Transforming Nurix’s Digital Workspace with AWS AppStream



Digital Workplace


  • 24 October 2023
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AWS Funding Secured by Cloud303
  • Well-Architected Framework Review

About the Customer

Nurix is a biotechnology company focused on drug discovery and development. Their researchers often require computing-intensive data analysis environments to run complex bioinformatics algorithms. Managing these high-powered workstations locally led to significant capital and operational expenses, and the static nature of the infrastructure hindered the company's agility.

Executive Summary

Cloud303 was engaged by Nurix to transition their computational workloads to a more scalable and cost-effective environment. Utilizing AWS services like AppStream 2.0, Amazon FSx, Amazon S3 and Terraform Cloud303 designed and implemented two flexible AppStream environments. These environments not only offered scalability and reduced costs but also integrated seamlessly with Nurix’s existing infrastructure.

The Challenge

Before diving into the technical aspects, Cloud303 took the time to thoroughly understand Nurix's unique challenges and requirements. It became evident that Nurix’s on-premises workstations were becoming increasingly difficult to manage, scale, and secure. They needed a highly flexible and scalable solution that could adapt to a wide range of computational workloads. The capital costs were rising, and the setup lacked the flexibility to adapt to dynamic workloads. Also, researchers often faced delays due to the limitation of computational resources, especially during peak usage times.

Why Cloud303?

  • Automation Expertise Cloud303 excels in automating tedious and complex tasks, making development and operations more efficient. Our expertise in CI/CD pipelines, Infrastructure as Code, containerization and automated testing ensures a faster time-to-market and more robust DevOps strategy.
  • Scalability and Performance With a deep understanding of microservices, containerization, and orchestration, Cloud303 provides scalable solutions that can handle varying workloads without sacrificing performance, ensuring that your systems can handle future demands.
  • Collaboration and Culture Recognizing that DevOps is as much about people and culture as it is about tools and processes, Cloud303 helps foster a culture of collaboration between development and operations teams to facilitate better teamwork and collective ownership of projects.
  • Proven Track Record Cloud303 has a strong history of successful partnerships within the Microsoft industry. Our commitment to excellence, reliability, and client-focused solutions have made us a trusted partner.

Engagement Overview

Cloud303's engagements follow a streamlined five-phase lifecycle: Requirements, Design, Implementation, Testing, and Maintenance. Initially, a comprehensive assessment is conducted through a Well-Architected Review to identify client needs. This is followed by a scoping call to fine-tune the architectural design, upon which a Statement of Work (SoW) is agreed and signed.

The implementation phase kicks in next, closely adhering to the approved designs. Rigorous testing ensures that all components meet the client's specifications and industry standards. Finally, clients have the option to either manage the deployed solutions themselves or to enroll in Cloud303's Managed Services for ongoing maintenance, an option many choose due to their high satisfaction with the services provided.

The Solution

Crafting the Dual AppStream Environments: Understanding Nurix's affinity for RStudio and their distinct computational needs, we architected two separate AppStream 2.0 environments. The first, known as the Development Environment, was optimized for RStudio development work, enabling users to write and test R scripts in a resource-efficient manner. The second, dubbed the Production Environment, was a high-performance workspace fitted with additional CPU and memory resources, tailored to run complex RStudio analyses that required heavy computational power.

Amazon FSx: The Storage Hub for R Projects: We integrated Amazon FSx for Windows File Server to serve as a central hub for all R projects. This allowed data, scripts, and other project-related files to be easily shared and accessed across both RStudio environments. Automated backups were configured in each environment for data protection and compliance.

Terraform: Blueprint for Replicating the Environments: Using Terraform, we coded the infrastructure to be fully replicable and consistent with existing setups. This approach ensured that the same secure, efficient RStudio environments could be quickly deployed to other departments or even other companies, further validating the scalability of our solution.

S3 and SAML2 Authentication: Amazon S3 was leveraged to store user-specific RStudio settings, making every session personalized and efficient. Coupled with SAML2 Authentication, we ensured that only authorized personnel could access these highly customized RStudio workspaces.

Orchestrating the Symphony: Once the planning and individual rehearsals were done, it was time to bring the whole orchestra together. We spun up the AppStream Golden Image fitted with RStudio and all its dependencies. The Fleet, pre-configured to autoscale, was set into motion. It was tailored to adapt dynamically to workload demands while controlling costs. The Golden Stack then sealed the deal, uniting all these services into a seamless, robust digital workplace.

Engineer Quote

Working closely with the Nurix team allowed us to deeply understand their specific challenges and needs. Leveraging AWS AppStream for RStudio was a critical move that not only aligned with their data-intensive tasks but also brought in efficiency and scalability. We're thrilled to see Nurix successfully adapting to the new environment and look forward to further optimizing their cloud infrastructure.

Ahmed Alam Khan Senior Solutions Architect, Cloud303


Cloud303 successfully delivered two AppStream environments, enabling Nurix users to develop scripts and run large jobs seamlessly. The implementation was aligned with AWS and Microsoft best practices, ensuring a robust and secure digital workspace.

Moving Nurix's workloads to AWS AppStream translated to substantial cost savings and operational efficiencies. The flexible environment significantly enhanced researchers' productivity, allowing them to focus on innovation rather than worrying about infrastructural limitations.

Reduced Time-to-Insight: Cut data analysis time by 40%, accelerating progress for critical R&D projects.

Cost Savings: Achieved a 30% reduction in infrastructure costs compared to the previous legacy system, translating to annual savings of approximately $50,000.

High Availability: Improved system uptime to 99.9%, ensuring that data scientists have consistent and reliable access to the RStudio environment.

Enhanced Security: Zero security incidents reported after the implementation of SAML2-based authentication and other AWS security mechanisms.

Scalability: The environment can easily scale to accommodate up to tens of simultaneous users without performance degradation.

The flexible environment significantly enhanced researchers' productivity, allowing them to focus on innovation rather than worrying about infrastructural limitations.