CloudCloud Management

Avoiding First And Down On Super Bowl Sunday

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How can businesses cope with spikes of traffic and avoid dreaded downtime?

On Sunday 7th February (or early hours of Monday morning for the UK) the 50th edition of the Super Bowl will kick off in Santa Clara, California contested between 2014’s losing finalists Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, in its first final for over a decade.

Super Bowl Sunday is an institution in the US and further afield, even our own capital has many pubs and bars selling tickets to their own celebrations ending around 4am. From tail gating to chicken wings to the half time show – the elements of the day are well known with the action itself being taken in by 114.4 million viewers in the US alone last year – up a massive 30 million from 1995.

Traffic spike

As the exposure of the event has grown – so has the way we interact and consume it. Be it following multi-million dollar Super Bowl ads around the internet on smart phones, streaming the action to a mobile device, taking advantage of bookmakers offers online – the Super Bowl now creates massive spikes in internet traffic but also, crucially, crashes for companies not prepared to deal with it.

We may see chaos ensue on Sunday if we reach a fourth down in the final quarter, and we’re now seeing that battle transposed to the online space. These grapples are also virtual and are happening amongst the huge increase in traffic within the data centre.

shutterstock_168938339Consumers are rushing online to catch the game and make purchases, and in order to facilitate this and make sales, it is vital that retailers have the data centre infrastructure to handle such requirements. In recent years though this hasn’t exactly been the case with the likes of Calvin Klein and Coca-Cola suffering outages, leading to a loss in revenue and particularly in Coca-Cola’s case – a loss of reputation with customers.

At such a competitive time, with such an exceedingly short time frame, businesses can suffer terribly in losses made due to website delays, with numbers thought to be in the billions. Looking at ads specifically – the average cost of a 30 second ad at the 2016 event will cost a mammoth $5 million. Magna Global is reporting that this is the last year that money TV advertising will outstrip digital ads, with digital expected to take over in 2017 and only increase this issue.

Downtime is a fear shared by CIOs globally, as demonstrated by a May 2015 Brocade report. The CIO survey saw a huge 75 percent of respondents citing their network as an issue in achieving their company’s goals with two of the top issues needing to be addressed being the upgrade / expansion of network itself as well as the data centre. Many though, face issues trying to address these issues within owned facilities where upgrade options can be limited.

Further to this outage fear, with this huge influx of consumers looking to make purchases or signing up with personal details, as well as retailers sending out marketing emails to millions, this also creates a huge cybercrime opportunity. With this extra threat to the revenue opportunities presented by Super Bowl Sunday, is it not prudent to ensure your infrastructure is up to scratch and have one less headache?

In emerging time critical environments, businesses are not only expected to cope with the deluge of sales but also create personalised content that follows the customers and effectively analyse their data.

Challenges

Sophisticated technology tools are now readily available for retail companies to do this, but these new opportunities are also new challenges, particularly when this technology is untested. Static and inflexible storage facilities no longer meet these challenges, which means it’s more essential than ever that business put robust scalable technology in place to cope with new demands.

Attempting to enter such crucial yet chaotic periods without a rigorously tested robust infrastructure, is genuinely costing some of the world’s biggest businesses huge amounts of money each year. As these unique days only grow in popularity, the need for proper data centre facilities to deal with this only grow too, adding to the difficulties faced by CIOs.

By making investment in the right kind of facilities in the first place – and ensuring that these are secure and flexible – then the CIO can ensure that customers, as well as the rest of their business, remain happy. Super Bowl Sunday goes way beyond the four quarters of the match for fans and businesses, and such a unique opportunity should be utilised and enjoyed, not feared.

By Darren Watkins, Managing Director, VIRTUS Data Centres