So, did you get your bracket done this year? Yeah, I have to admit, I was surprised Wintermute lost to HAL in the first round, too. Oh, right, you didn't think I was talking about the SolarWinds Sci-Fi Bracket Battle.

 

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Let's talk about that other bracket, the one for the NCAA Men's Division I basketball tournament because, apparently, the tourney is a pretty big deal, especially if you're managing a network for rabid college basketball fans that have to stay at their desks:

Traffic to popular college basketball Web sites like NCAA.com and CBSSports.com increased more than 10,000% during last year’s tournament, according to numbers from ScanSafe. The security vendor looked at 240 billion Web requests performed on behalf of its corporate clients in 80 countries.

 

“The amount of corporate bandwidth used to view these basketball games during work hours is astonishing,” said Spencer Parker, ScanSafe director of product management, in a statement. “Most employees don't know the bandwidth impact of these streaming sessions. Companies are literally losing millions of dollars to college basketball in March.” (emphasis added) [source]

 

What are you going to do about it? Do you need to do anything? According to a recent survey, only about a third of you will "take some action to prepare for March Madness, including banning March Madness video, throttling video feeds or blocking content altogether...48% of respondents say their company already takes action to block, throttle or ban the streaming of all non-work related content in the workplace." [source]

 

It's a question that comes up every year, but the answer is pretty much always the same. As Ann Bednarz, at NetworkWorld.com, states:

Companies with solid bandwidth management technologies in place can sit back and relax, while those without such measures are left to wonder how much network performance will suffer once employees start viewing live NCAA games at work (just as they did during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing). (emphasis added) [source]

And, as sure as some 15th seed from a school no one has ever heard of breaks everyone's bracket in the first round, I'll bring you around to where you can get the "solid bandwidth management technologies" you need, so you too "can sit back and relax" for the rest of March: start with some SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor and follow-it up with SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer. You can get them both together in the SolarWinds Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack. It's a one-two combo as sweet as Hakeem and Clyde (Phi Slama Jama) or Webber and Rose (The Fab Five). As Dickie V. would say, "It's serendipity, Baby!"