As Ecocash’s official downtime lapsed, most subscribers were worried whether the system will at all come back with normalcy, especially after 9pm yesterday, 24hrs after the initially announced deadline.
The services finally came back after missing the announced deadline with other services like airtime recharge missing from the menu.
“Its not a policy change but rather a technical work still in progress,” an insider confided.
To anyone who works behind a server, the worst question one would ever want to entertain is
“so what time do you guys think you will be done?”
The worst could have happened during the system migration and such jobs usually do not have a time line of when service will resume as this is not a mere copy and paste command.
For Ecocash to give a 24 hr notice, this was rather a brave statement, that only served to give them pressure to deliver, otherwise migrating a whole mobile payment system is no 24 hr job to complete.
I can imagine an argument about this deadline between technical and management team, ofcourse management may have won it on paper, but technical gets the last say.
Ask anyone who has worked on a system, be it a simple program coding, network troubleshooting, server backup and ofcourse the painstaking MySql Server debugging, we went through one recently and took a long time to come back.
As Ecocash continues to grow not only in transactions but integrating thousangds of agents, merchants, Sasai, and all the banks in Zimbabwe while hooking up many Application Programming Interfaces (API) as the country’s largest mobile money payment platform, an upgrade was inevitable.
I can imagine simple processes like the database that deducts and computes balances while it reconnects to the trail server for auditing purposes, sounds like a simple instruction to execute but when you migrate systems, such issues are no walk in the park as they usually all run on different platforms.
Ecocash is the country’s largest bank by volumes of transactions, and also they connect all the nation’s bank systems for customers doing bank to wallet and anyone running the backend of such a system and database would yearn for a downtime to oil up the engine of such a busy system.
The team behind EcoCash announced that they have successfully migrated to a new platform over the weekend, and that it was now addressing post-cutover stabilization issues.
In a statement to media, Ecocash said, “We successfully implemented the planned upgrade of EcoCash to a new, more secure platform, and would like to thank our valued customers for their patience over this period,” a statement from Eddie Chibi, the CEO of Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe, the parent company of EcoCash, said.
“We are now dealing with post-cutover stability issues to optimize the availability of various EcoCash services across the new platform, and once again request our customers to bear with us as this may result in intermittent service,” the statement said.
This part is the real process that may actually get worse or if they lucky better.
Loose ends will likely show just when Ecocash think that the new system is now up and running and another downtime may be anticipated.
The new system will need to be Stress tested by millions who could not transact through the weekend, and most of the enquiries right now hitting the Ecocash server are not genuine transactions but people just checking if the system is really back or not.
It was better for them to give even 48 hrs, so that anxious people like us do not keep testing all the services if they are now fully functional
EcoCash announced a planned major upgrade of its platform last week to improve system availability, user experience, security and long term capacity issues.