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October 23, 2019
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What are your thoughts when it comes to the responsibilities that arise with database servers? Do you have responsibilities for: Database administration tasks; Database software maintenance fixes and upgrades; OS upgrades; scale the infrastructure; maintain systems that guarantee your availability. Such questions should be at the back of your head. Do you have an organization that owns pieces of your database server? Whichever way it is that you handle your challenges, try to focus on the real aim which is to come up with a business solution.

As these challenges arise, technology also evolves and the mix grows. One has to start to integrate the old and new solutions mixed together. Your premise investment in maintaining your software, skills, expertise and hardware continues to increase. Generally systems don’t quickly migrate when new technologies emerge. Steady state systems run and do not get retrofitted while new systems take advantage of new products.

How do you then take advantage of the change and adoption of these new emerging technologies? Do you realize that on premise is slower to adopt then what you see available from cloud providers? Do you notice rising costs where keeping up with technologies available in cloud solutions is concerned? How do you manage and budget for this needs to be weighed against moving to the cloud. With a cloud offering many of your infrastructure costs in supporting systems is shifted to the solution you choose. There could be significant savings as well as allowing your technical staff to work on business driven solutions versus maintaining infrastructure. As a database owner you need to understand the importance of a stable platform. What should you be looking for in a cloud offering which we as I3C always include for our clients? Of course at a minimum it should give you the desired performance, availability, access, and security. These are the additional advantages we offer our clients with our packages:

  • Geographical independence.
  • Capacity on demand.
  • Freedom of more choices.
  • Intangibles that generate more value.
  • Access to new functionalities
  • Ability to try solutions typically not available.

What is your real aim? Is it to provide and deliver business solutions and value to your customers. Do you want to invest in testing and creating SW/HW platforms, or allow your business to easily have access to technology and quicker transformations? As you look at cloud solutions you need to ensure that the service provider delivers a better and robust product for your business.

You need to have the flexibility of leveraging additional services once you have an application up and running on a cloud service provider. Look for: easily customizable solutions; API driven services; pre-built extraction/transform/load operators. These allow you to extend the application and provide additional value at a low incremental cost.

So when evaluating where to really spend your money and time on, it makes sense to spend your valuable time improving your product and not developing accessory infrastructure components. Look at what you stand to gain when a solution is built and how everyone can  take advantage of it. Look at the value you now have and how the service provider can improve on that. I3C has shaped itself around the concept of being a thought leader and providing solutions for its clients.


October 23, 2019
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It has been undeniably one of the most ingenious inventions of this modern era. A technology that has ended up being the backbone of a new type of internet by allowing digital content to be distributed but not copied. The identity of the creator of this technology still remains a mystery and the only thing known about this individual or group of individuals is that they are known by the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Originally it was devise for the birth of the digital currency era with the creation of Bitcoin but since its inception, the tech world has found other ways to fully utilize the technology and it has evolved into something greater but the question that has railed people up to this day is what blockchain really is and what the benefits of embracing it are.

A blockchain is a time-stamped series of immutable record of data that is managed by a cluster of computers that are not owned by any single entity. Each of these blocks are secured and bound to each other using cryptographic principles (i.e. chain).One thing the world needs to understand is how it works in order to embrace the properties that make it so important and ingenious. According to Don & Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution (2016),”The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Imagine a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then envision that this network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet and you’ll have a basic understanding of the blockchain. Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared and continually reconciled database.

  • A blockchain network has no central authority in other wards it’s a decentralized system.
  • Since it is a shared and immutable ledger, the content in it is open for anyone and everyone to see hence anything that is built on the blockchain structure is by nature transparent and everyone involved is accountable for their actions.
  • A blockchain carries an infrastructure cost but has no transaction cost. It’s a smart way of securing content flow from A to B in a fully automated and safe manner.
  • Once a party to a transaction initiates the process of creating a block, it’s verified by thousands and millions of computers distributed on the network.
  • The verified block is added to a chain which is stored across the net creating not just a unique record but a unique record with a unique history. Falsifying a single record would mean falsifying the entire chain in millions of instances. Bitcoin uses this model for monetary transactions but it can be modified to serve other purposes.
  • Blockchain transfer is free and can store money. It replaces all processes and business models which rely on charging a small fee for a transaction. You can charge for anything in any amount without worrying about third parties cutting into your profits.

