With fast development and wide applications of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, genomic sequence information is within reach to aid the achievement of goals to decode life mysteries, make better crops, detect pathogens, and improve life qualities. NGS systems are typically represented by SOLiD/Ion Torrent PGM from Life Sciences, Genome Analyzer/HiSeq 2000/MiSeq from Illumina, and GS FLX Titanium/GS Junior from Roche. Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), which possesses the world's biggest sequencing capacity, has multiple NGS systems including 137 HiSeq 2000, 27 SOLiD, one Ion Torrent PGM, one MiSeq, and one 454 sequencer. We have accumulated extensive experience in sample handling, sequencing, and bioinformatics analysis. In this paper, technologies of these systems are reviewed, and first-hand data from extensive experience is summarized and analyzed to discuss the advantages and specifics associated with each sequencing system. At last, applications of NGS are summarized.