Over the past year or so, my team (Application Services at InterSystems - tasked with building and maintaining many of our internal applications, and providing tools and best practices for other departmental applications) has embarked on a journey toward building Angular/REST-based user interfaces to existing applications originally built using CSP and/or Zen. This has presented an interesting challenge that may be familiar to many of you - building out new REST APIs to existing data models and business logic.

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In this post I show strategies for backing up Caché using External Backup with examples of integrating with snapshot based solutions. The majority of solutions I see today are deployed on Linux on VMware so a lot of the post shows how solutions integrate VMware snapshot technology as examples.

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While reviewing our documentation for our ^pButtons (in IRIS renamed as ^SystemPerformance) performance monitoring utility, a customer told me: "I understand all of this, but I wish it could be simpler… easier to define profiles, manage them etc.".

After this session I thought it would be a nice exercise to try and provide some easier human interface for this.

The first step in this was to wrap a class-based API to the existing pButtons routine.

I was also able to add some more "features" like showing what profiles are currently running, their time remaining to run, previously running processes and more.

The next step was to add on top of this API, a REST API class.

With this artifact (a pButtons REST API) in hand, one can go ahead and build a modern UI on top of that.

For example -

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Your application is deployed and everything is running fine. Great, hi-five! Then out of the blue the phone starts to ring off the hook – it’s users complaining that the application is sometimes ‘slow’. But what does that mean? Sometimes? What tools do you have and what statistics should you be looking at to find and resolve this slowness? Is your system infrastructure up to the task of the user load? What infrastructure design questions should you have asked before you went into production? How can you capacity plan for new hardware with confidence and without over-spec'ing? How can you stop the phone ringing? How could you have stopped it ringing in the first place?

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In the last post we scheduled 24-hour collections of performance metrics using pButtons. In this post we are going to be looking at a few of the key metrics that are being collected and how they relate to the underlying system hardware. We will also start to explore the relationship between Caché (or any of the InterSystems Data Platforms) metrics and system metrics. And how you can use these metrics to understand the daily beat rate of your systems and diagnose performance problems.

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This week I am going to look at CPU, one of the primary hardware food groups :) A customer asked me to advise on the following scenario; Their production servers are approaching end of life and its time for a hardware refresh. They are also thinking of consolidating servers by virtualising and want to right-size capacity either bare-metal or virtualized. Today we will look at CPU, in later posts I will explain the approach for right-sizing other key food groups - memory and IO.

So the questions are:

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The following steps show you how to display a sample list of metrics available from the /api/monitor service.

In the last post, I gave an overview of the service that exposes IRIS metrics in Prometheus format. The post shows how to set up and run IRIS preview release 2019.4 in a container and then list the metrics.


This post assumes you have Docker installed. If not, go and do that now for your platform :)

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** Revised Feb-12, 2018

While this article is about InterSystems IRIS, it also applies to Caché, Ensemble, and HealthShare distributions.

Introduction

Memory is managed in pages.  The default page size is 4KB on Linux systems.  Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, and Oracle Linux 6 introduced a method to provide an increased page size in 2MB or 1GB sizes depending on system configuration know as HugePages.

At first HugePages required to be assigned at boot time, and if not managed or calculated appropriately could result in wasted resources.  As a result various Linux distributions introduced Transparent HugePages with the 2.6.38 kernel as enabled by default.  This was meant as a means to automate creating, managing, and using HugePages.  Prior kernel versions may have this feature as well however may not be marked as [always] and potentially set to [madvise].  

Transparent Huge Pages (THP) is a Linux memory management system that reduces the overhead of Translation Lookaside Buffer (TLB) lookups on machines with large amounts of memory by using larger memory pages.  However in current Linux releases THP can only map individual process heap and stack space.

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Database systems have very specific backup requirements that in enterprise deployments require forethought and planning. For database systems, the operational goal of a backup solution is to create a copy of the data in a state that is equivalent to when application is shut down gracefully.  Application consistent backups meet these requirements and Caché provides a set of APIs that facilitate the integration with external solutions to achieve this level of backup consistency.

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Article
Guillaume Rongier · Apr 9, 2019 3m read
IRIS/Ensemble as an ETL

IRIS and Ensemble are designed to act as an ESB/EAI. This mean they are build to process lots of small messages.

But some times, in real life we have to use them as ETL. The down side is not that they can't do so, but it can take a long time to process millions of row at once.

To improve performance, I have created a new SQLOutboundAdaptor who only works with JDBC.

BatchSqlOutboundAdapter

Extend EnsLib.SQL.OutboundAdapter to add batch batch and fetch support on JDBC connection.

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Article
Timothy Leavitt · Jul 8, 2020 7m read
Tips for debugging with %Status

Introduction

If you're solving complex problems in ObjectScript, you probably have a lot of code that works with %Status values. If you have interacted with persistent classes from an object perspective (%Save, %OpenId, etc.), you have almost certainly seen them. A %Status provides a wrapper around a localizable error message in InterSystems' platforms. An OK status ($$$OK) is just equal to 1, whereas a bad status ($$$ERROR(errorcode,arguments...)) is represented as a 0 followed by a space followed by a $ListBuild list with structured information about the error. $System.Status (see class reference) provides several handy APIs for working with %Status values; the class reference is helpful and I won't bother duplicating it here. There have been a few other useful articles/questions on the topic as well (see links at the end). My focus in this article will be on a few debugging tricks techniques rather than coding best practices (again, if you're looking for those, see links at the end).

