[SIGCIS-Members] Internet traffic in northern Virginia

Thomas Haigh thomas.haigh at gmail.com
Wed Oct 16 01:31:17 PDT 2019


I wonder if the WP article Paul mentions was blurring together two claims carefully kept in separate paragraphs in the document Brian quotes. 

 

The document says that (1) Loudoun country has more data centers than any other country and (2) 70% of worldwide traffic “passes through its internet infrastructure.” Whereas the WP story talks of “a cluster of computer data centers that handles 70 percent of the world’s Internet traffic,” ignoring the vagueness of “internet infrastructure.”

 

Perhaps the traffic is passing through other internet infrastructure concentrated in the area, a legacy of the old MAE East internet exchange, rather than truly being “handled” by the data centers.

 

Even so, 70% seems dubiously high for 2019. There are approaching a billion internet users in China alone, close to a third of the world’s total, and I doubt their traffic is being routed through Virginia. So does Loudoun Country handle 100% of the non-Chinese traffic? Or are some internet users in the DC area, most obviously the NSA, using enough bandwidth to each outweigh hundreds of millions of Chinese smartphone users?

 

Reminds me of the NY Times article this morning on another dubious but widely repeated statistic: 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong bra size. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/10/style/lingerie-are-8-out-of-10-women-really-wearing-the-wrong-bra-size-a-bra-myth-busted.html Which they report with the tag “myth busted.”

 

Tom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From: Members <members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org> On Behalf Of Brian Berg
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 5:55 PM
To: SIGCIS Listserver <members at sigcis.org>
Cc: Ceruzzi, Paul <CeruzziP at si.edu>
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] Internet traffic in northern Virginia

 

I conferred with Jen Snow <jensnow47 at gmail.com <mailto:jensnow47 at gmail.com> > of SOFWERX <https://www.sofwerx.org/>  on this question.  She confirmed this number, and even said that it is growing.  She pointed me to this site:

  https://biz.loudoun.gov/key-business-sectors/data-centers/ 

for a little perspective on this:

 

Loudoun County’s “Data Center Alley” is the world’s largest concentration of data centers, with nearly 13.5 million square feet currently in operation and another 4.5 million square feet being planned or developed.

More than 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic passes through Loudoun’s digital infrastructure, making us a key player in the world’s technology economy. Read more about data centers’ impact in the  <http://www.nvtc.org/documents/advocacy/NVTC__DataCenter_Report_011316_final_lowres.pdf> Data Center Study.

_________________________

Brian A. Berg / bberg at StanfordAlumni.org <mailto:bberg at StanfordAlumni.org> 
Berg Software Design
14500 Big Basin Way, Suite F, Saratoga, CA 95070 USA
Voice: 408.741.5010 / Cell: 408.568.2505
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visit the Storage Cornucopia: www.bswd.com <http://www.bswd.com> 

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IEEE Milestone <http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/Milestones:List_of_IEEE_Milestones>  Coordinator and History Chair for  <http://www.ieee-region6.org/> Region 6

IEEE SCV Section <http://www.ieee.org/scv/>  Past Chair / IEEE-CNSV <http://www.CaliforniaConsultants.org>  Board Director

IEEE  <http://www.SiliconValleyHistory.com/> Silicon Valley Tech History Committee Chair

  <https://docs.google.com/uc?id=0BziWcipiMNJkZV9CdXg2YjJhQUk&export=download> 

 

On Tue, Oct 15, 2019 at 10:19 AM James Cortada <jcortada at umn.edu <mailto:jcortada at umn.edu> > wrote:

I don't believe the number; I have seen too many really big data centers to assure you Loudon County doesn't have enough lang mass unless they are hiding servers under the streets.  Jim

 

On Tue, Oct 15, 2019 at 9:38 AM Ceruzzi, Paul <CeruzziP at si.edu <mailto:CeruzziP at si.edu> > wrote:

An article in yesterday’s Washington Post (by Antonio Olivo, Metro Section, Oct. 13, 2019), is about the changing racial and ethnic demographics of Loudoun County, Virginia, once a sleepy southern farming area, little changed for a century. It is now a diverse, IT- and Defense-oriented exurb of DC. The article mentions in passing that “70% of the world’s Internet Traffic passes through” Loudoun County data centers.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/in-fast-growing-va-suburb-state-and-national-issues-echo-in-local-election/2019/10/11/54b6f3e0-e9d2-11e9-9306-47cb0324fd44_story.html

 

Is this possible? On what sources did the reporter base that information? I’ve driven by the “cloud servers” in Ashburn, Virginia, and they are impressive. But still?

 

Paul Ceruzzi

Curator Emeritus, Department of Space History

National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian Institution

Washington, DC 20013-7012

202-633-2414

 

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James W. Cortada

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Charles Babbage Institute

University of Minnesota

jcortada at umn.edu <mailto:jcortada at umn.edu> 

608-274-6382

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