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Apr 5, 2013

Capture the excitement of March Madness with CDNs

Ansley Kilgore

Capture the excitement of March Madness with CDNsThis year’s March Madness basketball tournament has been among the most exciting in recent history. If you talk to the sports pundits, it’s because schools like Florida Gulf Coast told the classic Cinderella story with plenty of style. But if you talk to your friendly neighborhood tech geek, you’ll hear a different message – “It’s all about the technology behind the content delivery.”

I mean really, who’s watching for the basketball? The exciting part is that anybody can hop on the web and watch any game, live, in high definition. It doesn’t matter if you are the office, walking the dog or sitting on the couch – if you have a web-enabled device, you can capture the excitement of college basketball’s most storied event. That’s something to get pumped up about.

A realistic look at CDN use for March Madness
Ok, like most people, you’re probably watching March Madness because of the basketball and storylines, not to gawk at the excellent performance of the Content Delivery Network (CDN) distributing the games over the web. But the CDN could be having a legitimate impact on your excitement. The difference, simply, is that fewer people have to miss any of the action. If you can’t be in front of the TV, you can grab a smartphone or tablet and watch the game. Thanks to CDNs, one of the world’s most popular sporting events is more accessible than ever.

What can businesses learn from this?
There is incredible value in high-quality accessible video, for your employees and customers. If you want to get your workforce excited about a new technology or initiative, they are probably going to be more interested in watching a well-directed video about the solution than in reading a long email detailing its features.

The same goes for customers. Video traffic is skyrocketing on the web, and the trend toward video as an effective communication tool is clear. However, not many people will tolerate video that takes too long to load, runs at low resolutions or has to stop and buffer periodically. Both businesses and consumer users are more likely to turn your video off if it doesn’t perform well.

A CDN can alleviate this burden. As one of the most popular sporting events in the country, March Madness generates a lot of attention and plenty of page visits. Using a CDN allows content providers to stream content to a large number of users without worrying about performance problems. This is made possible by reducing the load on origin infrastructure and maximizing data transit speeds.

To learn more about how CDNs can help deliver high-quality video content, read our CDN Overview.

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Ansley Kilgore

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Mar 29, 2013

FGCU sets records for March madness, website traffic

Ansley Kilgore

website trafficIf you follow March Madness basketball, you’re aware of this year’s Cinderella run – Florida Gulf Coast University has exploded onto the NCAA tournament scene. As the first 15-seed ever to reach the Sweet 16, FGCU is breaking all the rules and setting new records for sports fans and media to talk about.

Their magical run is also setting new records for their website. After their victory over Georgetown, Internet traffic to FGCU’s online admissions page jumped 431 percent — then the site crashed. No one could have predicted FGCU’s success in the tournament, so preparing for a surge of website visits was probably not on anyone’s radar – and understandably so.

But, predicting how well your web servers can handle an increase in Internet traffic is sometimes easier than predicting how far your team will go in the tournament.

When web servers get bombarded with a high volume of user requests, they can become overwhelmed and unresponsive. To prepare for these situations and improve website performance, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can help. Using a CDN as part of your IT Infrastructure can reduce the risk of downtime and accelerate online performance in three ways:

Reduce latency – Each time a user clicks to view content on your website, the server has to process the request. With a large influx of site visitors, this can lead to slower response times and increased latency. A CDN can reduce the burden on the web server by storing cacheable content and distributing it directly to the end user.

Availability – Once your web server becomes overwhelmed, users can’t see any of your website content. But with a CDN, users can still access cacheable content in the event that the web server experiences an outage.

Scalability – The ability to scale means your website will be better equipped to handle traffic spikes, thanks to scalable storage capabilities. CDNs are also a security benefit because they offer protection from DDoS attacks that could leave servers vulnerable.

As evidenced by my busted bracket, I was clearly not ready for FGCU’s success in this year’s tourney. While we can’t help you prepare for surprise Cinderellas, we can help prepare your website for better performance and a more reliable online experience.

Learn more about how Internap’s Content Delivery Network can help your website deliver the optimum online experience.

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Ansley Kilgore

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