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Frequently Asked Questions

Additional information can be found in the MAINSOURCE Technical White Paper.

How does MAINsuite make sure that information is secure?

When it comes to information, security and trust is imperative. MAINsuite provides a robust, flexible, and comprehensive security system for all content. It enables information to be organized in a page-document-folder hierarchy, and implements security at the object level. User profiles are defined within the system as data objects, exactly like data, and MAINsuite controls access through a combination of user objects and data objects attributes. There is no 'backdoor' past this security layer; MAINsuite security features are a layer on top of the running network and operating system layer, thereby leaving the 'system level' security features intact.

Designed to handle thousands of simultaneous users, an administration utility provides a grouping capability allowing one or more roles to be established for each user. This utility assigns privileges, access rights and other parameters.

In addition, the MAINsuite API (Application Programming Interface) provides programmatic access to the user profile enabling applications to tailor their functionality as well as manipulate data object attributes according to the security rules.

As further evidence of the robust data security and control, MAINsuite provides version control of objects, such that a user's privileges will control access to current version of a data object, or a previous one. In addition, a check-in / check-out capability manages cases where data is requested by a user to be updated. While the original data is checked-out, all other subsequent requests for that particular object will present a read only version.


Does MAINsuite scale to support large numbers of users and data?

MAINsuite has been built from the ground up to grow to support an enterprise implementation. When web-based applications are made available to the public, potentially hundreds of users can simultaneously request access to complex (large) object types. A scalable architecture is needed to prevent network bottlenecks, disk access contention, and other issues.

MAINsuite solves these problems through the use of a centralized Information Server combined with distributed Data Servers. The basic premise is that the management of the information objects (Information Server) is distinct from the actual objects themselves (Data Server). A transaction processing architecture is used to manage high volume requests to the Information Server and Data Servers. In addition, MAINsuite provides transparent support for multiple copies of a complex object data, distributed across the network, close to users, thus limiting network traffic.

In short, the MAINsuite architecture supports the scalability goal by allowing the addition of Data Servers as the number of users and healthcare data volumes increases, and by utilizing a transaction processing based Information Server.


Does MAINsuite require a special Web browser or Web server to access information?

No changes need to be made to either the browser or a Web server. The MAINgateway™ product interfaces the Web server to the MAINsuite repository.

MAINgateway operates as the gateway between a web server, applications and either the MAINenterprise or MAINlite products, and provides for operation within Intranet/Extranet environments. MAINgateway features include state management, support for OS specific security features, intelligent management of network traffic based on MAINsuite's "Level 7 information switch", dynamic caching, and the ability to deliver complex data in MIME, HTML and XML formats.


What is the difference between MAINsuite™, MAINenterprise™ and MAINlite?

MAINsuite is the name of the MAINSOURCE product family, based on the advanced object database software kernel that establishes the common characteristics of all the products we offer. MAINenterprise™ is the enterprise-wide version of the software allowing for a distributed solution through multiple Data Servers and Information Switches. MAINlite is the departmental solution with a single Data Server and Information Switch.


Can MAINsuite work through a firewall?

Yes. All functionality occurs at the application layer, independent of physical or network issues.


What storage devices does MAINsuite work with?

The repository supports an unlimited storage capacity composed of virtually any type of storage device including disk drives, tape silos and optical jukeboxes. All information is handled logically from the application's perspective such that end-users and developers do not have to concern themselves about physical storage issues.


How does the MAINSOURCE technology differ from SGML and XML?

Both SGML and XML are content encoding methods. MAINsuite can manage clinical content in any format, including SGML and XML, extending the potential of those encoding standards to deliver secure, distributed, high-end solutions.


What data storage technology does MAINsuite used to manage information?

MAINsuite uses a number of unique technologies to store and manage complex multimedia information.

At its core, MAINsuite uses an object database for content storage. An object database is designed around the Object Oriented programming model, whereby the stored data has self-knowledge of what it is and what things can be done to it such as creation, modification, deletion and viewing. It was developed to more closely approximate how we deal with real things, hence objects.

Also central to the benefits of MAINsuite is the "MAINsuite Tag", which represents data as a logical reference. Use of logical referenced content is what gives MAINsuite the unique ability to manage any type of data across any type of data server or storage device connected to the internet, using structured database techniques.


Can the MAINsuite repository hold multimedia data types like video, dictaphone recordings, and diagnostic images?

Yes. Any type of digital data can be placed in the repository as a data object.


What's the need for the MAINsuite repository, since most current relational database products handle multimedia types now?

Conventional relational databases, although capable of handling so-called BLOB (Binary Large Object) or other non-tabular data, have not been optimized for storing, distributing and organizing complex clinical data. This results in inadequate performance and more costly, less flexible solutions. This is especially true of networks of regional hospital information systems that require advanced approaches to address scalability and reliability.

Additionally, our object database approach to managing complex data provides healthcare applications with an easy to use platform that uniquely organizes, secures and transparently distributes the information with many features and benefits beyond traditional relational database technology.