Binary Base Call (BCL) files are the raw data files generated by the Illumina sequencers. The FASTQ is a text-based sequence file format that is generated from the BCL file that stores both raw sequence data and quality scores. FASTQ files have become the standard format for storing NGS data from Illumina sequencing systems, and can be used as input for a wide variety of secondary data analysis solutions.

FASTQ File Retention Policy:

  • FASTQ sequencing files provided by the IIHG Genomics Division will be stored for 3 years.  It is recommended that the investigator download and archive their sequencing results as soon as they receive their data link. 

BCL File Retention Policy:

  • The BCL files are very large files (>225 GB) and are only stored for 3 months. Please contact the IIHG Bioinformatics or Genomics Division if you would like to obtain the BCL files. A hard drive may need to be provided to collect these files.

The University of Iowa has a number of data archiving options that could be used to store NGS data.

  • Research Data Storage Service (RDSS): The first 5 TB of storage is available at no cost to researchers with faculty appointments and their labs. RDSS is useful for backups, archiving, and storing research data files.  This option is useful for small NGS projects.
  • Large Scale Storage (LSS): Large Scale Storage is available to all University of Iowa students, faculty, and staff.  LSS provided through ITS is cost-effective and scalable without compromising performance.  LSS is useful for backups, archiving, and storing large files (e.g. NGS, video or image files).  LSS is also optimized for HPC workloads that demand high bandwidth and storage and is especially appropriate for researchers working with large data sets in need of additional backups.