Illumina likely to start charging for BaseSpace storage and processing in 2014

Illumina ($ILMN) released a pricing structure for its BaseSpace genomics cloud platform back in July 2012 but decided to hold off on actually charging users for the service. Since then, BaseSpace's user base has swelled to more than 12,000 people, with 2,000 of them logging on each week. Now the sequencing giant is readying to activate its payment model.

The pricing structure published by Illumina in 2012 gave users one terabyte of storage for free. Hiring an additional terabyte for a month cost $250--or $1,500 for 10--with discounts for users who bought a year's worth of storage up front. Having published the plan, Illumina left BaseSpace as a free service, but this could change in the coming months. In an interview with Bio-IT World, Jordan Stockton, Illumina's director of marketing in enterprise informatics, said 2014 will probably be the year the company starts charging for BaseSpace storage and processing.

Publishing the pricing well in advance of starting to charge served several purposes. "The goal there is a lot of things. We want to give people an opportunity to use BaseSpace before we start charging them, but we also wanted to set an expectation for what the long-term costs of using BaseSpace will be," Stockton said. Holding off on charging for BaseSpace--which runs on Amazon's ($AMZN) cloud platform--has also given Illumina and the app developer community time to populate the platform. The platform housed around 25 apps at the start of the year, a figure Illumina predicts will double by the end of 2014.

Illumina expects industry and academia to contribute to growth of the app store as it works toward providing tools for all the core needs of its clients. The goal is to have an ecosystem of apps--each of which performs a particular task--that users can link together as needed. This strategy deliberately sets Illumina apart from developers of all-in-one systems. "Application providers are increasingly wrapping more and more of a workflow into a single end-to-end solution, but I think that's not really a long-term solution," Stockton said.

- read the Bio-IT World Q&A