Tag Archives: architecture

Zeomega: Building on WSO2 for a Comprehensive Healthcare Solution

The typical health management platform is a complex mechanism. This is, after all, an industry with zero tolerance for faults: even the slightest mistake could mean a life in danger.

Building healthcare solutions is what Zeomega specializes in. The Texas-based firm delivers integrated informatics and business process management solutions. Zeomega’s clients collectively service more than 30 million individuals across the United States.

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WSO2 is a part of their success: key to Zeomega is Jiva, Zeomega’s population health management platform. Delivering analytics, workflow, content and patient engagement capabilities, Jiva uses key WSO2 products and provides a deployable PHM infrastructure that both healthcare providers and clients can use. A strong track record of integration and acquisitions keep both Zeomega and Jiva on top of what they do.

Attending WSO2Con Asia 2016 to explain all of this were Praveen Doddamani and Harshavardhan Gadham Mohanraj, Technical Leads at Zeomega. Their speech, titled Building on WSO2 for a Comprehensive Healthcare Solution, detailed how Jiva works and why. Let’s dig in.

The State of the Art

Jiva has the capability to integrate with various data repositories and management systems. During the initial days of integration, they built an ETL tool and a framework – using Python – to integrate data into Jiva, generally in the form of a CSV. It could also export data.

As their customer base expanded, this integration challenge became even more integral; their requirements changed to needing to load millions of records. To pull this off, Zeomega used the pyramid framework to build a RESTful web service that would do the job. They ended up building a SOAP system as well to better interface with their clients, and using these three tools, they could address batch integrations effectively.

When it comes to a deployment, however, with multiple servers, having these multiple systems turned out to be a burden, especially when clients needed a single API to be able to manipulate data; multiple systems with different tech stacks became roadblocks to both support and development.

The Fix

“We don’t want to rewrite our existing logic; we want to leverage the existing business logic and provide a healthcare solution to external applications and well as third-party vendors,” said Harshavardhan Mohanraj, who was co-presenting with Doddamani.

At this point, they started evaluating WSO2 for a solution to this problem. WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus and WSO2 API Manager are built for this purpose. The WSO2 ESB would allow them to retain their legacy business platform and still connect whatever they needed to. WSO2 API Manager would handle the complete API management lifecycle, allowing them to push out secure APIs for their real-time web services.

To do this, said Mohanraj, they created a Jiva API framework. The core Jiva platform is exposed through RabbitMQ. Data is sent and received to this core platform through a module with the WSO2 ESB; this handles the integration, data transformation, turning flat files (CSV/XML)  or anything else into the JSON actually processed by Jiva.

image01This functionality is exposed via WSO2 API Manager, which enables Zeomega to publish, deploy and manage the necessary SOAP and REST APIs.

In the future, said Mohanraj, they intend to shift Jiva from a monolithic structure to a less tightly coupled SOA model, with reusable components and better standards support. And to do this, they intend to use WSO2 – not just WSO2 ESB and WSO2 API Manager, but also WSO2 Identity Server and WSO2 Governance Registry.

“WSO2 products provide us with high performance, high availability, and better configurability,” said Mohanraj. “We want SOA governance, DevOps and flexibility. As a whole, we’re able to achieve a robust solution by integrating WSO2 products. We’re now moving away from spending more of our efforts on business infrastructure and we’re able to speed up agility by creating healthcare solutions.”

To learn more about Jiva and the WSO2 collaboration, watch the Zeomega talk at WSO2Con Asia 2016 here.

 

How you can Increase Agility and Expandability with Event Driven Architecture (EDA)

From ordering your favorite kind of pizza or a taxi to manufacturing and financial processes, everything is event driven today. People expect to do everything immediately, get instant feedback on the status of their request, and interact in real-time with anybody involved in the process.

John Mathon, the former vice president of enterprise evangelism at WSO2, wrote a white paper which explores how you can keep pace with these demands by implementing event driven architecture (EDA) in your enterprise.

EDA is essentially a messaging system that notifies interested parties of events that occur in order for them to benefit from it. The publish/subscribe model was implemented in the earliest real-time event-driven systems. Anonymity, discoverability and guaranteed delivery were a few of the characteristics that made it popular.

