InterSystems Corporation announced that it has successfully completed a 16- month collaborative design and testing program for the new Ensemble integration platform with Partners HealthCare Systems, Inc. The Boston-based healthcare network has been working with InterSystems on Ensemble as part of a new enterprise-wide connectivity strategy. The announcement was made in conjunction with the formal launch of Ensemble, which marks InterSystems entry into the integration software market. The leading provider of database technology in healthcare, InterSystems also develops and markets the high performance post-relational CACHÉ database.

Founded in 1994, Partners is a healthcare delivery system that offers patients a continuum of coordinated high-quality care. Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Faulkner Hospital, McLeans Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and North Shore Medical Center are among the major institutions comprising Partners HealthCare. Partners is recognized nationwide as a leader in leveraging information technology to support ongoing innovation and improvement in healthcare delivery.

Partners provided extensive input on the design and architecture of Ensemble. “InterSystems’ software development model calls for working very closely with early technology adopters to ensure we create solutions that combine advanced capabilities with real-world practicality,” says Paul Grabscheid, InterSystems vice president of strategic planning. “We’re very appreciative of Partners contributions to the development of Ensemble.”

One key criterion for integration success at Partners is end-to-end system management. “Problem identification can be extremely difficult when multiple applications are integrated on an enterprise scale,” notes Ethan Fener, Partners associate director of application development. “The problem is generally not visible within any application, but becomes very evident at the point of integration, so it’s the integration person who gets the phone call in the middle of the night. We worked to make Ensemble monitoring smart enough to identify the sender or receiver that is the root cause.” Ensemble offers highly customizable, extensible, graphical monitoring and management facilities that make it possible to rapidly diagnose and debug problems, either locally or from a remote location.

Sophisticated management features were just one of the critical integration success factors for Partners. “With more than 50,000 end users accessing applications from locations statewide on a 24x7 basis, high performance and scalability are key requirements for an enterprise integration solution,” Fener says.

To confirm that Ensemble could fulfill these criteria, Partners conducted a proof-of-concept project that involved integrating four clinical applications and performing extensive benchmark testing. “We tested the integration with real-world transaction loads; we brought down the system to test reliability and recovery; we set up an integration scenario that simulated a live environment, and the outcome has been extremely satisfactory. Now, we’re looking to deploy Ensemble in three different projects that require integration,” Fener says.

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