Henrico Data Autobahn

Extraordinary advancements in Internet infrastructure in Henrico, Virginia

UNPRECEDENTED TIMES

If there is one thing that we have learned to embrace during this pandemic, as we continue to witness unprecedented times, it’s our dependency on data. We have never been so dependent on data, and all previous levels of data creation and consumption have been surpassed.

According to Statista.com, over the next three years (up to 2025), global data creation is projected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes (1 zettabyte = 1 billion terabytes; 1 terabyte = 1,000 gigabytes). In 2020, the amount of data created and replicated reached a new high of 64.2 zettabytes.

This data growth was higher than previously expected due to the increased demand from the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people worked and learned from home and used home entertainment options (over the Internet) more often. The socio-economic impact of the pandemic has been felt across all facets of life and all geographies. Work from home, school from home, telemedicine, social celebrations, and so many more things we never did electronically as the norm two years ago, have all become a much more common way of life.

Many companies are continuing to have employees work from home permanently, as they noticed an increase in productivity levels and employee morale. Many that aren’t fully distributed are inclining towards hybrid working models. The business world as we knew it, will never be the same.

VINAY NAGPAL, ANTHONY ROMANELLO, CLINT HEIDEN, IVO IVANOV

If you are not a company that accommodates and works with data, you are not a company. In order to survive—regardless of your type of business—you need to be data-savvy, have an online presence, and digitize your processes and systems. This online presence and digitalization can be of varied magnitude depending on the nature of your business.

The pandemic has subsequently been a catalyst for the growth of the digital infrastructure industry (including its sub-sectors like data centers and subsea cables), and it has expedited organizations’ plans for digitalization and “cloudification.” More and more businesses are moving their corporate functions (and associated workloads) to the cloud.

WHY LOCATION MATTERS

The digital infrastructure growth has likewise led to economic growth in regions where digital infrastructure is located. One such region is Henrico, Virginia, in the U.S. Henrico has enjoyed the benefits of its strategic location at the midway point between the subsea cable landings in the Hampton Roads region and Loudoun County, which is the data center capital of the world.

Due to the strategic location of Henrico, many terrestrial fiber providers colocate their fiber amplification equipment in the region. This makes the region a stronger point for both the North-South and East-West long-haul fiber installation projects. These geographic benefits also led the industry to form a Network Access Point (NAP) inside of the QTS Data Center campus in Henrico.

As the industry’s first and only NAP in the central region of the US Eastern Seaboard, the NAP in Henrico has grown to include new network access carriers, content distribution networks, diverse dark fiber routes, conduit infrastructure, subsea cables, and a global Internet Exchange.  The value proposition of an Internet Exchange is that it enables a seamless exchange of Internet traffic (similar to an airport) between multiple networks. The neutrality of an Internet Exchange is vital, as it spans multiple data centers and multiple network carriers.

Henrico today offers virtually unlimited data capacity, at unlimited speed, to connect local businesses to anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye. For instance, its interconnection platform developed with DE-CIX provides an instant connection to over 3,000 networks and 500 data centers in 23 countries. In one-third of a second, data can travel from Henrico to Spain and back. In two milliseconds, local businesses can send their data to 80 percent of the US population.

This unique and revolutionary interconnection ecosystem means a host of benefits, including increased reliability, flexibility, and adaptability, as well as both maximal uptime and lower operational costs—all at unimaginable speeds. Henrico is one of the few places in the world that offers this kind of open access to a “Data Autobahn.” Such a robust interconnection ecosystem in Henrico has led to the economic development of the region.

THE NEXT DECADE OF GROWTH

As self-driving cars, Internet-enabled refrigerators, drone deliveries, smart homes, and other tech-driven tools and products become standard, the amount of data will continue to grow exponentially. The Henrico Data Autobahn offers future-proofing of digital infrastructure when it comes to a combination of the world’s fourth-largest data center, the world’s largest data center- and carrier- neutral Internet Exchange platform, and the world’s fastest speed subsea cables. This combination of services and connection points is second-to-none, and that when businesses select Henrico to be their home, they can take advantage of the world-class digital infrastructure to serve their business needs—today and tomorrow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vinay Nagpal

Vinay Nagpal has been leading the development of digital infrastructure solutions on a global scale for over 28 years. As the president of InterGlobix and a former executive with Digital Realty, DuPont Fabros Technology, TATA Communications, Verizon Business, UUNET, CanWest Global Communications, and Intrinsyc Software, he has led global initiatives focused on the convergence of data centers, subsea fiber, and terrestrial fiber.

Nagpal is part of leadership and advisory teams for the Internet Ecosystem Innovation Committee (IEIC), the QTS Richmond NAP, Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), Total Telecom Submarine Networks EMEA, DE-CIX, RTI Cables, SMU M.S. in Datacenter Systems Engineering, SubOptic, PTC and previously GPX India, LINX NoVA, and the Open-IX Association.

Anthony Romanello

Anthony Romanello became Executive Director of the Henrico Economic Development Authority in March 2019. For more than 29 years, he has served local governments in Virginia to ensure a positive environment for businesses and residents.

Clint Heiden

Clint Heiden is an industry veteran and Internet pioneer with more than three decades of executive leadership experience in the data center, telecommunications, and Internet technology industries. Heiden is currently the Chief Revenue Officer of QTS Data Centers and the Founder of IEIC. Previously, Heiden has held senior leadership roles in companies like Cable & Wireless America, Exodus, Digital Island, Qwest, MCI, Intellifiber Networks, PAETEC, Sidera, Lightower, and UUNET.

Ivo Ivanov

Ivo Ivanov is Chief Executive Officer of DE-CIX and Chairman of the Board of the DE-CIX Group AG. Prior to these positions, Ivanov was Chief Operating Officer of DE-CIX and Chief Executive Officer of DE-CIX International, where he was responsible for the global business activities of the world’s leading Internet Exchange operator. Ivanov has more than 20 years of experience in the regulatory, legal, and commercial Internet environment. Having joined DE- CIX in 2007, he has in recent years been deeply involved in the establishment of DE-CIX sites in North America, Southern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, as well as several DE-CIX consultancy projects in Africa, Asia, and Europe.