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For some, commercial is still cool

Open source may be hot in some circles, but for SOA user Furrukh Khan, the convenience of a commercial platform just makes sense. The director of the technology at the Collaborative for Applied Software Technology chose Microsoft .NET to create and launch OR-Eye, which is now rolling out to five hospitals at the Ohio State University Medical Center.

The SOA application, and its follow-on version, known as OR-Eye 2, helps to automate data collection processes in operating rooms and intensive care units and to develop correlations between drug treatments and patient outcomes. "OR-Eye makes an electronic anesthesia medical record," Khan says.

The medical center created the necessary Web services integration and secure messaging capabilities using first .NET's Web Services Enhancement (WSE 2.0) and later Windows Communication Foundation services, which provides a unified programming model for implementing Web services standards. "We can create our service-oriented architecture so that secure conversations are handled in a standard way at the infrastructure level," Khan says. "Even though we used Microsoft technologies, on the wire, whatever we send is based on standards, so the system is interoperable with any other system based on standards." Key standards for OR-Eye include WS-Security, WS-SecureConversations, WS-Policy and WS-Trust.

The out-of-the-box SOA components and Web services standards that OSU gets from a commercial product keep Khan from moving to open source. "For us, [the commercial alternative] is an inexpensive solution because OSU has site licenses," he explains. "With Windows Server 2003, we don't have to buy anything on top of what comes out of the box. Basically we are spending no money on software except for just buying the standard operating system. You can also get security, reliable messaging, transactions and everything else, based on open standards. It's the same thing if we were to buy IBM WebSphere. That would come with IBM's implementation of these protocols."

About the Author

Alan Joch, a business and technology writer based in New England, can be reached at ajoch@monad.net.

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