“By simulating a realistic server load and user interaction with Silk Performer, we can scale our resources as required and maximize the benefit for our customers.”
Software Systems Engineer
ScriptPro’s initial product, the SP 200 Robotic Prescription Dispensing System, pioneered the use of robotics in community pharmacies. Today, the company offers a comprehensive line of over 200 pharmacy automation and management system products that have revolutionized pharmacy operations in the U.S., Canada, and many other countries.
The pharmacist-customer partnership is all important, but freeing up time to build genuine connections with your customer base can be difficult. Employing the use of robotics not only gives the pharmacist peace of mind that prescriptions are being filled accurately, but it is also saving precious time to connect with pharmacy customers.
ScriptPro products operate in thousands of independent, chain, hospital, supermarket, and government pharmacies. Initially its offering was based on a client/server or on-premise relationship with the pharmacy. However, in a bid to provide more flexibility and reliability to its customers, ScriptPro is making its products cloud-ready, as Michael Braun, Senior Systems Engineer with ScriptPro, explains: “By providing a cloud-based product, we can eliminate the risk of hardware failure and improve uptime. It will also make our customers less vulnerable to natural disasters. Hurricane Sandy, for instance, affected many of our pharmacies and some lost data as a result. This wouldn’t happen in a cloud environment.”
As ScriptPro operates in a highly regulated industry, application testing is a key part of the development process. Silk Test has been in use for a long time to provide UI, functional, and regression testing. To aid its move to the cloud, ScriptPro wanted to introduce structured load balancing and performance testing.
ScriptPro investigated several solutions, but found that due to its unique use case with encrypted data feeds, many solutions weren’t suitable. When the team was introduced to Micro Focus Silk Performer® they soon realized this could provide the answer. The positive Silk Test® experience instilled further confidence and Silk Performer was soon up and running.
In its move to virtualization, ScriptPro needs to clearly understand how any changes to the cloud-based virtual machines can impact the customers’ experience. Do customers require more storage, faster processors, more memory? What are peak hours so that ScriptPro can ensure adequate coverage? What hours are quiet in which server load can be redistributed to other tasks? Silk Performer is used to flood ScriptPro virtual servers with application requests to determine the resulting load and the ideal virtual server size necessary to meet customer requirements.
Jeff Dean, Software Systems Engineer at ScriptPro, comments: “By simulating a realistic server load and user interaction with Silk Performer, we can scale our resources as required and maximize the benefit for our customers. This is all done in a separate virtual environment that doesn’t impact the day-to-day pharmacy work.”
Silk Performer will also be used to performance test new development in ScriptPro products. This will help highlight issues that might cause a slow response time so they can be fixed before general release. Improved application insight will deliver metrics around maintenance outages. Currently, maintenance is undertaken regularly, but it’s often unclear how much downtime is involved in an upgrade process. Silk Performer can provide clarity so customers can be easily kept informed on expected downtimes and plan accordingly.
The move to the cloud will reduce support costs and improve uptime. In a challenging environment with many legislative and security concerns, it is imperative that this is a positive move for customers. Silk Performer is the right solution to streamline this process by providing strong load balancing validation with real life usability simulation for ScriptPro.
Dean comments: “The Silk Performer reporting is really thorough and highlights exactly where there might be bottlenecks that we need to solve before releasing our software to customers. Performance testing at ScriptPro has failed in the past as our environment is so tightly encrypted and bespoke. Silk Performer allows our pharmacies to do their daily work while it does the heavy lifting in the background.”
Braun concludes: “With the number of customers interested in our cloud offering, I expect an ROI of no more than 12 months for Silk Performer. We’re excited about the potential and aim to bring Silk Test and Silk Performer closer together in our organization to benefit our customers even more.”