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NCAA Website Overwhelmed March 16, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Software, Web.
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NCAA busy server

I didn’t catch the whole NCAA tournament team selection announcement so I visited the NCAA website. Boy, was that a mistake. Apparently I am not the only person in to think of checking the team selection and brackets online. Maybe in an hour or two it will be able to handle the traffic.

I can’t help but wonder if the web server administrators and web programmers plan ahead for the flood of traffic or if they just figure that since it only happens once or twice a year they will just let the server crash and recover from it as well as they can.

Does anyone know what kind of web architecture NCAA uses to host their website? (Moose?) — According to the Firefox plug-in, Server Spy, the NCAA website is using Microsoft’s IIS software. That explains a lot.

Note: After giving up on the NCAA website I went searching for the NCAA Mens basketball brackets and came across the CBS printable bracket chart. That gave me what I needed.

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1. NCAA Website Overwhelmed - March 16, 2008

[…] Continue Reading […]

2. cbs brackets - March 16, 2008

[…] Neither Illinois or Georgia will get an at-large bid to the Tournament. Thechazsports.blogspot.comNCAA Website Overwhelmed I didn??t catch the whole NCAA tournament team selection announcement so I visited the NCAA […]

3. Moose - March 17, 2008

Well, I am glad you asked. They are now hosted by the esteemed company known as Epiccycle.com. Let me just state now, that they suck.

We have 3 schools hosted there – Arizona, Tennessee, and Michigan. So, I have Hostguardian.com monitoring these sites.

Now that I have found out that ncaa.com is hosted there, I have added them to my monitoring – sort of as a “baseline”. It will be interesting to see how they do.

Oh, and since you asked (mentally at least) what I mean by “sucks”, let me give you something quantitative so you can see what my definition is and see whether you agree….

Here is the information for Sunday… 288 check to each site (once every five minutes)…

URL Average Correct Percent Alerts
Time Checks Passed Sent
http://arizonaathletics.com/home/ 3.227s 272 94.4% 16
http://mgoblue.com/home/ 2.400s 274 95.1% 14
http://utsports.com/home/ 1.017s 283 98.3% 5
http://utladyvols.com/home/ 1.143s 285 99.0% 3

Now, you might say, now wait, Moose, that’s not fair, that’s during a specific outage… how do they do overall? I would say that you are half correct, it is fair, but so is a larger picture. So, let me give you one.

URL Check Average Correct Percent Alerts
Time Checks Passed Sent

http://arizonaathletics.com/home/ 1.244s 8720 99.3% 53
http://mgoblue.com/home/ 0.851s 8726 99.4% 44
http://utsports.com/home/ 0.700s 8752 99.7% 27
http://utladyvols.com/home/ 0.712s 8739 99.5% 33

I don’t know about you, but I consider something less than 99.9% not good. Espeically since they cache their pages and serve them off of Akamai, which means that they should NEVER be down.

If you want to be amused, go to http://visualroute.visualware.com/ and put in ncaa.com and look at the traffic graphs. Perhaps amused is not the correct word, but you will get the idea.

The next two weeks will be “interesting”!

4. Moose - March 17, 2008

Hmm… I thought I posted a reply here, but I don’t see it in the comments section. I guess I’ll post again, although I doubt it will be as good as the first posting.

5. Moose - March 17, 2008

NCAA.com is now (as of a couple weeks ago) hosted at epiccycle.com in a datacenter in Denver. Interestingly enough, I am quite familair with this organization as we have 4 sites with them – Arizona, Michigan, and both Tennessee sites. Thus, our monitoring system has been monitoring them.

I just added ncaa.com as a baseline test to see how it does versus other epic sites. Based on history, however, I am guessing that what you have experienced, Matsu, will be more the norm than the exception. My professional opinion of this organization is that they suck. As “suck” is not a very quantitative description, how about I give you some information, and you can apply a description as you see fit. The following is from a company we use to monitor sites. This is a 3rd party. What you have here is the url being checked, the average time for a page to load, the number of correct checks, the percentage of checks that passed, and the number of alerts sent (i.e. number of failures) for the past thirty days.

URL Check Average Correct Percent Alerts
Time Checks Passed Sent

http://arizonaathletics.com/home/ 1.244s 8720 99.3% 53
http://mgoblue.com/home/ 0.851s 8726 99.4% 44
http://utsports.com/home/ 0.700s 8752 99.7% 27
http://utladyvols.com/home/ 0.712s 8739 99.5% 33

Thus, as a group they have an uptime percentage (34937/35092) of 99.5583% which is a far cry from 99.9+% they should have.

I say “should have” because the architecture that they use is one where they cache the entire page and host it off of Akamai. Thus, they should never have an outage. They might go longer without an update if they have an issue, but that should not be seen by the end client.

Like you, Matsu, I saw outages on Sunday with them.

In fact, I called the support line, and the CEO answered.

Sigh…

Now that I have added NCAA.com as a baseline, it will be interesting to see how things go the next few weeks.

–Moose

6. Matsu - March 17, 2008

Sorry, Moose. Your first comment was flagged as possible SPAM and required me to moderate and approve it before it would be posted. Too many URL’s in that comment.

I went ahead and approved it since you spent the time to write it in the first place. It had a lot of useful information.

Thanks!

7. Moose - March 19, 2008

FYI, they suck… more data…

URL: http://www.ncaa.com

Correct Checks: 632

Percent Passed: 98.9%

Failed Checks: 7

Yes, the week of NCAA tournament beginning I want a 98.9% up time.

8. Moose - March 24, 2008

Well, I think it is only fair that I give you an update…

Thursday, March 20, 2008
http://www.ncaa.com 0.562s 286 2 99.3056%

Friday, March 21, 2008
http://www.ncaa.com 0.132s 288 0 100.0000%

Saturday, March 22, 2008
http://www.ncaa.com 0.183s 287 1 99.6528%

Sunday, March 23, 2008
http://www.ncaa.com 0.266s 287 1 99.6528%

So, for a 7 day total we have…
http://www.ncaa.com 0.323s 1971 9 99.5455%

9. Moose - March 24, 2008

Sorry, forgot the headers…
URL Average Correct Alerts % Correct
Time Checks Sent


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