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AI and Swine Genetics; An Unlikely Pairing Made Possible with Google

by Devoteam G Cloud, on Apr 28, 2021 9:16:19 AM

Innovation doesn’t follow a straightforward blueprint. When technology lends itself to science, evolutionary ideas and paradigm shifts are inevitable. At Norsvin, the pursuit of innovation is achieved in the field of swine genetics and cost-effective swine production.

Overview

Norsvin is a Norwegian farmer-owned company founded in 1958. In 1960, AI technology was introduced to its swine production process. Now, Norsvin is the leading innovator in swine genetics. With a strong focus on sustainability and efficiency in innovative breeding, Norsvin is an established leader for business in the swine industry.

Problem Statement

For many companies, staying up to date with the latest and most advanced technology trends is the difference between maintaining a competitive edge and falling by the wayside.

At Norsvin, the IT team saw an opportunity to modernise their IT infrastructure in GCP but were uncertain about how to go about it.

To best evaluate and select a platform to support their research activities, Norsvin underwent a two-year project that resulted in their choice of Google Cloud as a cloud provider to store and process raw data.

In October 2018, Norsvin’s CTO, Stefan Djupvik, reached out with interest consequent to Devoteam’s Cloud Jumpstart on the GCP campaign.

After the initial meeting, Norsvin agreed to move forward with the Cloud Jumpstart four-day workshop and thus began their cloud journey.

It was more than just transferring from local and on-premise to the cloud. We wanted the benefits of utilising the cloud efficiently with the new solutions and technology but also with the scalability and the ability it afforded us  to work more globally.”

- Stefan Djupvik,
CTO, Norsvin

The first step for Devoteam was to obtain an overview of Norsvin’s existing IT setup. The findings uncovered that the IT infrastructures relied on dispersed on-prem solutions.

Including Linux and Windows systems used to complete separate tasks, Norsvin rented supercomputers in Scandinavia.

After an incident concerning a glitch in the machine containing system logs, it became clear that the move to GCP with a Google Cloud Premier Partner was the wise decision.

Scope

With the goal of going Google and limited GCP resources in their Norweigan offices, Devoteam was entrusted with providing expert consulting to ensure Norsvin received optimal GCP use and its benefits. 

We really needed to think about the way of working, which required a new skill set from our researchers, developers and IT operations; this was the biggest shift in going Google. I saw that in moving to the cloud, we needed an even tighter corporation and new competencies in the role of an advisor to help us utilise the cloud in the best way.” 

- Stefan Djupvik,
CTO, Norsvin

Devoteam kicked off with workshops covering Kubernetes, Apigee and  Machine Learning. Norsvin was especially interested in the use of cloud functions to deliver high-grade performance at a cost-optimised price.

Norsvin was a willing patron to ideation and guidance. In turn, it allowed Devoteam to exercise its creativity at high levels in brainstorming and presenting innovative use cases for the GCP solution. Norsvin wanted to achieve an independent approach to their new IT configuration once implemented.

Process and What We Did

Devoteam’s experts would need to create further workshops and Proof of Concepts for ideas made with the Norsvin IT team to realise this goal. The responsibilities extended under the umbrella of knowledge sharing. This included imparting best practices and bringing Devoteam’s holistic knowledge of GCP to Norsvin. 

Norsvin knew they wanted to modernise their IT, and they knew GCP was the way to do it, but they needed help connecting the dots.”

-Matyas Manninger,
Solution Engineer, Devoteam

Included in the cloud journey cooperation, Devoteam offered support for further development on a DICOM Solution (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine), deployed on Google Compute Engine. 

The new DICOM Solution enables the storage and processing of vast amounts of data. This included CT scans taken from pigs in both Canada and Norway. Norsvin’s researchers were able to ingest this data and process it efficiently. 

Norsvin is delving into new technologies, like Machine Learning algorithms, which are already in production. Though some challenges arose with efficiently working with ML across the company, Norsvin sees the benefit of being able to process and reprocess copious amounts of data much faster than was previously possible. 

Simultaneously, Norsvin is building and deploying new solutions that allow its researchers and developers to work side-by-side. Google Cloud technology has afforded the swine production company better control of its data and the ability to share it in a more structured way. 

Additionally, Devoteam has tendered a CSS agreement and has successfully assisted Topigs Norsvin in reviewing and selecting an API Management solution. Within the agreement, Devoteam has helped to optimise their environment and provide support to architect the GCP environment according to best practices.

This includes not only workshops on general API management but also workshops covering Apigee and Azure API management. 

Devoteam proudly supports Topigs Norsvin in its API Gateway development using Azure API management and continues to be Norsvin’s trusted partner in its Google cloud journey. 

Results & Outcomes

With a uniform IT configuration in place, the IT team at Norsvin has gained a wealth of valuable knowledge and a strong sense of direction with a higher utility level with GCP. 

Before embarking on the cloud journey, the IT team at Norsvin had ideas about cloud adoption benefits. 

Our boundaries now are quite different compared to before the cloud. From a researcher and business point of view, it’s a huge ongoing transformation to see the capabilities and opportunities we now have. We have come so far, and we know what we want to do, so it's really good to have a partner to support us in making the right decisions.”

- Stefan Djupvik,
CTO, Norsvin

Norsvin’s initial goal was to have a single platform where its researchers could gather and ingest all the data being produced. The company required a central console that would allow its growth and support all the new types of data and information collected in the future.

Now, Norsvin runs live data streams in Google Cloud. The goal is to establish a research project to use ML algorithms to analyse the behaviour of pigs in real-time. 

As an added benefit, the IT team has seen an expansion of Google Cloud technology outside of their company into its customers’ companies. So now, Norsvin operates on a platform where it can scale and better connect to its customers while also producing added value.


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