In its inaugural Global Cloud Index (2010-2015), Cisco estimated global cloud computing traffic will grow 12-fold from 130 exabytes to reach a total of 1.6 zettabytes annually by 2015, a 66 percent compound annual growth rate. One zettabyte is equal to a sextillion bytes or a trillion gigabytes. To put that in perspective, 1.6 zettabytes is approximately equivalent to, 22 trillion hours of streaming music, 5 trillion hours of business Web conferencing with a webcam or 1.6 trillion hours of online high-definition (HD) video streaming.
The cloud is the fastest growing component of data center traffic, which itself will grow 4-fold at a 33 percent CAGR to reach 4.8 zettabytes annually by 2015. Cloud is also estimated today to be 11 percent of data center traffic, growing to more than 33 percent of the total by 2015. Cloud is becoming a critical element for the future of IT and delivery of video and content.
The report said the vast majority of the data center traffic is not caused by users but by the data centers and clouds themselves undertaking activities that are largely non-transparent to users - like backup and replication. By 2015, 76 percent of data center traffic will remain within the data center itself as workloads migrate between various virtual machines and background tasks take place, 17 percent of the total traffic leaves the data center to be delivered to the user, while an additional 7 percent of total traffic is generated between data centers through activities such as cloud-bursting, data replication and updates.
In 2010, 21 percent of workloads were processed in a cloud-based data center with 79 percent being handled in a traditional data center. The report predicts 2014 would be the first year where the balance of workloads shifts toward the cloud for the first time - 51 percent of total workloads will be in a cloud environment versus 49 percent in the traditional IT space. Overall, the data center workload from 2010-2015 is growing 2.7-fold; however, the cloud workload from 2010-2015 is growing more than 7-fold over the forecast period.
"Cloud and data center traffic is exploding, driven by user demand to access volumes of content on the devices of their choice. The result: greater data center virtualization and relevance of the network for cloud applications and the need to make sense of a dynamically evolving situation," said Suraj Shetty, vice president of product and solutions marketing for Cisco. "The Cisco Global Cloud Index provides insight into this traffic growth and trends so that organizations can make strategic long-term decisions. We will continue to develop and release the Cisco Global Cloud Index on a regular and ongoing annual basis, contributing to -cloud readiness' efforts worldwide."
The index is generated from a modeling and analysis of various primary and secondary sources, including more than 30 terabytes of data generated each month over the past year from a variety of data centers around the globe, measurements of more than 45 million broadband-speed tests and third-party market forecasts. The index also includes a "Cloud Readiness" analysis of major geographic regions regarding their networks' abilities to support various types of business and consumer cloud-computing services.