Cloud traffic to grow sixfold by 2016: Cisco

  • Data center traffic to grow fourfold and reach 6.6 zettabytes annually by 2016
  • Asia Pacific to process the most cloud workloads by 2016

NETWORKING specialist Cisco forecasts global data center traffic to grow fourfold and reach a total of 6.6 zettabytes annually by 2016, according to the second annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (2011-2016) issued recently.
 
The company also predicts global cloud traffic, the fastest-growing component of data center traffic, to grow sixfold – a 44% combined annual growth rate (CAGR) – from 683 exabytes of annual traffic in 2011 to 4.3 zettabytes by 2016, it said in a statement.
 
For context, 6.6 zettabytes is equivalent to:

  • 92 trillion hours of streaming music – Equivalent to about 1.5 years of continuous music streaming for the world's population in 2016.
  • 16 trillion hours of business Web conferencing – Equivalent to about 12 hours of daily Web conferencing for the world's workforce in 2016.
  • 7 trillion hours of online high-definition (HD) video streaming – Equivalent to about 2.5 hours of daily streamed HD video for the world's population in 2016.

The vast majority of the data center traffic is not caused by end-users but by data centers and cloud-computing workloads used in activities that are virtually invisible to individuals, Cisco said.
 
For the period 2011-2016, Cisco forecasts that roughly 76% of data center traffic will stay within the data center and will be largely generated by storage, production and development data. An additional 7% of data center traffic will be generated between data centers, primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates.
 
Cloud traffic to grow sixfold by 2016: CiscoThe remaining 17% of data center traffic will be fueled by end-users accessing clouds for Web surfing, emailing and video streaming.
 
From a regional perspective, the Cisco Global Cloud Index predicts that through 2016, the Middle East and Africa will have the highest cloud traffic growth rate, while the Asia Pacific region will process the most cloud workloads, followed by North America.
 
“Today, the cloud is no longer just the domain of large multinationals with deep pockets,” said Yuri Wahab (pic), Cisco’s managing director for Malaysia, adding that Cisco has seen an "improved level of cloud understanding and maturity among organizations in Malaysia, including SMEs (small and medium enterprises).
 
“Complemented by national initiatives aimed at spurring the development of local cloud ecosystem, we believe Malaysia will progressively step up in embracing the cloud economy,” he said.
 
The Cisco Global Cloud Index (2011-2016) was developed to estimate global data center and cloud-based Internet Protocol (IP) traffic growth and trends, Cisco said, adding that it serves as a complementary resource to existing network traffic studies.
 
The forecast becomes increasingly important as networks and data centers become more intrinsically linked in offering cloud services, the company added.
 
“At the core of cloud services is the network,” said Yuri. “Organizations must now consider how dynamic, robust and secure their network in order to cope with the rapid rise of cloud traffic while taking full advantage of the technology.”
 
The Cisco Global Cloud Index includes a ‘workload transition’ forecast, which shows the workload shifting from traditional data centers to more virtualized cloud servers.
 
The Index is generated by modeling and analysis of various primary and secondary sources, including 40 terabytes of traffic data sampled from a variety of global data centers over the past year; results from more than 90 million network tests over the past two years; and third-party market research reports.
 
Key highlights/ findings:

  • In 2011, North America generated the most cloud traffic (261 exabytes annually); followed by Asia Pacific; (216 exabytes annually); and Western Europe (156 exabytes annually).
  • By 2016, Asia Pacific will generate the most cloud traffic (1.5 zettabytes annually); followed by North America (1.1 zettabytes annually); and Western Europe (963 exabytes annually).
  • From 2011 to 2016, Cisco foresees the Middle East and Africa as having the highest cloud traffic growth rate (79%  CAGR); followed by Latin America (66% CAGR); and Central and Eastern Europe (55% CAGR).
  • In 2011, North America had the most cloud workloads (8.1 million, or 38% of the global cloud workloads); followed by Asia Pacific, which had 6.7 million, or 32% of the global workloads in 2011.
  • By 2016, Asia Pacific will process the most cloud workloads (40.6 million, or 36% of the global cloud workloads); followed by North America, which will have 17.4 million, or 26% of the global workloads in 2016.
  • From 2011 to 2016, the Middle East and Africa region is expected to have the highest cloud workload growth rate (73% CAGR); followed by Latin America (60% CAGR); and Central and Eastern Europe (50% CAGR).
  • In North America, traditional data center workloads will actually decline from 2011 to 2016 (from 18.3 million in 2011 to 17.4 million in 2016), falling to a -1% CAGR.
  • Global data center traffic growth will increase fourfold by 2016. Cisco forecasts that global data center traffic will nearly quadruple, from 1.8 zettabytes in 2011 to 6.6 zettabytes annually in 2016, representing a 31% CAGR.
  • Global cloud traffic will account for nearly two-thirds of total global data center traffic. Globally, cloud traffic will grow from 39% (57 exabytes per month and 683 exabytes annually) of total data center traffic in 2011 to 64% (almost two-thirds - 355 exabytes per month and 4.3 zettabytes annually) of total data center traffic in 2016.
  • Global cloud traffic will grow faster than overall global data center traffic. The transition to cloud services is driving global cloud traffic at a growth rate greater than global data center traffic. Global data center traffic will grow fourfold (a 31% CAGR) from 2011 to 2016, while global cloud traffic will grow sixfold (a 44% CAGR) over the same period.
  • Workload transitions: From 2011 to 2016, data center workloads will grow 2.5-fold; cloud workloads will grow 5.3-fold. In 2011, 30% of workloads were processed in the cloud, with 70% being handled in a traditional data center.

 
 

 
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