Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Robert Reeves, Elizabeth White, Automic Blog, John Esposito, JP Morgenthal

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
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
A critical component of any IoT project is the back-end systems that capture data from remote IoT devices and structure it in a way to answer useful questions. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle large data sets, but they are not well suited to many IoT-scale products and the need for real-time insights. At Fuze, we have developed a backend platform as part of our mobility-oriented cloud service that uses Big Data-based approache...
trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vice president of product management, IoT solutions at GlobalSign, will teach IoT developers how t...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.