Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Kevin Benedict, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Nitin Donde

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
"DX encompasses the continuing technology revolution, and is addressing society's most important issues throughout the entire $78 trillion 21st-century global economy," said Roger Strukhoff, Conference Chair. "DX World Expo has organized these issues along 10 tracks with more than 150 of the world's top speakers coming to Istanbul to help change the world."
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, discussed the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information.
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st 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 devic...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...