Once the merits of a safe ledger without transaction fees is widely interpreted and implemented, financial institutions will go bankrupt and be forced to adapt fundamentally after all, the financial entities are built on taking a small cut of the client’s funds for the privilege of facilitating a transaction.

Currently, there are at least four types of blockchain networks, public blockchains, private blockchains, consortium blockchains and hybrid blockchains.

Public blockchains

A public blockchain has absolutely no access restrictions. Anyone with an internet connection can send transactions to it as well as become a validator (i.e., participate in the execution of a consensus protocol). Usually, such networks offer economic incentives for those who secure them and utilize some type of a Proof of Stake or Proof of Work or algorithm.

Some of the largest, most known public blockchains are the bitcoin blockchain and the Ethereum blockchain.

Private blockchains

A private blockchain is permissioned. One cannot join it unless invited by the network administrators. Participant and validator access is restricted.

Why should business entities embrace blockchain services in the first place?

  • First and foremost since blockchain is decentralized, data isn’t stored in one spot because everyone on the network owns the information which makes it such a hard target for potential hackers.
  • When centralized systems like the one that traditional financial institutions run go through a software upgrade, the whole system comes to a halt which isn’t the same with blockchain in which case the system keeps operating even when under a software upgrade.
  • With blockchain since the information is shared across the network, it’s always accessible which isn’t the case with the centralized entities which make it hard to access information when they shut down for whichever reason.
  • In scenarios where individual entities want to interact, it’s very possible without having to go through a third party. You and you alone are in charge of your money. In other terms, you can send your money to anyone without having to go through the bank.
  • Security measures are reinforced. A person’s identity is hidden via complex cryptography and represented only by their public address so in cases where people look up for people’s transaction history, one would only find an address i.e. “1mfykujfm7890 sent 1BTC.It also works two ways. If you know your company’s address, it’s easy to see the transactions that they engage in which makes it easy to monitor.
  • Blockchain technology can be used to create a permanent, public, transparent ledger system for compiling data on sales, tracking digital use and payments to content creators, such as wireless users.
  • Blockchain content is immutable meaning that once entered into the blockchain, it cannot be tampered with. Imagine how this could be a relief for financial institutes. Embezzlement cases would be solved in a jiffy if people were unable to “cook the books” and fiddle around the company accounts. This is achieved by the cryptography hash function which means taking an input string of any length and giving out an output of a fixed length.
  • The potential for added efficiency in share settlement makes a strong use case for blockchains in stock trading. Initially there are always three days for clearances in these sectors but with the elimination of intermediaries, it becomes instantaneous.

In conclusion, most financial institutions have recognized the value of blockchain technology and some have even started implementing it.

Companies especially in the entertainment sector are using for protection of intellectual property for example digital information. Smart contracts have been developed off the back bone of blockchain to protect copyright and automate the sale of creative works online eliminating the risk of file copying and distribution. All in all companies world-wide need to embrace the need for blockchain technology and contemplate about the merits of implementing it.


October 23, 2019
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Big Data is a hot topic in the world of analysis right now. It’s been gaining popularity with business for a few years, and now it’s seeping into the social sector. I see evaluators, nonprofits, donors, and even governments discuss its pros and cons. Big Data is hot, and it makes big promises and that makes you want to get in the game. But before you use Big Data, you need to be sure it’s right for you.