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I am often asked by customers, vendors or internal teams to explain CPU capacity planning for large production databases running on VMware vSphere.

In summary there are a few simple best practices to follow for sizing CPU for large production databases:

  • Plan for one vCPU per physical CPU core.
  • Consider NUMA and ideally size VMs to keep CPU and memory local to a NUMA node.
  • Right-size virtual machines. Add vCPUs only when needed.

Generally this leads to a couple of common questions:

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Article
Guillaume Rongier · Nov 23, 2020 1m read
Iris key uploader

Introduction

This is iris-key-uploader a frontend in Angular with it's rest API.

The aim of this project is to easily import key file to Iris from a web ui.

Why this project

Unfortunatly the IRIS panel to change key doesn't give the opportunity to upload the license.

Panel

As you can see, you can only browse from the server side.

What if, you don't have a direct access to it ?

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Article
Robert Cemper · Feb 8, 2021 3m read
WebSocket Client with embedded Python

This is a demo to make use of a simple WebSocket Client with Embedded Python in IRIS.

To continue my series of WebSocket Client I have added an example written in Python.
The most impressive experience was how easy the writing and testing of the client was
which happened total offline from IRIS.
Embedding, running and feeding the client with data from IRIS was also incredibly simple.

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One of the great availability and scaling features of Caché is Enterprise Cache Protocol (ECP). With consideration during application development distributed processing using ECP allows a scale out architecture for Caché applications. Application processing can scale to very high rates from a single application server to the processing power of up to 255 application servers with no application changes.

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Hi all,

 

I want to share a quick little method you can use to enable ssl with a self signed certificate on your local development instance of IRIS/HealthShare. This enables you to test https-specific features such as OAuth without a huge lift.

 

 

1. Install OpenSSL

Windows: https://slproweb.com/download/Win64OpenSSL_Light-1_1_1g.exe

Debian Linux: $ sudo apt-get -y install openssl

RHEL: $ sudo yum install openssl

 

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Note (June 2019): A lot has changed, for the latest details go here

Note (Sept 2018): There have been big changes since this post first appeared, I suggest using the Docker Container version, the project and details for running as a container are still in the same place  published on GitHub so you can download, run - and modify if you need to.

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Article
Henrique Dias · Aug 22, 2020 2m read
My experience working with FHIR

Hi Community,

I want to share my experience creating the iris-fhir-portal with FHIR.  

I decided to take a step forward and join the IRIS for Health FHIR contest, but I had never worked with FHIR before.

After the FHIR Contest Kick-Off Webinar, where we got an overview of how the IRIS for Health works with FHIR, I started to looking at the FHIR documentation to create my Patient Chart project.

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Hi guys.

Recently, I get interest in FHIR in order to run for the IRIS for Health FHIR
contest
. As a beginner on this topic, I've heard somewhat about it, but I didn't know how complex and powerful was FHIR. As pointed out by @Henrique Dias here, you can model several aspects of the patient history and other related entities.

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Myself and the other Technology Architects often have to explain to customers and vendors Caché IO requirements and the way that Caché applications will use storage systems. The following tables are useful when explaining typical Caché IO profile and requirements for a transactional database application with customers and vendors.  The original tables were created by Mark Bolinsky.

In future posts I will be discussing more about storage IO so am also posting these tables now as a reference for those articles. 

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Article
Dmitry Maslennikov · Mar 3, 2021 4m read
Access to IRIS from Rust

What do you think If I will say you, that very soon you will be able to connect to IRIS from the application written in Rust.

What is Rust

Rust is a multi-paradigm programming language designed for performance and safety, especially safe concurrency. Rust is syntactically similar to C++, but can guarantee memory safety by using a borrow checker to validate references. Rust achieves memory safety without garbage collection, and reference counting is optional. (c) Wikipedia

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InterSystems and Intel recently conducted a series of benchmarks combining InterSystems IRIS with 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors, also known as “Cascade Lake”, and Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory (DCPMM). The goals of these benchmarks are to demonstrate the performance and scalability capabilities of InterSystems IRIS with Intel’s latest server technologies in various workload settings and server configurations. Along with various benchmark results, three different use-cases of Intel DCPMM with InterSystems IRIS are provided in this report.

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Article
Renan Lourenco · Mar 9, 2020 2m read
InterSystems IRIS for Health ENSDEMO

InterSystems IRIS for Health ENSDEMO

Yet another basic setup of ENSDEMO content into InterSystems IRIS for Health.

Version: store/intersystems/irishealth-community:2019.4.0.383.0

Make sure you have Docker up and running before starting.

Setup

Clone the repository to your desired directory

git clone https://github.com/OneLastTry/irishealth-ensdemo.git

Once the repository is cloned, execute:

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