PUBLISH DATE: 22nd MARCH 2022
Founding Member & Executive Director, IEIC
Chairman, NVTV Data Center & Cloud Community
Executive Director, Henrico EDA
Founding Member, IEIC
Chief Revenue Officer, QTS Data Centers
Chief Executive Officer, DE-CIX International
Founding Member, IEIC
As we continue to witness unprecedented times if there is one thing that we have learned to embrace during this pandemic is our dependency on DATA. As a society and as a civilization we have never been so dependent on data in history, and all previous levels of data creation and data consumption have been surpassed. The chart below shows the amount of data growth from 2010 to 2025:
Amount of data created, consumed, and stored 2010-2025 (Source: Statista.com)
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.
The growth was higher than previously expected caused by the increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people worked and learned from home and used home entertainment options more often. The socio-economic impact of the pandemic has been felt across geographies. Work from Home, School from Home, Telemedicine, Online Birthday and Anniversary Celebrations, and so many more things we never did electronically two years ago—have all become a way of life.
Many companies are continuing to have employees Work from Home permanently as they have noticed an increase in productivity levels and employee morale during the pandemic. Many are inclining towards Hybrid models. The business world as we knew it (before the pandemic), will never be the same. In business world if you are not a data company today, you are not a company. In order to survive—regardless of the type of business—you need to be data-savvy, have an online presence, and digitalize your processes and systems. This online ‘presence’ and digitalization can be of varied magnitude depending on the nature of our business.
The pandemic has been a catalyst for the growth of the digital infrastructure industry, 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. This has led to unprecedented growth in the underlying sub-sectors of the digital infrastructure be it - data centers, subsea cables, terrestrial fiber, or Internet Exchange Points.
WHY LOCATION MATTERS?
The growth in digital infrastructure has led to economic growth in regions where the digital infrastructure is located. One such region that has experienced unprecedented growth is Henrico Virginia. Henrico has enjoyed the benefits of its strategic location. It is located at the mid-way 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, you will find many terrestrial fiber providers colocate their fiber amplification equipment in the region. This makes the region a stronger point for the North-South and East-West long-haul fiber installation projects. It is this strategic location that also led the industry to form a ‘Network Access Point or NAP’ inside of the QTS Data Center in Henrico Virginia.
As the industry's first and only NAP in the central region of the U.S. Seaboard, an International Interconnection and Peering Point in Henrico, the NAP has grown significantly and rapidly over since its formation in 2019. This growth includes new network access carriers, content distribution networks (CDNs), diverse dark fiber routes, additional conduit infrastructure, new subsea cables, and a new Internet Exchange.
SUBSEA CABLES & INTERNET EXCHANGE
The unique and extremely impactful building blocks on an Interconnection Ecosystem are subsea cables and a ‘neutral’ Internet Exchange. While the subsea cables enable the data to travel across countries and continents (underneath the oceans of the world), a ‘neutral’ Internet Exchange enables a seamless exchange of traffic (similar to an airport) between multiple networks. The neutrality of an Internet Exchange is vital as it spans across multiple data centers, multiple data center providers, and multiple network carriers.
The Internet Exchange platform recently deployed in Henrico is the global Interconnection platform DE-CIX. Henrico’s new partnership with DE-CIX provides an instant connection with the leading internet exchange operator’s more than 2,400 networks and 500 data centers in 14 countries around the world. In one-third of a second—the time of a single blink of an eye—data can travel from Henrico to Spain and back. In 2 milliseconds—the time of two flashes of a camera—local businesses can send their data to 80% of the U.S. population.
HENRICO DATA AUTOBAHN
Henrico Virginia today offers virtually unlimited data capacity, at unlimited speed, connecting local businesses to anywhere in the world, at the blink of an eye (or even faster). This has been possible in Henrico with decades of underlying foundational work already put in by the digital infrastructure industry.
It all started in 1994 when the county invested $45M in the White Oak Technology Park (WOTP) infrastructure. Since then, several industrial projects have developed in WOTP one of which was the Qimonda semi-conductor chip manufacturing plant, which was once partially owned by Motorola. In 2010 when a data center company, QTS Data Centers purchased the semi-conductor plant and invested over $500M over the next several years. Over the last decade+, Henrico has built a world-class robust Internet infrastructure comprising of data centers, subsea cables, Internet Exchange Point, terrestrial fiber companies, and other networking companies forming a robust, scalable, and formidable interconnection ecosystem in the region. This significant and generations-impacting development has been possible due to a strong public-private partnership.
The robust interconnection ecosystem in Henrico has led to the economic development of the region. This unique and revolutionary interconnection ecosystem means a host of benefits, including increased reliability, flexibility, and adaptability, maximal uptime, and lower operational costs—and all at unimaginable speeds. Henrico is the only place in the world that offers this kind of open access to a ‘Data Autobahn’
THE NEXT DECADE
As self-driving cars, Internet-enabled refrigerators, drone deliveries, smart homes, smart cities etc. etc. become a way of life, the amount of data created will continue to grow exponentially. The ‘Henrico Data Autobahn’ offers that future-proofing of digital infrastructure when it comes to a combination of the world’s fourth-largest data center (with a sprawling campus), the world’s largest data center- and carrier- neutral Internet Exchange platform, and the world’s fastest speed subsea cables connecting Henrico to five continents. This combination is second-to-none, and we hope that when you call Henrico home to your business, you can take advantage of this world-class digital infrastructure that is here for you, to serve your business needs—today and tomorrow.