ESPN’s Fantasy Football App Tanked on Opening Sunday

    September 27, 2016
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    By Dino Balafas

    Performance monitoring and capacity planning software can help companies gain control of their IT infrastructure and avoid costly mistakes like the one that caused ESPN’s latest app to crash during peak demand.

    For the second time in as many years, ESPN’s fantasy football app crashed — this time on the season’s opening day. The app was down for over four hours, frustrating the 7.1 million users who’d just spent an entire offseason preparing for the big day.

    ESPN management were surely less than happy themselves: the fantasy football market remains highly competitive, and visible tech issues such as these can quickly decrease market share. All of this just confirms what we’ve said previously: the bigger the system, the harder it fails.

    So what went wrong? ESPN’s servers were simply unprepared for the unprecedented levels of traffic. In addition, a glitch temporarily prevented the app from accessing the sports network’s database, according to ESPN spokesperson Paul Melvin. Both of these issues stem from a larger problem: a lack of control over the company’s IT infrastructure. A performance monitoring and capacity planning platform can help companies gain control and avoid issues like ESPN’s app crash.

    Monitoring Performance and Tracking Health and Risk

    Many recent advancements in computing have dispersed IT components to create a vast, complex infrastructure. One example of this is the cloud, implementation of which doubles a company’s data sources.

    The larger and more varied a company’s IT setup, the more ways things can go wrong. Just ask Amazon: when a single Virginia server went down in 2015, their entire cloud network experienced partial outages for nearly six hours, costing the company over $1,100 per second. All companies, especially those as large as ESPN and Amazon, need to invest in software that monitors the entire infrastructure and reports on health and risk to avoid issues like these.

    A performance monitoring platform like TeamQuest’s Vityl Monitor can help companies avoid service failures by gathering and analyzing data from a wide variety of infrastructure components. Monitor searches for and presents early warnings of potential issues — and if something does go wrong, the software will quickly identify the cause and suggest a means of resolution.

    By itself, Vityl Monitor is a powerful tool; paired with a health and risk tracker like our Vityl Adviser, it becomes even stronger. Health and risk trackers look deep into the performance of every individual app and report scores for each, making it easy to keep track of a company’s entire IT setup — and thanks to our new Adviser iOS app, companies can even track scores on the fly.  

    Performance monitoring and health and risk tracking can help prevent issues like ESPN’s humongous data gaff. The company’s other problem — high levels of traffic — can be just as easily avoided by using capacity planning software.  

    Scaling on the Fly

    One of the many benefits of cloud technology is the ability to scale compute and storage spend. However, it isn’t always easy to know exactly how much storage is needed at any one time: 60% of cloud software servers are redundant, while companies like ESPN still find themselves short on space during usage spikes.  

    The easiest way to avoid misallocated resources while preparing for volatile usage curves is by investing in capacity planning software like our TeamQuest Predictor. Using the latest in predictive analytics, our platform predicts compute and storage needs with 95% accuracy so IT administrators don’t have to call a last-minute audible.

    Opening day will always come with its share of surprises, but crashing apps and server malfunctions shouldn’t be among them. With the right performance monitoring and capacity planning software, ESPN can help their fantasy football coaches focus on what really matters: their roster.


    Category: capacity-planning