But this simple model deemed insufficient for the demanding and varied needs of subscribers, notes Mathon. Here came the rise of the enterprise service bus (ESB), which standardized enterprise integration patterns, the business process server (BPS) which allowed messages to trigger business processes that dealt with events and business activity monitor, now named data analytics server (DAS), to monitor the health of enterprises through statistics.

These tools became standard components in an EDA and are useful even today, which is why IoT is reusing pub/subs all over again.

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The easiest, fastest and most efficient way of implementing EDA in your enterprise is to incorporate already existing event-driven technologies. You may think writing dedicated software would be more cost efficient and cater more to your specific needs, but in the long run the cost of maintenance would be over a dozen times more than the initial cost of development.

Existing tools are designed to increase performance and reliability of your system. It’s also easy for non-programmers to use because of features such as drag-and-drop components. They can handle large loads and are robust, secure and resilient to failure.

You can choose a specific tool for a specific problem. For example, long-running processes use BPS and short-running ones use message broker (MB). Also, when the tools are combined together it can provide additional power by working together to achieve one goal.

The problem with combining tools is that they can each be large monolithic entities that require significant communication bandwidth and can cause increased load on servers. WSO2 solves this problem because all the tools you require are built as light-weight components with the same base framework making it possible to combine them in the same Java runtime.

When implementing an EDA you need to keep in mind the message flow rates and the characteristic of the message flows. Make sure not to create extremely large messages or do a lot of computation during processing. You also need to consider whether you will be designing for microservices; your architecture design depends on this. API management is another key factor that you need to keep in mind. And lastly, you need to know which tool to use for which job.

WSO2 offers a full suite of open source components for EDA to implement highly scalable and reliable enterprise grade solutions. This includes a complete middleware stack, which includes the WSO2 integration, analytics, security and API management platforms.

For more details download John’s whitepaper here.

Connected Finance: Unleashing the True Potential of Finance with Technology

Evolution in technology has made customers more demanding, and at the same time, created new opportunities for financial institutions. The meteoric evolution of technology has prompted customers to look for quick and convenient ways to carry out banking needs, making mobile and online services popular. Financial companies need to make sure that they can deliver these services independent of location in a secure manner. It has also become compulsory to accommodate mobile payments and virtual payments in the connected finance ecosystem, resulting in a complex IT landscape.

Enterprises in the financial industry recognize the importance of delivering these needs to remain competitive; however, the challenge is to build a real-time system that centrally connects everything. Services and APIs are used to seamlessly connect the various backend components to build a robust connected ecosystem.

Asanka Abeysinghe, VP of Solutions Architecture at WSO2, recently authored a white paper – Connected Finance Reference Architecture – in which he discusses the significance of creating a connected finance system. He also explains how a middleware platform can be used to address each and every challenge faced at implementation.

Here are some highlights from this white paper.

The connected finance architecture will primarily facilitate regular, day-to-day functionalities, as well as call center-type functionalities, virtual payments, credit card payments and payment gateways. It will also make the vast amounts of data centrally accessible, allowing decision makers to gain business insights via customized reports and dashboards.

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Given the sensitive nature of the industry, this aspect is important and needs to be addressed properly. For this, the architecture should connect all the systems and ensure all security measures have been incorporated. Each and every transaction should be closely monitored while ensuring all transactions flow through the same layer allowing the company to  monitor, manage, and govern financial transactions.

In addition, Asanka explores the role of event-driven architecture (EDA) in the connected finance ecosystem along with an architectural pattern for monitoring gateways. He discusses how WSO2’s complete cloud architecture enables enterprises to implement a hybrid deployment that complies with the tight regulations of the financial industry.

For any financial company, becoming a connected business will help to provide customers a better service as well as enable them to become more efficient and profitable overall.

For more details on the Connected Finance Reference Architecture, download and read the white paper here.

Event-Driven Architecture and the Internet of Things

It’s common knowledge now that the Internet of Things is projected to be a multi-trillion dollar market with billions of devices expected to be sold in a few years. It’s happening already. What’s driving IoT is a combination of low-cost hardware and lower power communications, thus enabling virtually everything to become connected cheaply. Even Facebook talked about it in their recent F8 conference (photo by Maurizio Pesce). 

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And why wouldn’t they? A vast array of devices that make our lives easier and smarter are flooding the market ranging from fuel-efficient thermostats, security systems, drones, and robots, among others. The industrial market for connected control and monitoring has existed and will expand in automated factories, logistics automation, and building automation. However, efficiencies are being found with new areas. For instance, connected tools for the construction site enable construction companies to better manage construction processes. We are also seeing increased intelligence from what can be referred to as the network effect – the excess value created by the combination of devices all being on a network.

