Remedies for RHOs—Part 1: The Path to Quick Connections

Several readers have asked for topics related to RHOs (remote-hosted organizations). RHO clients are those whose Cerner Millennium® hardware (Citrix, backend nodes, database nodes, etc.) is run somewhere off-site by a third party. The RHO option can make sense for hospitals with an overloaded IT staff. The loss of visibility into and control over the system, however, can lead to problems for the IT team.

The basic question for an RHO client is, What do I do to determine if there is a performance issue with my system? Because Millennium is a complex n-tier system, there are several layers that need to be evaluated to determine where performance issues exist:

1.  Network. Can I quickly and reliably connect to the system? I’ll address this concern — which also applies to self-hosted clients — this week.

2.  Messaging throughput. Am I having any delays from my fat clients or Citrix servers to the application nodes? This issue can involve IBM MQ, shared service proxies, and FSI/ESO (interfaces).

3.  Database throughput. Am I having any issues with Oracle configuration or scripts?

4.  Capacity Issues. Am I running out of memory or disk space, am I paging excessively, am I exhausting my CPUs, etc.?

The first step for RHOs in diagnosing performance issues is to verify whether you still can actually reach the Millennium Application nodes from your network. You determine your connectivity by running the ping utility. The ping output will indicate if messages from your facility are reaching the Millennium site and how much time it takes for them to get there and back. For the step-by-step details on running and analyzing the ping utility as well as the trace route tool, if needed, click here.

Prognosis: If the ping and trace route utilities indicate that network issues are slowing down Millennium’s performance, contact your RHO provider to resolve the connectivity problems.

Next week: Messaging throughput analysis for IBM WebsphereMQ.