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Loadbalancing NextGen Connect (Mirth Connect)


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Hi All

 

We have a NextGen (Mirth) Connect setup with 2 nodes and have the NextGen Advanced Clustering Plugin already installed.

This pluging seems to take care of handling of the messages and flows in the back-end of the NextGen (Mirth) environment.

However it does not seem to take care of deploying a sort of VIP IP address that the sending systems can use to address our NextGen environment.

In the manual of the Advanced Clustering Plugin they seem to refer to "setting up a software or hardware load-balancer to direct traffic to your cluster".

Since we are in a hospital environment and the cluster will need to handle a few hundred thousands messages a day I wan't to be sure that load-balancing this traffic will not cause a bottleneck.

 

Does anyone have some experience in loadbalancing a NextGen (Mirth) Connect environment?

 

Thanks in advance for your replies.

 

Kind Regards

Kurt

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Hi Kurt,

 

Citrix ADC should have no problem at all processing this traffic. Important to keep in mind though is that your ADC is probably licensed up to a certain throughput and that it will not permit to exceed this limit. If the amount of traffic does exceed your licensed limit, the ADC will start dropping packets. Also important to note here is that the throughput permitted by the license is cumulative for ingress and egress, so e.g. if you have VPX 200 (edition doesn't matter) that's receiving 100Mbps and sending 100Mbps, that consumes the full 200 Mbps license.

 

So to do correct sizing here, you'd need to have some insight in throughput required for this application, as well as currently consumed throughput on your ADC today. If the additional load doesn't exceed your license limit, you're good to go. If it does, you'll need to upgrade your license to a 'faster' version.

 

I hope this helps.


Cheers,

G.

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Hi Gunter

 

Thanks for your very clear explanation!

We will surely look into the technical requirements and have a deep dive into the existing Mirth Connect environment to see what throughput it needs for the moment.

We will not be able to make a one-on-one comparison with the new environment, because the existing one consists of multiple servers in a non HA set-up.

Our new Mirth environment will only consist of 2 servers and we want to make it high available.

Unfortunately the vendor does not have a HA setup out of the box, so we need to use an external load-balancer to create a VIP in order for the sending systems to be able to use a single IP address to the "clustered" back-end.

Since we already have a VPX setup in house for load-balancing (mostly) web servers, we are now looking into using that setup to load-balance the Mirth environment.

 

Apart from the technical comparison I was also interested in experiences in load-balancing specifically a Mirth Connect setup.

Since Mirth is used in healthcare environments for massive exchange of HL7 messages (mostly socket communication), the need for fast transferring the messages to the back-end (without missing or dropping a single packet) is very high.

 

So if any one of you out there has experience in load-balancing a NextGen Mirth Connect environment, feel free to respond. Would be highly appreciated.

 

Kind Regards

Kurt

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Hi Kurt,

 

While I'm not familiar with that particular application, I have done many implementations of Citrix ADC in large healthcare scenario's with similar workloads as you're describing. In my experience most things will work pretty well out of the box, but in these specific application scenario's it could be beneficial to tweak settings, e.g. with profiles (e.g. tweaking TCP settings, changing timeouts, ...). In my experiece it is best to have the application vendor outline exactly what specs they need network-wise, but then again I also know a lot of the time these vendors don't seem to know what is needed themselves ?. It might be some trial and error, but rest assured that your ADC can technically cope with it.

 

I hope someone turns up that has the application experience you're after, but I wouldn't place any bets on that unfortunately :). Good luck in any case!

 

Cheers,

G.

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