The U.S. Census Bureau counts every resident in the United States every ten years as mandated by the Constitution. On January 4, 2010, at The Today Show, the U.S. Census Bureau’ Once-A-Decade Ceremony launched from New York City’s Rockefeller Center, and featured an 18-wheeler truck to kick off their cross-country road tour. With the media attention, and a media rich site targeted towards 300 million people, Census expected a significant increase in traffic on the 2010 site. Census also released their TV Commercial during the Super Bowl that was expected to drive Internet traffic towards the site. Census was faced with the decision of building out their own infrastructure to support unknown traffic levels, or leveraging a cloud services provider, such as Akamai, to provide scalability for Internet traffic spikes, significant offload, cloud security and web performance benefits.
The Census Bureau leveraged Akamai’s cloud services to handle their traffic spikes during the Census 2010 campaign. While providing on-demand scalability to handle the surge in Internet traffic, Akamai also provided significant web performance improvements and offloaded over 95% of the hits from the Census Data Center.
The following highlights the Akamai cloud services leveraged by the Census:
“For our new website, we went to the cloud,” McGrath says. “We went with an infrastructure-as- a-service solution, and what a great experience that was. We contracted with Akamai to use their CDN…At the peak of our usage, we were servicing somewhere around 85% of our content from the edge, and it was not even coming back to our infrastructure.” McGrath said using the Akamai content delivery network provided a better-quality web experience to citizens for less money than building their own network. Akamai also provided a barrier against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.