Iterative cost optimisation when deploying an open source digital health platform

Mr Chris Williams1, Mr Mitchel Haring1, Prof. Matthew Bellgard1

1Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

A common need by researchers is to deploy a digital platform to support and enable their research. The digital solution might be developed in-house or available as open source software. In addition, quite often the solution will be used by external stakeholders. From a deployment perspective, there are various levels of sophistication on how this can be managed to comply with institutional polices, community expectations around security, FAIR data principles, privacy and so forth, in order to develop a sustainable deployment strategy. A key approach that has come to prominence is the opportunity to deploy the solution in a Public Cloud to leverage the wealth of infrastructure and services that would otherwise need to be developed in-house. Pragmatically, the challenge then becomes how to optimise and minimise the deployment costs whilst not adding operational overhead.

In this presentation, we will share our eResearch journey of deploying a production global digital health platform [1, 2] that has evolved from simply running a few dockers on an EC2 instance to a full CI/CD pipelined serverless deployment. The solution is made with a blue/green deployment strategy of docker containers into a Fargate environment. We will also demonstrate security enhancements using GuardDuty, Web Application Firewall and CloudFront to keep ahead of the “Bots and Hackers” when deploying a platform that contains sensitive identifiable health data. Finally, we will provide an overview of how we moved our non-production deployments to what we are referring to as “dynamically available” that enabled to uncover an unexpected cyber security threat.


  1. Bellgard, M.I., Snelling, T. & McGree, J.M. RD-RAP: beyond rare disease patient registries, devising a comprehensive data and analytic framework. Orphanet J Rare Dis 14, 176 (2019).
  2. Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics: Global Angelman Syndrome Registry:


Chris Williams in an experienced Information Technology Professional skilled in AWS Solution Architecture, Cloud Migration and Deployment, Linux and Windows System Administration, Databases, Automation , Mentoring team members and IT Strategy.

Mitchel Haring is a DevOps Engineer with intersts in Kubernetes, Automation, Cloud Computing, Python and Tool Development

Professor Matt Bellgard is the inaugural eResearch Director at Queensland University of Technology. He has personally attracted over $45m in research funding, is co-inventor of 5 full/20 provisional patents, co-designed and commissioned a world’s top 100 supercomputer, co-authored over 152 peer reviewed articles in areas including human/animal/plant genomics, bioinformatics, health informatics, AI, biosecurity, eResearch, HASS, remote sensing and radio astronomy. He has led the design and development of digital health solutions for government, industry and academia and is Chair of the APEC Rare Disease Network.

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