Don’t get me wrong. Big data is amazing when used correctly It can be cheaper and less invasive to collect. It can lead to the understanding of patterns we didn’t previously recognize. As with all data, there are always some technical issues e.g. how do you protect data owners’ privacy? How do you ensure you’re actually measuring what you intend to measure? But before you use big data in the social sector, there are also important analytics issues to address. And they all come down to one critical question:

Are you trying to answer a question of prediction or causality?

Big Data is extremely useful when you’re making predictions. The bigger, the better. Want to understand what someone is most likely to buy from your website? Big Data has the answer. Want to determine which people in your database are most likely to contribute to your fundraising event? Big Data can be your inside man. Any time you’re trying to make a prediction about the future, you can pretty safely use Big Data.

But often in the social sector, our questions aren’t about predictions — they’re trying to determine cause. For example:

  • Trying to understand the effects of a specific type of education
  • Attempting to determine why something is happening the way it is
  • Measuring the impact of your program or service

These are all questions of causality. In these instances, it wouldn’t be very helpful at all to use Big Data.

No problem, right?

Mostly no problem. The issue is that Big Data can give you the feeling that you’re doing great analysis. Your sample size is so big and you have so much data, you feel like the conclusions you’re drawing must be meaningful. In fact, there’s a fair chance they aren’t even accurate.

How Big data may be a disadvantage.

You can use Big Data for predictive questions. If you’re looking to the future, off you go enjoy the power and ease of Big Data analysis. If you’re trying to determine the cause of something sorry, Big Data is not for you. Big Data isn’t generally great for causal questions because:

  • It’s often biased. If you want data that is a good representation of the community you’re studying, you need to collect it in a certain way. Big Data is almost never collected in a way that allows you to learn about the community.  When you use Big Data, you usually only learn about the people contributing the data, and these people are often from a select group that doesn’t represent the group you’re focused on.
  • Algorithms aren’t always as smart as they sound. Machine learning algorithms can’t tell mediators from confounders. In most predictive models, the best way to get a good answer is to throw as many variables as you can into the mix to get the highest rate of correct prediction. This method is terrible for causal analysis. When asking causal questions, there is no way to avoid the need for conceptual understanding and theory. Machines just can’t cut it.
  • Sample size doesn’t mean what you think. The “big” part of Big Data can give the (mistaken) impression that its sheer size can eliminate bias. This is entirely false. A huge amount of biased data will simply produce a very biased, very incorrect result.

WE STILL LOVE BIG DATA

Please don’t misunderstand: we’ve been able to use Big Data to solve previously unsolvable problems in the social sector. For example it’s being used by the government help understand the impact of farming input franchises in Kenya. It can be used in so many great ways even in the social sector if manipulated well. Sometimes, Big Data is great.

But you need to be sure it’s the right tool for the job.

If you’re part of a social sector organization that wants to use Big Data, it’s critical that you recognize what type of question you’re trying to answer. The vast majority of training and Big Data analysis methods currently available are designed for prediction and are hopeless at answering causal questions.

If you need help determining whether you can use Big Data for your project, we are here to help. Contact i3C today and get an insight into how you can use big data to help you.


September 26, 2019
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Press Release
Uganda’s Infinity Computers Awards Services and Cloud Deal To IBM
Deal gives customers access to leading edge cloud, analytics and IT services

Armonk, N.Y/ Kampala, Uganda – 21 October, 2015Leading Ugandan IT services provider Infinity Computers has chosen IBM (NYSE: IBM) to deliver cloud, analytics and IT services to support a wide range of new web and mobile offerings for its clients.

Infinity Computers –or I3C –provides a range of services to clients in East Africa, South Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. The portfolio includes services for developers in the vibrant East African tech startup community, Internet domain registration, Web and cloud hosting, as well as fiber optic and mobile communication installation.

I3C chose IBM’s cloud solution and services over competing offerings from Microsoft and Huawei, citing customer care and technical support, competitive pricing, solution agility and global capabilities. I3C is counting on IBM to expand its business footprint in East Africa and to serve a growing number of Asian and European clients by providing quicker and more efficient access of services.

