Akamai – visualizing Web traffic data
[05 Mar 2009]
Akamai is an Internet services company. They can tell us some very interesting things about what people do on the Web. From their blurb:
If you use the Internet for anything – to download music or software, check the headlines, book a flight – you’ve probably used Akamai’s services without even knowing it.
This is no small company:
Akamai handles 20% of the world’s total Web traffic, providing a unique view into what’s happening on the Web – what events are generating traffic, how much, from where, and why. [You can] get a feel for the world’s online behavior at any given moment – how much rich media is on the move, the sheer volume of data in play, the number and concentration of worldwide visitors, and average connection speeds worldwide.
Let’s have a look at some of their data.
The 24-hour peak today on Akamai servers was 74 million visits per minute.
The following continually updating charts show what people are doing and looking at in various countries.
At the time I visited Akamai and took these screen shots, Europe (and to a lesser extent the east coast of the USA, Japan and China) showed higher than normal Web traffic. (It was around lunch time in Europe when I collected this data).
Here are the attacks on the system that were happening when I visited. China, Eastern Europe and Chile had the most problems.
Is your Internet Slow?
“Latency” is the term used to mean a slow network. The following image shows where there were bottlenecks when I visited – in Chicago, New York, California and Europe.
Akamai host several online music companies (including CHUM Interactive, Clear Channel, Napster, Premiere Radio Networks, Rediff.com, and XM Satellite Radio). This gives a pretty good overview on how much music is being listened to at any one time. Today, the peak for music visitors was around 1/2 million visitors per minute.
Any other Math?
Apart from the pretty visualizations of statistics, what mathematics is involved? According to the site:
Akamai built the world’s largest distributed computing platform – the Akamai EdgePlatform — using applied mathematics and algorithms to solve congestion and vulnerability problems on the Internet. It is a network of 40,000 secure servers equipped with specialized software and deployed in 70 countries.
Akamai is an interesting site. It reveals a lot of interesting “real life” data about Web use and presents it in an appealing way and is certainly worth a visit. That link again: