Cloud computing’s next gambit: Data as a service

The recent collaboration between the American Heart Association and Amazon Web Services points the cloud in a new direction beyond storage

Cloud computing’s next gambit: Data as a service
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The American Heart Association (AHA) announced a strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services: the launch of a cloud-based data marketplace for researchers and clinicians.

The idea to target products for a vertical market is not new. What’s new is our ability to put meaningful data on public clouds that doctors and researchers can use to better understand the patterns of some disease. This is a great leap forward, considering that heart disease is the No. 1 killer in this country.

When released, the AHA Precision Medicine Platform will include a vast array of curated data sets that are centrally stored, searchable, and managed on Amazon's cloud. This will enable researchers and clinicians to aggregate and analyze the data, including longitudinal cohorts, proteomic, genomic, and gene expression data. For us laymen, this means they will use a precision medicine approach to uncover critical cardiovascular disease insights that translate into medical innovations. In other words, researchers and clinicians will gain the knowledge of thousands of cases, including diagnosis, treatment, and outcome.

This might not be a moneymaker at first. AWS will provide free access to computational cloud storage and analysis as part of the AHA data portfolio to some organizations -- likely a handful that are given a grant.

What’s different here is that AWS will provide not only storage but the data itself. This positions AWS and other public cloud vendors as data-as-a-service providers. They can furnish the data points you need, as well as the processing and storage power.

The upside for users is that they don’t have to find, load, then do complex analysis on data. It’s there, ready for the exploration. The upside for AWS is that many researchers and clinicians are apt to become AWS customers or, more likely, expand their use of AWS.

I suspect that this data service aspect will become a bigger trend within the larger public cloud providers. Think of all the opportunities if you can own both the data and the platform. That’s what's at stake here.

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