Measuring and exploiting the cloud consolidation of the Web

Debopam Bhattacherjee, Muhammad Tirmazi, Ankit Singla

We present measurements showing that the top one million most popular Web domains are reachable within 13ms (in the median) from a collective of just 12 cloud data centers. We explore the consequences of this Web "consolidation", focusing on its potential for speeding up the evolution of the Web. That most popular services reside in or near a small number of data centers implies that new application and transport technologies can be rapidly deployed for these Web services, without the involvement of their operators. We show how this may be achieved by orchestrating a handful of reverse proxies deployed in the same data centers, with new technologies deployed at these proxies being nearly as effective as deploying them directly to the Web servers. We present early measurements of this approach, demonstrating a >50% reduction in Web page load times for users with high latencies to Web servers. We also show that this model, using a small number of proxies, can be surprisingly competitive with extensive CDN deployments, especially in geographies with high last-mile latencies.

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