March Madness and the Backup Players Who Make it Happen

March Madness is upon us. And for those of us carrying around our brackets, streaming video highlights over PCs and phones at work, or binging on back-to-back games at home, we know just how maddening it can get. It consumes some of us. And we’re not alone.

scoreboardLast year, the 2014 NCAA College Basketball tournament drew in 69.7 million live video streams across all platforms. The men’s Final Four set an all-time attendance record of 158,682 fans. More than 739,00 fans attended the 36 sessions of the tournament. And according to data from Nielsen, an EMC customer, more than 10.5 million people tuned in to watch the games.

But with all this attention focused on the court, few of us ever give consideration to the big assist behind the scenes. Hundreds, possibly thousands of companies come together every year to make possible this one shining moment of college basketball nirvana.

Things like food, transportation or the mega video screens and scoreboards that make the cheap seats not so miserable.  Organizations rely on information technology for success this time of year, including three of our customers. Here’s a look at how these IT innovators help bring March Madness to the masses:


Nielsen, the media measurement giant, relies on an IT infrastructure it built with EMC to speed the delivery and performance of its analytics tools and mobile apps. Nielsen operates in more than 100 countries and supports hundreds of internal applications – primarily in-house analytics.

After 10 years of explosive data growth, a couple of the IT projects have included getting to more than 60 percent of its infrastructure virtualized with VMware and consolidating 37 of their legacy storage systems onto three VMAX enterprise storage systems in three of their data centers. This IT transformation helps Nielsen deliver applications and services faster to its internal departments and has enhanced its suite of measurement solutions.

Without Nielsen’s always-on, highly accurate media measurement capabilities, advertisers could care less about investing their money into TV and Internet broadcasts of the tournament. And without advertisers, the March Madness that we know and love wouldn’t exist.

T2 Systems

This year’s tournament will be played across 14 U.S. cities, including Houston, which will host the South Regional games. With the games comes a lot of traffic, which the city manages with the help of EMC customer T2 Systems.  T2 Systems provides SaaS-based parking management solutions for dozens of major cities and universities like Houston, Florida State University, Iowa City and Boulder. To support these services, T2 Systems processes massive amounts of data traffic through its Oracle database – 62 billion of virtualized Oracle transactions a month and 22TBs of daily backups!

The company improved its Oracle performance, increased its backup efficiency and consolidated data centers with EMC VSPEX and Data Domain. T2 Systems runs smoothly with EMC so it can ensure the smooth flow of crushing traffic into and out of the big games that its clients host during the tournament.


Take a look at almost any indoor scoreboard or display, and chances are Daktronics is behind it. Daktronics is one of the largest suppliers of large format LED video displays and sports scoreboards in the country.  They provide design, manufacturing, installation and servicing of these massive displays.  Daktronics counts on EMC storage solutions to maintain the performance of SaaS solutions that manage their displays.

If a Daktronics customer buys a digital scoreboard, EMC helps deliver the solutions that monitor and troubleshoot their systems and update their content.  Thanks to Daktronics, players, coaches, fans and sports reporters will always know the score (literally).

So whether you’re at a game this week, watching at home or streaming video on the go, take a moment to look off the court and think about all the technology that goes into bringing us March Madness. And know that the companies that play an important role, trust EMC to help make it happen.

About the Author: Dell Technologies