we introduce the concept of microservices as applied to the ecosystem of data analysis pipelines. Microservice architecture is a framework for dividing complex systems into easily managed parts. Each individual service is limited in functional scope, thereby conferring a higher measure of functional isolation and reliability to the collective solution. Moreover, maintenance challenges are greatly simplified by virtue of the reduced architectural complexity of each constitutive module. This fact notwithstanding, rendered overall solutions utilizing a microservices-based approach provide equal or greater levels of functionality as compared to conventional programming approaches. Bioinformatics, with its ever-increasing demand for performance and new testing algorithms, is the perfect use-case for such a solution. Moreover, if promulgated within the greater development community as an open-source solution, such an approach holds potential to be transformative to current bioinformatics software development. Context: Bioinformatics relies on nimble IT framework which can adapt to changing requirements. Aims: To present a well-established software design and deployment strategy as a solution for current challenges within bioinformatics Conclusions: Use of the microservices framework is an effective methodology for the fabrication and implementation of reliable and innovative software, made possible in a highly collaborative setting.


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