Your integration engine is the operations data exchange hub of your facility. Adopting measures to maximize its efficiency and reliability are essential to safeguard the flow of data to your mission-critical applications, and as an indirect consequence, enhance patient safety. One of these measures is the selection of a database management system for use by the integration engine. An integration engine consists mainly of two components: 1) the engine itself and 2) a storage component. This storage component is usually in the form of a database management system. The election of a database management system can make or break the operational efficiency and reliability of these critical dataflows. It is for these reasons we recommend considering a NextGen Connect database upgrade and offer a few things to consider while making that decision.

Reasons to Consider the Switch

While the NextGen Connect (formerly Mirth Connect) integration engine includes the open-source Java-based Apache Derby relational database as part of its small system footprint, Apache Derby is still recommended primarily for use in testing environments and very limited use in production environments, especially where the message data is not stored.

There are several good reasons to consider the switch to other relational database management systems which include: 1) more robust database management systems like Microsoft SQL Server, mySQL, Oracle and PostGreSQL, 2) compatibility with enterprise database backup applications and 3) powerful database management tools like Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio, NaviCat and PgAdmin.

The Benefits of More Robust Database Management Systems

Examples include: Microsoft SQL Server, mySQL, Oracle and PostGreSQL. These relational database management applications have established track records for being the backbone of enterprise data. They are known for their reliability, speed, efficiency, versatility, and control of database size growth; all of these traits are critical to the high transaction environments in which integration engines are employed.

Compatibility with Enterprise Database Backup Applications

Enterprise database backup applications are designed to create incremental or single snapshot backups of data stored in these systems. A well-run information technology operation includes scheduled datastore backups as part of daily operations. There are software solutions offered by the database management system manufacturer or by third-party vendors that address this need. Having a database management system that can readily integrate with these enterprise backup solutions can make the job of safeguarding stored data much easier and more cost-effective.

Powerful Database Management Utilities

These utilities provide a user interface that allows database administrators to manage and control how data is handled by the database management system. While there are several database front-end client tools available for Apache Derby, there is a greater number of applications offered by the database manufacturers and third-party vendors offering more comprehensive features. For example: Workbench and NaviCat for MySQL, Management Studio for Microsoft SQL Server, and PgAdmin for PostGreSQL provide graphical user interface tools that allow users to access and manage the data contained within these databases. Most of these examples have been regarded as industry-standard tools for decades.

The good news is not only does NextGen Connect support MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle and PostGreSQL, but it is also extremely easy to migrate to other database management systems at any time, even after Nextgen Connect installation. With some basic planning (and practice on a virtual machine to ensure success), migration to a new database system can be safe, easy, and worry-free.

Pedro Jimenez, The HCI Solution’s Director of Interface Engine Services, explains the planning and execution of the database switching process in a step-by-step video titled Upgrading the Database in Mirth®/ NextGen®Connect which is part of the “Interface Engine How-To Series” multi-part video training series. You can watch this fourth installment by clicking here.