Goldstuck on Gadgets

The cloudy secret to scaling up

September 27th, 2017
The secret to the rapid growth of the eGranary farming platform lies in its underlying technology, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
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How did Intelipro’s eGranary (See: The Kenyan woman who is using tech to change farming) get so big so fast? How can a company that has fewer than 10 full-time employees, and outsources its software development, reach tens of thousands of farmers?

Leonida Mutuku’s explanation is disarming in its simplicity:

“We run off a company called Node Africa, a Kenyan solutions provider, which means, firstly, that we are growing together. Secondly, because they are local, it means we have limited latency since we don’t have to bounce off a server in Ireland, and are keeping the money local.

“They also offer us managed services, so we don’t have to have a networking genius constantly looking at our networks. That means we can concentrate on analytics and putting applications into production.”

It is no coincidence that Node Africa is also a star in the Vmware world. At the 2016 edition of VMworld, founder and CEO Phares Kariuki also participated in the keynote event, explaining how his company chose VMware and its vCloud Air Network program to build its business and data centre. Because he couldn’t afford the equipment needed for a data centre, he created a software-based version – known as a software-defined data centre. Using a virtual network platform called NSX, from VMware, he was able to build a scalable cloud infrastructure in six weeks.

On the keynote stage at VMworld 2017: Phares Kariuki of Node Africa and Leonida Mutuku of Intellipro in discussion with Sanjay Poonen, chief operating officer of VMware .

On the keynote stage at VMworld 2017: Phares Kariuki of Node Africa and Leonida Mutuku of Intellipro in discussion with Sanjay Poonen, chief operating officer of VMware .

Says Kariuki, “The amount of money we have saved on networking equipment as a result of using NSX as the basis of our network has been amazing. We saved $10 000 on just our initial network. That’s big for a start-up.”

That benefit is leveraged, in turn, by Node Africa’s customers, like Intellipro.

“The biggest factor is that Node Africa made it so easy for us to deploy and scale up,” says Mutuku. “They’ve been very reliable. We have not had any downtime, and we’ve been with them for nine months.”

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