Linux Containers Authors: Derek Weeks, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Hollis Tibbetts, Flint Brenton

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
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
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 that Coalfire 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. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium 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. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
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...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions 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. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn 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. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks 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. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
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.
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...