Cloud traffic to dominate data centres: Cisco study

  • Cloud traffic will represent more than two-thirds of global data centre traffic by 2017; fourfold growth from 2012 to 2017
  • In Asia Pacific, data centre traffic will reach 228 exabytes per month in 2017, compared with 64 exabytes in 2012

Cloud traffic to dominate data centres: Cisco studyIN the third annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (2012-2017) issued recently, Cisco forecasts that global cloud traffic, the fastest growing component of data centre traffic, is expected to grow more than fourfold – a 35% combined annual growth rate (CAGR) – from 1.2 zettabytes of annual traffic in 2012 to 5.3 zettabytes by 2017.
 
Overall global data centre traffic will grow threefold and reach a total of 7.7 zettabytes annually by 2017, Cisco said in a statement.
 
(Note: 1024 megabytes = 1 gigabyte; 1024 gigabytes = 1 terabyte; 1024 terabytes = 1 petabyte; 1024 petabytes = 1 exabyte; 1024 exabytes = 1 zettabyte; 1024 zettabytes = 1 yottabyte; 1024 yottabytes = 1 brontobyte; 1024 brontobytes = 1 geopbyte).
 
A zettabyte is one billion terabytes. For context, 7.7 zettabytes is equivalent to:

  • 107 trillion hours of streaming music – about 1.5 years of continuous music streaming for the world's population in 2017;
  • 19 trillion hours of business web conferencing – about 14 hours of daily web conferencing for the world's workforce in 2017; and
  • 8 trillion hours of online high-definition (HD) video streaming – about 2.5 hours of daily streamed HD video for the world's population in 2017.

Approximately 17% of data centre traffic will be fuelled by end users accessing clouds for web surfing, video streaming, collaboration and connected devices, all of which contribute to the Internet of Everything, which is the networked connection of people, data, process and things, Cisco said.

Key findings:

  • In Asia Pacific, data centre traffic will reach 228 exabytes per month in 2017 (in 2012 it was 64 exabytes per month).
    • Of this, business data centre traffic will reach 577 exabytes per year (48 exabytes per month) in 2017
    • Consumer cloud traffic will reach 1.5 zettabytes per year (124 exabytes per month) in 2017
    • Dramatic increase in business cloud use: Business cloud traffic is predicted to reach 385 exabytes per year (32 exabytes per month) in 2017. In 2012, the business cloud traffic was 83 exabytes per year (6.9 exabytes per month) in 2012.
  • Cloud traffic growth by region: The Middle East and Africa will have the highest cloud traffic growth rate from 2012 to 2017.

From a regional perspective, the Cisco Global Cloud Index predicts that through 2017, the Middle East and Africa will have the highest cloud traffic growth rate (57% CAGR), followed by Asia Pacific (43% CAGR) and Central and Eastern Europe (36% CAGR).
 
Cloud traffic to dominate data centres: Cisco study“In Malaysia, the proliferation of networked devices like tablets and smartphones as well as the business take-up of cloud computing has resulted in an exponential rise in data volume and traffic,” said Irving Tan (pic), vice president for Asean at Cisco.
 
According to Forrester, cloud investment in Malaysia is expected to reach RM2.8 billion by 2020, while 34% of organisations in Malaysia stated that cloud computing is their No 1 priority in the current fiscal year with one-third of organisations in Malaysia already using some form of cloud computing (IDC: State of Cloud Computing in Malaysia).
 
“This, complemented by government support and initiatives such as the MSC Malaysia Cloud Computing Initiative, is set to fuel continuous growth in cloud adoption by enterprises and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) alike,” said Tan.
 
“Amidst the positive trends, this signals an immediate need for business leaders to take a few steps ahead and invest in an intelligent network strategy from planning and building to managing their cloud environment.
 
“This is to ensure that their infrastructure and data centres are able to cope with the escalating traffic and help their organisations improve productivity, profitability and competitive,” he added.
 
Cloud Index overview
 
The Cisco Global Cloud Index (2012–2017) was developed to estimate global for data centre and cloud-based Internet Protocol (IP) traffic growth and trends. It serves as a complementary resource to existing network traffic studies, providing new insights and visibility into emerging trends affecting data centres and cloud architectures, Cisco said.
 
The forecast becomes increasingly important as the network and data centre become more intrinsically linked in offering cloud services, the company added.
 
The Cisco Global Cloud Index includes a ‘workload transition’ forecast, which shows the workload shift from moving from traditional data centres to more virtualised cloud servers; and also includes a supplement on Cloud Readiness Regional Details, which examines the fixed and mobile network abilities of each global region (from nearly 150 countries) to support business and consumer cloud-computing applications and services.
 
The Cisco Global Cloud Index is generated by modelling and analysis of various primary and secondary sources, including 40 terabytes of monthly traffic sampled from a variety of global data centres over the past year, results from more than 90 million network tests, and third-party market research reports.
 
For the period 2012–2017, Cisco forecasts that 7% of data centre traffic will be generated between data centres, primarily driven by data replication and software/ system updates.
 
An additional 76% of data centre traffic will stay within the data centre and will be largely generated by storage, production and development data in a virtualised environment.
 
Related Stories:
 
Has the cloud finally 'arrived' in Malaysia?
 
Cloud traffic to grow sixfold by 2016: Cisco
 
The Net: 4 times as large in 4yrs
 
Working on the next-gen Internet
 
 
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