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Franciscan Friary,
St. Francis Str. 1,



Date: 06.5.2005
Source: Custody of the Holy Land

The recent death of the Holy Father John Paul II and the election of his successor Benedict XVI have had a big impact on the internet all around the world. According to Zenit.org (LINK), internet traffic has been very high for the Vatican website during most of the past month of April. The same has been true for most catholic websites. Christusrex.org, our web space provider for almost a decade, had a strong month too. According to Alexa.com, which permormed the statistical analysis shown here (LINK), Christusrex.org ranked 12416, among the millions existing websites, on April 5th. Following is an interesting string of mail which I had with Michael Olteanu, the founder and manager of Christusrex.org, about this subject. It appears that we might count on something like 5 millions different users!


Date: Wed, 4 May 2005 11:47:22 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Father Eugenio,
I just published the statistics for the month of April 2005 (LINK). Due to the exceptional events in the Vatican, the access numbers are the highest we have ever seen:
- 18.5 millions of file hits,
- 442 Gbytes of data transferred
- 1,064,000 unique client machine addresses. As far as judging our success, this is the most important number, over a million unique users. Please keep in mind that this number is usually multiplied by 4, due to the fact that the vast majority of the Internet users are still using some form of dial up , with the same pool of IP addresses being used multiple times by different users (they are dynamically assigned a new address from their Internet Service Provider's pool of IP addresses every time they dial in). In the old days we used to multiply this number by 7, not we use a factor of 4.

This means that approximately 4 million different people accessed our machines. Great, this is the good news!

Now for the bad news. I kept monitoring each server and they have been doing well even at a peak of 81 HTTP requests per second. The router has been doing well as well.
The T1 line has been running for extended periods of time in the 97-100% utilization range and on several occasions it has been a bottleneck, impacting the user response time. No wonder that I received complaints about the "servers being too slow" for the first time in many years.
We'll keep monitoring the line utilization and I fully expect it to gradually go down to lower numbers. If the situation persists, we have a capacity problem that needs be addressed in the next few months.
As Mother Theresa used to say: "Tutto quello che facciamo non è che una goccia nell'oceano, però se non lo facciamo, quella goccia mancherà per sempre!" [We sometimes feel that what we do is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. LINK]

May God have mercy on us all!

Thu, 5 May 2005 07:35:45 +0200 (CEST)

About the number of the users, do we not have to take into account the function performed by caches of local servers too?

Thu, 5 May 2005 10:41:57 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Father Eugenio,
You are right, all local servers offer some kind of local caching. Depending on the amount of Internet traffic and the amount of memory allocated to cache, the average persistence of the cached pages varies between several seconds and several days. They probably take care of about 10% of the total traffic (comparable to the way caching works on our own servers, a shown on the very last line for SERVUS statistics on the separate SERVUS page).
There is another facility called NAT (Network Address Translation) used on all enterprise firewall machines, which protects the enterprise by not advertising the real IP addresses of the enterprise machines, but translates them into another (class C) address range. The way the bogus addresses are assigned is similar to the way Internet Service Providers assign addresses to dial up machines out of a pool, therefore the same bogus address (which is the address our server sees) is assigned to multiple people over a period of a month (our reporting period).
Between the local cache and the NAT, I would conservatively add another million users, so the total is at least 5 million different users.

Thank you!

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Created/Updated Friday, 22 Aprile, 2005 at 7:46:35 am by J. Abela, E.Alliata,Marina Mordin
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