March Madness: Bringing cloud-based automation to a whole new level of play

The cloud is helping a sports management firm to up its game in real-time deployment of tournament brackets, scores, and standings

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The cloud is seeping into virtually every application, in every industry of every size, because of its ability to enable constant application improvements, flexible cost structure, minimal IT resource support and always-on availability.

Because of these benefits, and little downside, the challenge for application developers modernizing legacy apps isn’t a question of whether to transition to cloud-based apps, but which platform to use in building customized cloud-based solutions.

Leveling the playing field

As smart, cloud-based solutions continue to gain traction in the marketplace, Cloud Solution Providers are leveraging platforms, such as Microsoft Azure, to more quickly build innovative solutions that become critical components of customers’ IT strategies.

As an example of this, Wovenware developed a smart app for a Puerto Rico-based sports management firm, Sports Alternative. This app levels the playing field for even the youngest of athletes, and gives them access to the same real-time tournament standings and scores that the big leagues have become accustomed to.

Tackling the madness of tournament brackets

We’ve all seen it this time of year in college basketball -- so many brackets and so many scores to keep track of -- making it a numerical nightmare.

While it may not be the same level of play as the teams competing in March Madness, companies like Sports Alternative are facing the same challenges. The sports management firm was able to overcome these challenges and easily scale to demand using a custom-designed cloud-based solution built upon the Microsoft Azure platform.

The new system, Eventiu, automates the management of basketball and volleyball tournaments by calculating and assigning team brackets and also automates the process for advancing to new rounds of play. Originally deployed in Amazon Web Services, Eventiu was moved to the Azure platform to take advantage of its Open Source offerings and automatic scaling technologies, which were crucial to the success of the program.

This wasn’t the first system that Sports Alternative deployed to manage the rounds of tournament play. The original application, which was not cloud-based, nor built to scale, was unable to handle the volume of activity that was required. To address these issues, Wovenware developed a secure web application leveraging the Microsoft Azure platform. It featured updated open source technology and an infrastructure with a decoupled front-end and back-end, which allows scalability and external tools integration. In addition to tracking team standings and brackets, this solution also enables users to schedule courts and fields to maximize recreational facilities throughout communities.

With the new cloud-based solution, application response time has been improved by up to 50% from its original on-premise performance. In the future, Sports Alternative plans on building into Eventiu, new smart capabilities, such as chatbots, to answer fans’ and participants’ questions regarding scores, winning teams and rankings -- and thanks to Microsoft Azure -- that can be easily accomplished.

And the MVP award goes to Microsoft Azure

Through our application modernization initiatives we’re finding that Microsoft Azure opens up huge possibilities that enable deep, robust solutions that can be easily deployed and fit the needs of all companies. Full disclosure: my company, Wovenware, is a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, but the fact of the matter is, we chose to deploy this technology not only because of its robust capabilities, but also because Open Source is really democratizing the cloud.

As more and more companies continue on their cloud journeys, open source platforms, such as Microsoft Azure, are providing a resilient public cloud infrastructure. They offer greater mobile and website reliability and the ability to quickly capitalize on automation trends -- more easily, reliably and affordably than ever before -- a slam dunk for software engineers and companies alike.

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