Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Paul Speciale, Dana Gardner, Carmen Gonzalez, Shelly Palmer, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Virtualization, Security

Cloud Expo: Blog Feed Post

API Testing Helps MedicAlert Increase Agility, Extend Services

Acclerating the roll out of secure, reliable APIs

MedicAlert pioneered the use of medical ID products and delivers the most dependable, responsive, and trusted Emergency Identification and Medical Information Network. The nonprofit charity provides the functionality of an e-health information exchange for emergencies through an innovative combination of a unique patient identifier linked to a personal health record and a live 24/7 emergency response service.

medicalertAs MedicAlert continues expanding its role as an innovative provider of healthcare information services, they are leveraging APIs.  To accelerate their ability to roll out new APIs in a secure and effective fashion, MedicAlert has relied on automated API testing software from Parasoft.

With Parasoft, the organization has been able to rapidly manage the functional, regression and load testing challenges associated with its new capabilities and offerings. Parasoft has enabled MedicAlert to automate the testing and validating of new APIs – enabling them to provide new healthcare information services and more rapidly respond to business opportunities.

Challenge: Agility and Scalability on Demand

MedicAlert is focused on enabling members to manage their personal health records (PHR) online while maintaining security, privacy and confidentiality. Its repository of personal health information also facilitates the delivery of critical medical information between patients, providers, payers, and emergency responders. These foundations have enabled the organization to grow by constantly introducing new product offerings such as an RFID-based medical card and a USB- enabled portable information device called E- HealthKEY.

Given the high demands associated with such endeavors, MedicAlert recognized the need to
publish APIs to support its dynamic market plans and objectives. The organization now relies on
these interfaces to support its members’ PHR, which include information about medical conditions
as well as drug prescriptions and other relevant health data.

Considering the sensitive nature and life-saving potential of such information, MedicAlert’s IT organization is under severe pressure to ensure its systems are secure, streamlined and effective. APIs represent an opportunity to roll out new  offerings rapidly, capitalize on reusability, and ensure the systems can scale up to meet the growing demands of members and partners. “APIs are about making your business more agile – being able to rapidly seize new business opportunities,” says Jorge Mercado, Principal Architect for MedicAlert’s Product Development Group.

To be sure, software quality is an essential factor in meeting these objectives – and this fast-moving organization needed a way to address its demanding quality requirements quickly and effectively. “We needed tools to automate our testing processes,” says Natalie Doan, the team’s QA Engineer. “When I joined the group, we had a very manual approach for testing.”

Action: Capitalizing on Parasoft API Testing

After exploring some of the potential API testing solutions, MedicAlert chose API testing with Parasoft SOAtest. “We found SOAtest and we ran with it,” says Doan. “Parasoft support trained us for one week and we were able to take it from there. We quickly saw that the product had a lot of powerful features that would help us automate our testing activities and processes. Parasoft SOAtest was able to support all the latest standards (ex. security and schema validation standards); we were able to test all areas of our APIs.”

Through the use of Parasoft SOAtest, the team is able to efficiently test different endpoints and ensure broad test coverage within this environment. When new updates or modifications are made to an API, Parasoft SOAtest’s regression testing can be employed to ensure that no defects have been introduced and that previously verified functionality continues to operate as expected. “I can quickly ensure that features from the previous version are in place to support the new version,” adds Doan.

Parasoft also brought powerful capabilities in terms of functionality and load testing. It enables the team to test the performance differences on the system between, say, 10 or 100 users simultaneously, updating their personal health record through the services under various scenarios. For instance, Parasoft can test how a user sending a long, data-intensive message impacts a particular API.

Parasoft also helps the group ensure authentication and authorization of data and users are managed properly. However, the key to Parasoft’s value is the range of capabilities it delivers and coverage it enables. “We load test the system from beginning to end,” says Doan. “I couldn’t do that with other testing tools we were using previously.”

Results: Enhanced API Security, Quality and Performance

In recent years, MedicAlert has realized important benefits from Parasoft along three key dimensions: security; quality; and performance.

Parasoft’s support for security is critical to an organization that manages personal health records for its four million members. It relies on Parasoft to ensure authentication and authorization capabilities are performing as expected – whether this requires the team to test SAML assertions or HTTP authentication procedures. With different levels of security support, MedicAlert benefits from Parasoft’s expansive testing capabilities.

In terms of quality, Parasoft’s regression testing capabilities are particularly valued. Doan notes that she can use the same test suites she built two years ago to test new versions of products such as E-HealthKEY, ensuring that all members are continually supported. “When we upgrade to new versions of an API, I can rerun tests and make sure the new API actually supports the previous functionality,” she says. “It’s reliable. It assures me that the functionality is there and working as expected.”

Without such testing capabilities, MedicAlert would run the risk of upsetting its members. APIs might not perform and member data might not be saved or updated properly. “We have to ensure members have an effective experience and that data is there when you need it in an emergency,” Doan adds. “The data must be valid and correct. It must be rapidly and correctly updated. Parasoft helps us ensure these objectives are consistently met.”

Finally, Parasoft supports MedicAlert’s progressive efforts to enhance online performance for its members and partners. Doan explains that the performance of the organization’s APIs was “quite slow” when they initially launched their effort. Updating one’s health record could take as much as a minute to complete. However, through continual testing, iterations and improvement, the team has been able to reduce the time associated with such transactions to less than four seconds.

“We don’t want our members or partners to wait at all,” says Doan. “So we are continually upgrading our services and enhancing the performance of our system to ensure the members have an effective experience.”

Ultimately, automated testing has enhanced the user’s experience online, strengthened relationships with members and partners, and contributed to the agility of MedicAlert. Parasoft’s delivers a “strong return on investment,” says Doan. “We use it on a daily basis for reliability and support throughout our API infrastructure.”

Such capabilities have clearly strengthened the linkages between IT and the business. “Business leaders at MedicAlert want to be able to react quicker and make our APIs more valuable,” says Mercado. “They want to bring on more members at a faster rate. Being able to more rapidly respond to different business opportunities addresses their objectives – and now they realize that APIs can help the organization meet those goals.”

[PAPER] API Testing Business Drivers

Learn about the business drivers behind API testing solution purchase decisions, as well as the opportunities for ROI. This 6-page API Testing Business Drivers paper explains how an automated enterprise-grade API testing solution delivers

  • Reduced costs by reducing testing costs, reducing technical debt, and exposing defects earlier in the SDLC
  • Reduced risks by applying more exhaustive testing techniques, increasing test coverage, and immediately exposing any defects introduced by modifications
  • Increased efficiency by leveraging sophisticated automation and enabling artifact reuse

More Stories By Cynthia Dunlop

Cynthia Dunlop is the lead technical writer for Parasoft.

@CloudExpo Stories
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In their General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate at SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, to discuss how to take advantage of a multitude of compute option...
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every appli...
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Exp...
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your de...
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e....
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? I...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using...
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the...
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speak...
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual C...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to bui...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic instit...
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.
The consumption economy is here and so are cloud applications and solutions that offer more than subscription and flat fee models and at the same time are available on a pure consumption model, which not only reduces IT spend but also lowers infrastructure costs, and offers ease of use and availability. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, will discuss this shifting dynamic with ...
The emergence of cloud computing and Big Data warrants a greater role for the PMO to successfully manage enterprise transformation driven by these powerful trends. As the adoption of cloud-based services continues to grow, a governance model is needed to orchestrate enterprise cloud implementations and harness the power of Big Data analytics. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mahesh Singh, President of BigData, Inc., to discuss how the Enterprise PMO takes center stage not only in developing th...
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research dat...