Lofty figures

Cisco: 69% of all workloads will be in the cloud by 2017

Lucy Carey
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The latest Cisco Global Cloud Index claims a 4.5 fold increase in global cloud traffic between 2012 and 2017.

You don’t really need official data to confirm it. Cloud has long passed from being wispy, gossamer thin marketing speak to a solid revolution in how we store and interact with data, services, and platforms. With this in mind, the Cisco Global Cloud Index (GCI) still makes some interesting predictions.

The third annual GCI was first developed to estimate global traffic growth and trends for data centre and cloud-based Internet Protocol (IP). It’s generated by modeling and analysis of  various primary and secondary sources, including 40 terabytes of monthly  traffic sampled from a variety of global data centers over the past year, results from more than 90 million network tests, and third-party market research reports.

Part of the Index is a “workload transition” forecast, which marks the workload transition from traditional data centers to more virtualized cloud servers, as well as a segment on “Cloud Readiness Regional Details”, which examines the fixed and mobile network capabilities of every region (from nearly 150 countries) to support business and consumer cloud-computing applications and services.

2014 is earmarked as the year for when the tipping point will be reached and the bulk of workloads transition to the cloud. Cisco estimates that 51 percent of all workloads next year will occur in the cloud, and 49 percent will be carried out in the ‘traditional’ computing space. By 2017, 63 percent of all work is expected to be carried out in cloud environments.

In scarily huge figures, that’s a jump of 98 exabytes per month or 1.2  zettabytes annually in the cloud to 443 exabytes per month or 5.3 zettabytes  per annum. These predictions have led Cisco to forecast a 4.5 fold increase in global cloud traffic by 2017.

Global data center traffic will experience a threefold increase from 2.6 zettabytes in 2012 to 7.7 zettabytes a year by 2017 – to put that into context, that’s the equivalent of 107 trillion hours of streaming music – or roughly a year and a half of continuous music streaming for the global population in 2017.

In line with other global development trends, the Middle East and Africa will see the biggest growth in cloud traffic in the next four years, but the status quo of the bulk of cloud traffic being created primarily the US, followed by Asia Pacific and Western Europe, will remain the same. More regions than ever have advanced cloud capability (defined by Cisco as a download speed of greater than 2,500kbps and upload speed of higher than 1,000kbps - or in layman’s terms, fast internet) and all regions can now support an intermediate level of cloud services.

Interestingly, due to the perceived security issues inherent with cloud, Cisco claims that businesses will be relatively slow to adopt cloud. In fact, consumers are the ones driving this rise in cloud adoption, with solutions such as Google Drive, SkyDrive and Dropbox helping fuel uptake. By 2017, predicts the report, 81% of all cloud traffic will be from consumers, underlining the importance of cloud strategy for any forward thinking enterprise.


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