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Cisco: Cloud traffic to quadruple by 2019

The fifth annual Cisco Global Cloud Index forecasts that global cloud traffic will more than quadruple by the end of 2019, from 2.1 to 8.6 zettabytes (ZB), outpacing the growth of total global data centre traffic, which is forecast to triple during the same time frame (from 3.4 to 10.4 ZB).

Several factors are driving cloud traffic’s accelerating growth and the transition to cloud services, including the personal cloud demands of an increasing number of mobile devices; the rapid growth in popularity of public cloud services for business, and the increased degree of virtualisation in private clouds which is increasing the density of those workloads. The growth of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections also has the potential to drive more cloud traffic in the future.

“The Global Cloud Index highlights the fact that cloud is moving well beyond a regional trend to becoming a mainstream solution globally, with cloud traffic expected to grow more than 30 per cent in every worldwide region over the next five years,” said Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing, Cisco. “Enterprise and government organizations are moving from test cloud environments to trusting clouds with their mission-critical workloads. At the same time, consumers continue to expect on-demand, anytime access to their content and services nearly everywhere. This creates a tremendous opportunity for cloud operators, which will play an increasingly relevant role in the communications industry ecosystem.”

In addition to the rapid growth of cloud traffic, Cisco predicts that the Internet of Everything (IoE)—the connection of people, processes, data and things—could have a significant impact on data center and cloud traffic growth. A broad range of IoE applications are generating large volumes of data that could reach 507.5 ZB per year (42.3 ZB per month) by 2019. That’s 49 times greater than the projected data center traffic for 2019 (10.4 ZB). Today, only a small portion of this content is stored in data centers, but that could change as the application demand and uses of big data analytics evolves (i.e., analyzing collected data to make tactical and strategic decisions).

Today, 73 per cent of data stored on client devices resides on PCs. By 2019, the majority of stored data (51 per cent) will move to non-PC devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, M2M modules, et al.). With the volume of stored data increasing, Cisco predicts a greater demand and use for consumer cloud storage. By 2019, 55 per cent of the residential Internet population will use personal cloud storage (up from 42 per cent in 2014). As an example, the forecast estimates that by 2017, global smartphone traffic (201 EB per year) will exceed the amount of data stored (179 EB per year) on those devices – necessitating the need for greater storage capabilities via the cloud.

Global Cloud Index Forecasted Highlights and Projections with Unit Measurement:

  • Cloud traffic, a subset of data center traffic, is generated by cloud services accessible through the Internet from scalable, virtualised cloud data centres, whereas total data centre traffic is comprised of all traffic traversing within and between data centers as well as to end users.
  • Annual global data center IP traffic is projected to reach 10.4 ZB by the end of 2019, up from 3.4 ZB per year in 2014.
  • Annual global cloud traffic is projected to quadruple, reaching 8.6 ZB (719 EB per month) by the end of 2019, up from 2.1 ZB per year (176 EB per month) in 2014, and is expected to account for more than four-fifths (83 per cent) of total data centre traffic by 2019.
  • New technologies such as SDN and NFV are expected to streamline data centre traffic flows such that the traffic volumes reaching the highest tier (core) of the data centre may fall below 10.4 ZB per year and lower data center tiers could carry over 40 ZB of traffic per year.
  • By region, North America will have the highest cloud traffic volume (3.6 ZB) by 2019; followed by Asia Pacific (2.3 ZB) and Western Europe (1.5 ZB).
  • By region, North America will also have the highest data centre traffic volume (4.5 ZB) by 2019; followed by Asia Pacific (2.7 ZB) and Western Europe (1.8 ZB).

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