What’s remarkable is that all IoT protocols share one common characteristic, i.e. they are all designed around publish/subscribe. The benefit of publish/subscribe event driven computing is simplicity and efficiency.

Devices or endpoints can be dynamic, and added or lost with little impact to the system. New devices can be discovered and rules applied to add them to the network and establish their functionality. All IoT standards support some form of discovery mechanism so that new devices can be added as near seamlessly as possible. Over the air a message can be delivered once to many listeners simultaneously without any extra effort by the publisher.

Addressing The Challenges

All of this efficiency and flexibility sounds too good to be true? You guessed right. The greatest challenge with this is security and privacy. While most protocols support encryption of messages, there are serious issues with security and privacy with today’s protocols. There are many IoT protocols and the diversity indicates a lot of devices will not be secure and it is likely that different protocols will have different vulnerabilities. Authentication of devices is not generally performed, so various attacks based on impersonation are possible.

Most devices and protocols don’t automate software updating and complicated action is needed sometimes to update software on devices. This can lead to vulnerabilities persisting for long periods. However, eventually, these issues will be worked out and devices will automatically download authenticated updates. The packets will be encrypted to prevent eavesdropping and it will be harder to hack IoT device security, albeit this could take years. Enterprise versions of devices will undoubtedly flourish, thereby supporting better security as this will be a requirement for enterprise adoption.

Publish/subscribe generates a lot of excitement due to the agility it gives people to leverage information easily, thus enabling faster innovation and more network effect. Point-to-point technologies lead to brittle architectures that are burdensome to add or change functionality.

WSO2 has staked out a significant amount of mindshare and software to support IoT technologies. WSO2 helps companies with its lean, open-source componentized event driven messaging and mediation technology that can go into devices and sensors for communication between devices and services on hubs, in the cloud or elsewhere; big data components for streaming, storing and analyzing data from devices; process automation and device management for IoT and application management software for IoT applications and devices. WSO2 can help large and small firms deploying or building IoT devices to bring products to market sooner and make their devices or applications smarter, easier, and cheaper to manage.

To learn more about event-driven architecture refer to our white paper – Event-Driven Architecture: The Path to Increased Agility and High Expandability

Want to know more about using analytics to architect solutions? Read  IoT Analytics: Using Big Data to Architect IoT Solutions

 

Connected Health – Reinventing Healthcare with Technology

Demands for more personalized and convenient services from healthcare providers has steadily increased during the past decade. Increase in populations, life expectancy, and the advancement of technology are a few key contributors to this uptick in demand. These demands have resulted in creating a global eHealth market that is supposed to reach $308 billion by 2022, as predicted by Grand View Research INC.

The essence of a connected healthcare business is to deliver an efficient, effective service to its users by connecting disparate systems, devices, and stakeholders. It aims to automate most tasks and eliminate human error, trigger intelligent events for the hospitals and other stakeholders, and provide medical information via a range of devices at various locations. By becoming a connected ecosystem, hospitals have the opportunity to reduce costs, increase revenue, as well as offer a high-quality service to patients.

The success of a connected healthcare business though depends on how the enterprise will look to address key challenges via comprehensive solutions.

In the white paper “Connected Health Reference Architecture” Nuwan Bandara, a solutions architect at WSO2, discusses the significance of creating a connected healthcare system and explains how a middleware platform can be used to address each and every challenge faced at implementation.

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One of the key challenges he highlights is the ability to deliver aggregated information without  any latency issues between sources. In order to overcome this, you would need a centralized system that enables smooth integration of devices, services, and workflows. The use of multiple devices that take various measurements in different formats makes it a bit more difficult compared to other connected ecosystems; however, this can be addressed by consolidating the gathered data, and making it easily accessible to various services and applications from different locations.

Given that all this data is private information, it is vital to have fool proof security measures in place as well to restrict access only to authorized personnel, Nuwan notes.

Furthermore, it is important for hospitals to be geared to manage high capacities during crisis situations. If the system is unable to cope with high loads during these times, the system will crash and disrupt all workflows. Hospitals overcome this by equipping their systems with elastic scaling to handle high loads.

To learn more about the Connected Health reference architecture, download and read the white paper here .