Separating Data Information within a LIMS
LIMS solutions always consist of an application, which provides the user interface, and an underlying database, which holds all the data securely. One of the features of Matrix Gemini is that it can offer a choice of multiple databases to connect to during startup. Our demonstration system uses this feature (see graphic above for an example) to allow us to show potential users the system most appropriate to them.
However, as described below this architecture also has benefits for users when it comes to organizing their data.
Facts About Matrix Databases
Matrix Gemini is delivered with three databases as standard. These are typically named production, archive, and development and are used, respectively, as the live database, a database where data that only needs to be accessed occasionally can be stored, and a database where potential changes to the system can be safely created and tested. There is however no practical limit to the number of databases that can be licensed and, as all databases can be configured independently, each database instance can be different from the others. Users can be given access to one or more databases and during login users can only see and access those databases. If, as is generally the case, an individual user only has access to one database they do not need to choose the database and are taken directly to their home workflow screen.
Functionality can be copied from one database to another. This is what makes the use of development and production databases so powerful, especially in highly regulated environments. Functionality can be created, tested, and validated in the development database before being moved to the production system. As the development system can be a copy of the production system only minimal testing and validation is then required in the production system prior to introducing a new feature. Users can also be trained on the new feature in a safe environment prior to going live.
Why is Database Flexibility Important?
Clients may need to separate the work of each department, site, or sub-group, within an organization. There are a number of ways that this can be done. Within the same database the concept of sites, groups or teams can be used to separate data and ensure users only see the data for sites, groups, or teams they are assigned to.
Alternatively, each group may have its own database providing complete independence. This is particularly useful where groups within an organization have very different functional requirements or for some reason require complete separation of their data. For example, a large government environmental organization may require laboratory flows for water management, fisheries, and animal health. One installation of Matrix Gemini with multiple databases provides these separate and independent systems. Independent databases allow each group to optimize their workflow to suit their needs without any compromises, or the necessity to liaise with any other group.
Separation of databases also helps fulfil the key principle in IT security that users should only have access to data and functionality that is necessary to support their legitimate aims. Physically separating data in different databases enables data privacy to be more easily maintained plus easy adherence to protection regulations such as GDPR in the European Union or HIPPA in the USA.
The ability to run multiple databases, that are individually optimized via configuration, with a LIMS provides the ultimate flexibility for organizations. They can choose to separate data between groups and/or sites by using multiple databases and allow each group to have their own optimized workflow, or they can use a single workflow and database where the combined data can add value and all groups can use the same workflow. Matrix Gemini LIMS is a highly flexible solution capable of supporting either or both scenarios. Please discuss your data separation needs with us and let us advise you on the choices you have to keep your data, probably the key asset of your organization, secure while providing unique workflows for each of your teams.