Sheffield firm WANdisco donates data software in search for vaccine

Big data firm WANdisco is donating data software to help fast-track international efforts to develop potential treatments and cures for coronavirus.

Helping hand: David Richards, boss of WANdisco, says the company wants to help those looking to create a vaccine.

The Sheffield and Silicon Valley-based business has released free access to its suite of tools for every team processing big data about the coronavirus.

David Richards, founder and chief executive, said: “Academic institutions and companies across the world are racing to create a vaccine and we want to help them.

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“Every minute, new data is being generated about people suffering from this disease.

“Finding reliable correlations in this vast amount of data will point to the solution, save lives and end the lockdown crippling the economy.

“We believe our data software can speed up this process. It is absolutely the right thing for our company to do.”

Machine learning and other big data approaches work best when based on vast amounts of data.

The company’s software operates at scale to migrate or consolidate data to support accurate analysis across geographic boundaries.

This allows researchers working within different systems to share their data globally in an effective way.

The software makes changes in data available everywhere as quickly as possible, ensuring research is always based on current insights rather than yesterday’s news.

WANdisco helps farmers plough fields, studios make movies and healthcare companies predict cancers. The company deployed its software at the European Southern Observatory, the intergovernmental science and technology organisation in astronomy, ahead of the discovery of a new planetary system.

WANdisco itself has deployed long-standing business continuity measures as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, with staff working from home across the globe.

“Our workforce has settled into the new normal of working remotely and I’m extremely proud that productivity levels remain as high as ever,” Mr Richards said.

Despite the pandemic, Mr Richards was optimistic about future prospects of the Sheffield-based firm.

He said: “Despite the ongoing restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, our customers continue to see the underlying imperative of moving data to the cloud.

“The advantages this brings of both cloud economics and the ability to run sophisticated machine learning applications is proving extremely valuable to the many organizations working in difficult, distributed and remote settings at this time.”

He added: “I am pleased to see our product initiatives continue to progress as planned and look forward to entering public preview with our embedded product which will usher in a new phase of our company growth.”

Last month the business announced that it had won a contract worth $1m with a division of one of the world’s largest media and telecommunications companies.

WANdisco Fusion will be used to keep data in sync across on-premise locations and the Microsoft Azure cloud to enable analytical and machine learning data use cases.

The business also said that momentum since its trading update in February had been very encouraging.

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