Previously, I3C hosted all its servers on premise and was running into several limitations such as Internet bandwidth capacity, scalability, unstable power at the server-room level, and inadequate customer care and technical support to meet the needs of its clients.

Since beginning the transition to IBM earlier this year, I3C has reported 40 percent improved performance in accessibility and speed of provisioning services to clients and 45 percent lower operating costs from reductions in support resources, Internet bandwidth requirements and electrical power consumption.

New offerings provided to I3C customers through IBM include storage-as-a-service, data warehousing and back up services, and hosting for mobile-enabled web sites and databases. In addition, I3C customers will have access to analytics for mobile applications allowing them to improve workflow processes in specific business functions such as sales and marketing intelligence and customer care. They will be able to examine user demographics like the number of web page visits, their country of origin, what mobile devices are being used to access their content as well as screen resolution and preferred user language. This will allow them to enhance their mobile web-based marketing campaigns and the end user experience.

“As the needs of our customers have evolved, we required a cloud solution and services that could meet those growing demands and help us expand our business,”said Charles Musisi, General Manager of I3C. “When we looked at competing offerings, no one else could match the combination of IBM’s technology, expertise and global capabilities to meet all our current and future requirements.”

The solution is offered in a hybrid cloud format, with clients having the options of choosing public cloud services through SoftLayer, on-premises virtualized services managed through IBM’s Global Delivery Centers or a combination of both. The SoftLayer cloud solution provides I3C’s customers with infrastructure choices that include bare metal servers, virtual servers, turnkey big data solutions and an option for private cloud.

I3C is also looking into incorporating IBM Bluemix solutions on the cloud and where necessary and provide these services at the client’s premises using IBM’s Hybrid solutions such as IBM Power systems managed by IBM’s Global Delivery Centers.

“In East Africa, we are seeing more of our clients seeking to scale operating efficiencies and minimize long-term IT spending by adopting managed IT services and cloud solutions,” said Nik Nesbitt, IBM general manager for East Africa. “The cloud solution and services we’re providing to I3C is designed to help them achieve its aggressive growth objectives while providing their customers with the speed, scalability, economy and flexibility they need.”

A growing number of enterprises across Africa have partnered with IBM to help drive their expansion and overall business plans. IBM has announced over 20 banking deals throughout Africa over the last five years. Within the health sector, Metropolitan Health in South Africa and the Zambia Ministry of Health have tapped IBM solutions to drive their business models.

About I3C
For more information about I3C visit: http://www.i3c.co.ug

About IBM
For more information about IBM infrastructure services, visit: http://ibm.com/services

Contacts:

Vera Rosauer
IBM External Relations
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +254-710-537-030

Faye Abloeser
IBM External Relations
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +1-917-472-3526


September 26, 2019
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CDNSMAN, a modern web DNS management interface for your domains

Today 13th, Sept 2016, we are excited to launch CDNSMAN, a modern web-based application that helps you manage DNS records of your domain.

In the past, you had to submit DNS records to us who would then make changes on your behalf. We found this a very inefficient way of doing DNS management. So starting today, instead of submitting to us DNS records such as A, MX or CNAME, you can simply login to our platform at http://cdnsman.i3c.co.ug/ and make the changes yourself. The system uses secure dynamic DNS protocol to make changes to our four globally distributed name servers cutting propagation time to only about 15 minutes.

The platform is still in beta, so if you experience some bugs, that’s absolutely normal. Please let us know so we can improve on our systems to serve you better.

About i3c

I3C offers a full complement of information technology products and services that include scalable and robust data network strategy planning, deployment and management, voice/data integration with various vendor products, e-commerce and e-government solutions, a technical computer support Help Desk and Call Center, and information management tools built on web enabled database systems.


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