Medallion and Eko-Konnect enter agreement to provide shared infrastructure for research and education

PRESS RELEASE

Eko-Konnect extends collaboration with datacenter operator to improve infrastructure challenges in higher education

Lagos, Nigeria - 24 September 2016

Lagos based research and education initiative, Eko-Konnect has signed agreement with datacenter operator, Medallion Communications Limited to provide shared computing and network resources for the education and academic communities.

This builds on existing Eko-Konnect NOC services operated from the datacenter and is aimed at satisfying the increasing need for stable and reliable e-infrastructure, connectivity and services currently placing high demand on already stretched ICT resources in Nigerian institutions.
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Cloud service based platforms can help the education sector catch up with the global open standards used in research and education and bring innovation by collaboration among researchers and students locally and globally. Such cloud services must use secure and trusted domains by adopting a number of security services and frameworks like dns security and federated identity.

Medallion Communications and Eko-Konnect have agreed to partner to make education cloud services available to the research and education community in Nigeria and NRENs beyond Nigeria. Through the partnership, Medallion will deliver data hosting and Internet connectivity for the various services Eko-Konnect will deploy and manage for institutions and NREN communities.

During the MoU signing ceremony, Mr Ike Nnamani, Managing Director of Medallion Communications said "An MoU of this nature has been long overdue to bring impetus to the development of the education sector in Nigeria. The education cloud service offering also gives an excellent opportunity to those institutions that have been sidelined through to lack of connectivity and infrastructure to become relevant and abreast with the services and skills they need to be a successful research and education institution in the 21st century".

Mr Owen Iyoha, General Manager of Eko-Konnect welcomed the collaboration saying "This MoU comes at an opportune time when many initiatives are emerging at the West African regional level to promote and improve education and health services through national research and education networks. We hope the services to be offered as a result of this MoU will dovetail into these regional initiatives."

Both expressed optimism of a successful rollout of education cloud services for research and education with a large adoption by NgREN members and other West African NRENs after the initial pilot.

Contacts
Eko-Konnect Research and Education Initiative
47 Iwaya Road, Onike,
Lagos, Nigeria
www.eko-konnect.org.ng

Medallion Communications Limited
8A Saka Tinubu Street, Victoria Island,
Lagos, Nigeria
www.medallion.ng

DevOps for Federated services - 8-10 March 2016

Eko-Konnect will host a 3 day training workshop which will introduce participants to service development in a federated environment using the DevOps approach, continuous integration and testing, and focussing on Ansible, Travis and Jenkins as tools.

Two days will be dedicated to the DevOps and CI tools, with one day dedicated to the application of these to federated service and identity providers.

It is a must attend workshop for programmers, server administrators and web developers responsible for maintaining their institutions ICT infrastructure, automating the deployment of server configurations and services across their networks. It is especially for those who want to build their institutions’ Identity Provider as part of their NREN Federation.

The workshop is hosted in collaboration with WACREN and members of the Sci-GaIA project.

Agenda: http://indico.wacren.net/event/25/
Venue: Human Resource Development Centre (HRDC), University of Lagos.
Date: 8th March to 10th March 2016
Time: 8am to 5pm
Who Should Attend: Programmers, server administrators and web developers responsible for maintaining and developing their institution's ICT infrastructure.

Enabling and Improving Research Output : e-Infrastructure and services for African research communities - 11 March 2016

In collaboration with WACREN and the Sci-GaIA project, Eko-Konnect will host a 1-day seminar to provide an overview of the e-Infrastructure model and explain how NRENs and other institutes can provide services to research communities and how they typically benefit from these services.

The seminar will be highly interactive with examples from local researchers within Eko-Konnect and NgREN community and also from international researchers. Participants will be updated about ongoing African e-Infrastructure projects and how to participate and benefit from them.

The seminar will be moderated by Sci-GAIA Project team leaders working on global open science initiatives and members from Eko-Konnect and NgREN community.

Federated Identity and Mobility Seminar Held

The Federated Identity and Mobility Seminar successfully took place on 7 October 2015 with participatants from institutions within the Eko-Konnect community and wider NgREN community in attendance.

Charles Uwadia, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Eko-Konnect opened proceedings setting the scene for the seminar by expressing the importance that federated identity and access brings to research and education. After a brief summary of Eko-Konnect's recent activities by Owen Iyoha, General Manager of Eko-Konnect, the audience was treated to insightful presentations from Anthony Adejumo on behalf of Joshua Atah, MD, NgREN on developing Nigeria's Identity Federation and Boubakar Barry, CEO of WACREN who explained the WACREN EduID infrastructure to the audience and described Horizon 2020 and the upcoming AfricaConnect2 projects that WACREN is invovled in.

Virtual presentations via Skype by Brook Schofield, Project Development Officer for GÉANT on the role of eduGAIN and eduROAM within global federations and Roberto Barbera from Catania University and the Sci-GaIA project Consortium Partner on Federated Platforms for Open Science Commons in Africa kept the audience captivated.

The afternoon's practical demonstrations of the NgREN Catchall Identity Provider and Certification Authority by Cletus Okolie, Technical Manager of Eko-Konnect provided opportunity for participants to get a hands on feel and understanding of how IdPs and SPs work within a federation.

The final session of the seminar was an interactive discussion of steps required to ensure the development of the NgREN federation and Eko-Konnect community’s full participation within it. Tirimisiyu Oladimeji an Eko-Konnect Board Of Trustee member, applauded the efforts of Eko-Konnect technical team and encouraged continued collaboration with NgREN to ensure to that all 28 Eko-Konnect institutions had their IdP's in place by the end of the year especially as the WACREN EduID infrastructure is available to facilitae the process. He hoped that the NgREN Federation would be fully established within the shortest possible time. It was also agreed that Eko-Konnect would create and distribute a template and schedule of training workshops and implementation requirements to its members for the establishment of their campus IdP's.

Institutions beyond the Eko-Konnect environs present at the seminar including University of Abuja, University of Ibadan, and Nnamdi Azikiwe University expressed their wish to also develop their campus IdPs and this became an immediate action point for Eko-Konnect to work with these institutions to establish their IdP's.

All the presentations can be obtained from Seminar Presentations

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