Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Christopher Keene, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Kareen Kircher

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

CanadaDrugs.com, from Online to In-Hand

A Linux success story

This article describes how an industry-leading online pharmacy safely and successfully fills thousands of prescriptions each day using an ordering and workflow system built on top of SUSE Linux and Emic's clustering application solution.

Prescription drugs are consuming more and more dollars of each American's health care budget.The increase in prescription drug cost has helped drive the double-digit health insurance rate increases we have experienced in each of the past three years. To be able to lower overall costs and thereby continue to offer competitive health insurance benefits to employees and retirees, many public entities, such as the states of Illinois, Vermont, and Wisconsin, are driving programs to import prescription drugs from Canada and other countries.

Opening a new front in the fight over the cost of prescription drugs, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois is preparing to help residents of his state buy cheaper medicines from Canada, Britain, and Ireland. Vermont will become the first state to sue the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for rejecting a plan to import prescription drugs from Canada. Reacting to intense pressure to help make prescription drugs more affordable, Vermont officials had asked the drug agency to approve its plan.

A bipartisan group of senators announced that they had reached an agreement on a bill to allow imports of lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and a few other countries. The agreement adds momentum to the push for legislation to legalize imports of prescription drugs, with some major drugstore chains, a number of state attorneys general, and several insurance companies endorsing the plans.

This is just a summary of several recent headlines on the topic of importing drugs from Canada. While the intent of this article is not to analyze the politics around purchasing prescriptions from Canada - to anyone in the U.S. it makes sound economic sense - we must recognize that to date over a million U.S. consumers are quietly and safely filling their prescriptions using online pharmacies in Canada, saving an average of 50% over what they would pay in the U.S. While the FDA continues to fight large-scale efforts to import medicines, the agency is allowing individuals to import medicine as long as it is for their personal use.

One of the main requirements for online medication purchase is safety. Any online pharmacy that will be successful in meeting this requirement must pass many hurdles. Some of these steps involve accreditation by independent bodies, others the creation of reliable internal processes that ensure the safety and accuracy of each prescription order, and others the development of the application systems that operate the online pharmacy, reliably implementing these processes at each step and for each prescription.

CanadaDrugs.com is one of the leading mail-order pharmacies in patient safety. Under strict quality assurance measures, every step is taken to ensure the safety and accuracy of each prescription order. CanadaDrugs.com is helping to shape the industry's future through our commitment to patient safety by meeting or exceeding all standards set by organizations such as MIPA (Manitoba International Pharmacists Association), CIPA (Canadian International Pharmacy Association), and being the first pharmacy accredited by U.S.-based IMPAC (Internet and Mailorder Pharmacy Accreditation Commission). CanadaDrugs.com is committed to meeting or exceeding all United States HIPAA regulations.

CanadaDrugs.com has responded to the need to maintain consumers' trust by building an order-fulfillment process that is both safe and robust. Further, a system infrastructure was needed that could deliver enterprise-class, highest service-level software, yet do so in a cost-effective way using open source and low TCO components. To accomplish this, we built a cost-effective, scalable, high-availability system using Emic's Application Cluster (EAC) on top of open source components, allowing us to pass the added savings (as opposed to building applications on high-cost, proprietary hardware and software) to our customers without any compromise of quality at any stage.

To fill our growing online prescription orders accurately and quickly, our application systems, developed in conjunction with our systems integration partner, Metrex, run on SUSE Linux Enterprise version 8.0 with EAC. All nodes are IBM BladeServer (Intel Xeon) platform, each connected to its own SAN over FibreChannel.

This system runs on 24x7 reliability, meeting the trust our customers place in our organization, and accommodates thousands of transactions per second. It meets our requirement that we always have a consistent view of our data so that each pharmacist sees the same information regardless of whether any server is down or on which server the query or workflow step is processed. EAC keeps our system's availability high, provides failover protection, and balances the database load among our network of computer servers.

CanadaDrugs.com operates its entire workflow application on open source, commencing from an initial pharmacist review of every new prescription involving a minimum of three pharmacists throughout the dispensing process, therapeutically screening and assessing prescription orders for appropriateness, accuracy, potential allergic reactions and interactions, duplication of therapy, and even direct contact with the patient's U.S. prescribing physician regarding all drug-related problems. Upon completion of the final check by a pharmacist, the prescription order is released to be billed and then shipped using Canada Post and the U.S. Postal Service, with all orders insured and traceable. CanadaDrugs.com keeps the system up and running with Emic's Application Cluster.

We've been very happy with our working relationship with Emic Networks. Their EAC provides an innovative, advanced, and cost-effective software clustering solution for cornerstone open source business applications. EAC offers us high-availability, performance scalability, load-balancing, and single-point manageability services for our open source three-tier applications (database, application server, Web server).

More Stories By Curtis Anderson

Since 1988 Curtis Anderson has worked with a wide variety of server platforms including various flavors of Linux, OS/2, NetWare, AIX, and Windows OSes. Prior to CanadaDrugs.com Curtis worked for Xerox and IBM as senior-level technical support and customer consultant. He holds a Novell CNE designation since 1993 and a Microsoft MCSE designation since 1995.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.