2018-10-03 Comparative Analysis Of Labii And LabWare In ELN & LIMS


A majority of scientists now realize the importance of Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) for effective, secure, and much more expansive data management especially in research and the pharmaceutical industry.

Nevertheless, there seem to be too many of these tools in the market nowadays causing confusion on which options are the most suitable. Many articles and write-ups are out there with tips on how to choose the best data management software for your laboratory or institution. As many can guess already, the problem with most of the articles is marketing bias because most of them are put together by scientific writers who; lack working experience with an ELN or LIMS, lean towards favoring the products of vendors paying them and they hardly cover the details of the Electronic Laboratory Notebook functionalities I am an expert in the industry, with valuable experience working closely with more than 300 biotech companies/laboratories. Being the founder of an Electronic Lab Notebook myself, I will layout a resourceful comparison between two great options to consider as replacements for your traditional data management methods i.e Labii ELN & LIMS and LabWare ELN and LIMS. After reading this article, you will understand the differences between Labii and LabWare with regards to Who they Are, Deployment and Integration, Highlight, Design (ELN & LIMS), Customers, Support, Price, etc. This is will very well save you from the stress and time-consuming process of evaluating the dozens of ELN & LIMS in the market to pick the one that best suits your organization. Let’s now dive into the different ways Labii and LabWare are set up to facilitate, secure, and basically modernize data management.

Who They Are!

Founded back in 1987, LabWare is an established developer of Laboratory Information Management Systems and Electronic Laboratory Notebooks and its newest version is LabWare v7, ELN v3. On the other hand, Labii Inc. is a Silicon Valley startup which launched in 2014, engaged in the development and distribution of Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) and Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). With a third version (Labii ELN & LIMS v3.0) already, Labii comes up with regular upgrades to their software consistently adding new features and improving the technology. LabWare is more interested in stability, with just 7 versions in almost four decades.


Labware has achieved much success in its more than 40 years of existence. They did this by meeting its commitments and even expectations in small and large, routine and complex and well as local and global projects with its LIMS and ELN solutions. However, there seems to be an unbridged gap with developing computational technology making it possible for certain unsolved old and new problems to be addressed. This explains the emergence of startups Labii injecting new life and functions into ELN and LIMS. Labii presents a single solution for all research data, with a high level of customization capacity according to the data type you want to store (notes, reagents, protocols, etc.), the data attribution and the detail of each record.

Deployment and Integration

The system of Labii is cloud-based with the software installation, operation, and maintenance overseen by Labii. It also provides a licensing option that allows customers to store data in their own data centers. Labii creatively merges the ELN and LIMS into one system with the Digital Lab Notebook treated as a special type of data managed in LIMS. Also, the data and its processing are segregated physically or virtually from the customers. Unlike the Labii, LabWare has two separate software. The Electronic Lab Journal is completely different from the LIMS and both systems are premises-based. So, a customer installs, operates and maintains the software on its own servers. Without leaning too much into one direction, the debate on where the data should be preferably stored is unsettled, but each has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, a cloud-based system (Labii ELN & LIMS) is usually cheaper, easier to manage and much secure even though, it doesn’t offer full control. Contrarily, you get full control over your data in an on-premises system (LabWare) but there’s extra expenditure in the purchase and management of computer infrastructure together with the risk of losing data from fire damage, water, or an angry employee. Many more people go for a Cloud solution based on mindset, budget, and the law. People are starting to believe cloud solutions are safer, and they are willing to put in a little budget to test the system in the cloud instead of pulling a huge budget to purchase a system and use it locally. Also, the records at cloud are now widely accepted for patent applications, et.al.

Design (ELN & LIMS)

The design of Labii is modern, user-friendly, beautiful and materialized, learn more at https://www.labii.com/electronic-lab-notebook-eln . The same can’t quite be said for LabWare whose design is still based on their 1990 framework.

ELN – Design and Regulation

The Labii platform is widget and section based allowing for extendibility with other functionalities like advanced data analysis. LabWare is text editor-based, meaning, it can only record text strings Moreover, Labii is the first and only ELN & LIMS using the security of blockchain technology making it impossible to manipulate data falsely. It meets the requirements of GLP and FDA 21 CFR part 11. LabWare is in perfectly in line with ISO 9001 regulations.

LIMS – Data type, Sample Tracking, and Workflow management

Labii is designed with a flexibility that allows the storage of virtually any type of data including Samples, Reagents, Equipment, Location and custom tables for data like Proteins, Cell lines, etc. LabWare is much more fixed, and can only be used to manage data that falls in the categories of its standard modules i.e samples, projects, reagents,. With Labii, widgets that track the quantities of samples and reagents used in experiments are available. Whereas LabWare strictly allows for the tracking of sample shipment. LabWare’s workflow management feature is quite established meanwhile the newer Labii is moving towards a much more modern method of management thanks to the constant upgrade from customer feedback.

There is a customizable feature with Labii lacked by LabWare and most other ELN software in the market. It offers an API which makes the customization and automation of additional data processes possible, facilitating data analysis related to the specific needs of scientists.


The flexibility of Labii makes is great for companies of any size meanwhile, LabWare best works for only big companies.


Submitting a support ticket to Labii’s support team gets your request attended to with 24 hours. There’s a Paid Support option for immediate assistance which costs ($50 per hour). LabWare’s support is pretty expensive. Consulting services from their support team cost around $160,000 for 100 days, excluding travel expenses. Only the very big companies can afford this. LabWare has a native Mobile App based on its Ads, though I couldn’t find it in both the Apple Store and Android Store. The mobile and Tablet Support at Labii is in the browser with native app currently being developed.


Configuration and training your personnel on how to work with Labii ELN & LIMS is free. At LabWare, it costs $7,300 to get trained. Furthermore, Labii has two payment options to serve different organization sizes. The Subscription of $960/user/year and the Per-Per-Use option which costs only $0.1/record. The price plan of LabWare is much bigger; $72,800 – 20-year concurrent ELN user license ($3,640/user annually) Labii is clearly offering more flexibility and utility at less.


We can confirm from the analysis above that LabWare is an established, expensive, and comparatively outdated, but much more stable solution to data management. This makes it a great choice for giant companies not too worried about the cost and are looking for stability with little or no changes over a considerable time period. However, this lack of scalability and high prices are key problems targeted and solved by Labii. The basis of Labii is very much inclined towards new possibilities, agility, and flexibility with advanced technology consistently introduced to meet the requirements of the future. Labii can potentially develop into one of the cornerstone data management solutions in the world of research and the pharmaceutical industry. Whereas LabWare’s conservative approach risks becoming totally out of use due to it lacking the capacity to compete by meeting future requirements. Please see my detailed comparison notes at Labii ELN & LIMS vs LabWare, Which one should I choose? By Yonggan Wu

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