By Osasu Osaiyuwu
Before giving some of the reasons why INEC is having issues with result upload, it is important we understand one terminology: Server.
RELATED: Politicians trying to hack BVAS machines but system remains secure, says INEC
What’s a server?
A server is a computer or group of computers that run specialise software that serves clients requests. A server can be likened to when you get to a restaurant, you (client) make an order (requests) for food from a server who then goes to get your order and serves it to you.
Why INEC is having server problem or problem with result?
The cause of the upload/server problem being faced by INEC can be as a result of the following
- Server capability
Sabotage: a deliberate attempt at compromising INEC’s server by individuals inside or outside INEC . Sabotage can be any or combination of the under listed
- DDOS: Distributed Denial Of Service is when an individual or groups deliberately flood a server with useless traffic with the intention to make the server slow , unresponsive or even take the server office
- Hacking: Hacking of INEC server can also be another reason INEC is having issue with its server. A compromised server can be configured by the hacker to do whatever it wants
- Internal sabotage: some rogue INEC officials might in collaboration with politicians might sabotage the servers deliberately in other to achieve a predetermined purpose
- ISP failure: the Internet Service Provider for INEC might have be overwhelmed by the traffic coming from the simultaneous usage of the over 176000 BVAS machines
- Server capability: a low server capability is another reason a server might not function properly . A server or group of servers with 16 gigabytes of RAM will definitely handle more requests than that with 1 gigabyte of RAM. For example, there are 176846 polling units in Nigeria and each polling unit has at least 1 BVAS machine, therefore a minimum of 176846 BVAS machines running across Nigeria. Let me use the following hypothesis
- INEC runs a 2 gigabytes RAM server
- Each BVAS sends 40 megabytes of data to INEC server and each of that 40 megabytes from the BVAS takes 40 kilobytes of RAM to process the data.
If half of the BVAS machine (88423) were to be run simultaneously across the country, they will consume over 3.5 gigabytes of RAM which is clearly more than the 2 gigabytes of INEC’S server. In such a scenario, the server will clearly not be able to
handle the request and it will definitely lead to server being very slow, unresponsive or worse the server failing completely and therefore results cannot be uploaded.
- Inadequate Manpower: setting up and managing a resilient server requires experienced and knowledgeable individuals that are good in computer networking, advance hardware setup, computing programming, hardware optimization, operating system etc. A lack of such required manpower in setting and running the server will likely result in the server failing especially when it’s exposed to real traffic.
Some other causes of server failure might be as a result of outdated hardware or software , server location etc.
- Tamper with result: INEC server being down or not responsive gives ample time for the manipulation of the results from various locations in the country
2. It can lead to lack of faith in INEC and the results that will emanate from the process
3. Waste of resources: the continuous downtime of INEC’S server will lead to credibility questions about the whole process and probably leading to litigations that might lead to outright or partial cancellation and rerun of election.
- Improved server infrastructure
- DDOS mitigation should be considered by INEC. Services such as cloudflare or can withstand DDOS.
- Network of servers: Instead of having just one single server in a particular location, INEC should have a network of servers spread all over the country. By so doing, INEC will have a server architecture that is robust , resilient, fault tolerant and always available with low latency
- Adequate manpower
- Use of reliable Internet Service Provider
- Up to date software and hardware
Osaiyuwu is a tech-expert based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State