In the third annual Global Cloud Index, Cisco forecasts that global cloud traffic, the fastest growing component of data center traffic, is expected to grow 4.5-fold — that’s a 35 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) — from 1.2 zettabytes of annual traffic in 2012 to 5.3 zettabytes by 2017.
The Cisco Global Cloud Index (2012–2017) was developed to estimate data center and cloud-based Internet Protocol (IP) traffic growth and trends. The Index serves as a complementary resource to existing network traffic studies, providing new insights and visibility into emerging trends affecting data centers and cloud architectures.
The forecast becomes increasingly important as the network and data center become more intrinsically linked in offering cloud services. Overall global data center traffic will grow threefold and reach a total of 7.7 zettabytes annually by 2017.
Approximately 17 percent of data center traffic will be fueled 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.
Other data center traffic is not caused directly by end users, but by data centers and cloud computing workloads used in activities that are virtually invisible to individuals.
For the period 2012–2017, Cisco forecasts that 7 percent of data center traffic will be generated between data centers, primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates.
An additional 76 percent of data center traffic will stay within the data center and will be largely generated by storage, production and development data in a virtualized environment.
“People all over the world continue to demand the ability to access personal, business and entertainment content anywhere on any device, and each transaction in a virtualized, cloud environment can cause cascading effects on the network,” said Doug Merritt, Senior Vice President, Product and Solutions Marketing, Cisco. “Because of this continuing trend, we are seeing huge increases in the amount of cloud traffic within, between and beyond data centers over the next four years.”
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 percent CAGR), followed by Asia Pacific (43 percent CAGR) and Central and Eastern Europe (36 percent CAGR).
Exploring Workload Growth by Region
The Cisco Global Cloud Index now includes regional forecast data for workload growth.
- In 2012, North America had the most cloud workloads (15.2 million or 47 percent of global cloud workloads), followed by Asia Pacific, which had 6.8 million or 21 percent of global workloads in 2012.
- By 2017, North America will process the most cloud workloads (48.2 million or 41 percent of global cloud workloads), followed by Asia Pacific, which will have 36.5 million or 31 percent of global workloads by 2017.
- From 2012 to 2017, the Middle East and Africa region is expected to have the highest cloud workload growth rate (45 percent CAGR), followed by Asia Pacific (40 percent CAGR) and Central and Eastern Europe (31 percent CAGR).
- Globally, except in the Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific, traditional data center workloads (rather than cloud workloads) will grow at a low-single-digit CAGR from 2012 to 2017.