March Madness & IPM: Not as Unrelated as You Might Think…

By Len Rosenthal, Chief Marketing Officer

March Madness is here, which means everyone’s getting swept up in the excitement by filling out brackets (with some folks using very interesting methods) and gluing themselves to TV screens in homes, offices and sports bars across the country. And if your bracket had Virginia, North Carolina or Arizona going to the Final Four, you’re not alone in your misery

While March Madness offers a welcome excuse for employees to take a break from the daily grind, it takes a toll on businesses of all types and sizes. No, this won’t be another buzzkill-type blog post bemoaning how much collective revenue is lost by employees watching the games on the company dime – instead, we’ll take a look at how March Madness resembles infrastructure performance management (IPM) in more ways than you might think.

We’ve discussed noisy neighbors here before – and for a quick refresher, noisy neighbors are co-tenants or applications that monopolize bandwidth, disk I/O, CPU and other networked resources, resulting in a reduction in application performance. Well, guess what? If a significant number of your organizations’ employees are firing up the NCAA March Madness Live app on their mobile devices while connected to the company Wi-Fi, they’ve just introduced one of the noisiest neighbors you could imagine. Suddenly your organization’s infrastructure is under extreme siege, and your Tier 1 applications – the business-critical apps that your customers depend on – are fighting for bandwidth scraps.

Noisy neighbors, though, are often co-tenants or apps that consistently monopolize bandwidth – they can be issues that plague an organization’s infrastructure for extended periods of time before they’re finally identified and resolved. March Madness, however, is an event that is very finite – it lasts just a few weeks, and the majority of the games take place within the tournament’s first week. As a result, March Madness overwhelms an organization’s infrastructure like a tidal wave, crippling your internal network bandwidth performance in a sudden burst. This kind of event is the stuff of IT managers’ nightmares, as it can lead to the dreaded “O” word: outages. And when an organization suffers an outage, not only are critical company applications brought to a halt, but its invaluable SLAs are then compromised – which can lead to the loss of customers and revenues, adding a hefty amount of salt to the wound.

If you’re an IT operations manager, the ideal solution, of course, is to prohibit your employees from snatching precious infrastructure resources to watch March Madness while on the clock, but that won’t endear you to your workforce – and enforcing it would be an unrealistic proposition. The next best solution, then, is to utilize tools that can help you gain full visibility into your infrastructure and the apps that are drawing bandwidth and I/O from it. This is where we can help: our VirtualWisdom solution, for example, provides real-time insights into the performance, availability, health and utilization of your data center infrastructure – which helps you prepare for and withstand extreme events like March Madness.

So, as you’re cheering on your alma mater over the next few weeks, spare a thought for your IT manager – because for them, this March truly will be quite mad. And to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest in app-centric infrastructure performance monitoring, don’t forget to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.