15 March 2017

East Africa: M-Kopa Enjoys the Power of the Cloud

There are real savings to be enjoyed with cloud-based systems, said Andreas Fruhen, along with flexibility that is particularly valuable for young, fast-moving companies.

Andreas Fruhen, director of Technical Operations for M-KOPA charted his company's path into the cloud, noting that being cloud-based saves serious money and provides invaluable flexibility.

Fruhen, whose company says it has connected more than 450,000 homes in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to solar power, talked about the experience in his speech Wednesday at the inaugural Africa Cloud Summit.

"M-Kopa uses the cloud to enable low-income Kenyans to obtain a life-changing asset," he said at the Nairobi event.

Effective as the cloud can be, getting there must be a thoughtful, not-hasty process, he added, noting that there must be a basic focus on "What do you want to achieve? What infrastructure do you have? What budget do you have?"

For M-KOPA, a young company, flexibility has been and continues to be essential.

Talking of capacity management, Fruhen said using the cloud gives him the ability to add storage very quickly, as opposed to the unacceptably time-consuming process of doing so with an on-premises system.

"I'm not allowed to have those problems," he said.

Fruhen, who detailed the savings that came with cloud-based operations, noted that he is using more than 290 virtual machines and has 690 terabytes of data stored in the cloud.

"We're about 99.99 percent in the cloud," he said. "I have about four servers and that's it."

Going to the cloud also provides easy access to all the relevant data, which is accessible on mobile devices, the CIO noted.

"It makes it easy to make decisions on the go," he said.

The Africa Cloud Summit, held at Nairobi's Radisson Blu, runs through 16 March. For more information, visit http://www.africacloudsummit.com

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