In its second annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (2011-2016), Cisco forecasts global data center traffic to grow fourfold and reach a total of 6.6 zettabytes annually by 2016. The company also predicts global cloud traffic, the fastest-growing component of data center traffic, to grow sixfold – a 44 percent combined annual growth rate (CAGR) – from 683 exabytes of annual traffic in 2011 to 4.3 zettabytes by 2016.
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. For the period 2011-2016, Cisco forecasts that roughly 76 percent of data center traffic will stay within the data center and will be largely generated by storage, production and development data. An additional 7 percent of data center traffic will be generated between data centers, primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates. The remaining 17 percent 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.
- The Cisco Global Cloud Index (2011-2016) was developed to estimate global data center and cloud-based Internet Protocol (IP) traffic growth and trends. The Cisco Global Cloud 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 networks and data centers become more intrinsically linked in offering cloud services.
- 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 forecast also includes a supplement on Cloud Readiness Regional Details, which examines the fixed and mobile network abilities of each global region (from nearly 150 countries) to support business and consumer cloud-computing applications and services.
- The Cisco Global Cloud 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.
- Cloud traffic growth by region: The Middle East and Africa will have the highest cloud traffic growth rate from 2011 to 2016: The Cisco Global Cloud Index now includes regional forecast data for cloud traffic growth.
– 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 percent CAGR); followed by Latin America (66 percent CAGR); and Central and Eastern Europe (55 percent CAGR).
- Workload growth by region: By 2016, Asia Pacific will have processed the most cloud workloads, followed by North America: The Cisco Global Cloud Index now includes regional forecast data for workload growth.
– In 2011, North America had the most cloud workloads (8.1 million, or 38 percent of the global cloud workloads); followed by Asia Pacific, which had 6.7 million, or 32 percent of the global workloads in 2011.
– By 2016, Asia Pacific will process the most cloud workloads (40.6 million, or 36 percent of the global cloud workloads); followed by North America, which will have 17.4 million, or 26 percent 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 percent CAGR); followed by Latin America (60 percent CAGR); and Central and Eastern Europe (50 percent 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 negative 1 percent 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 percent CAGR.
- Global cloud traffic will account for nearly two-thirds of total global data center traffic. Globally, cloud traffic will grow from 39 percent (57 exabytes per month and 683 exabytes annually) of total data center traffic in 2011 to 64 percent (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 percent CAGR) from 2011 to 2016, while global cloud traffic will grow sixfold (a 44 percent 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 percent of workloads were processed in the cloud, with 70 percent being handled in a traditional data center.
– 2014 will be the first year when the majority of workloads shift to the cloud; 52 percent of all workloads will be processed in the cloud versus 48 percent in the traditional IT space.
– By 2016, 62 percent or nearly two-thirds of total workloads will be processed in the cloud.
– The average workload per physical cloud server will grow from 4.2 in 2011 to 8.5 by 2016. In comparison the average workload per traditional data center physical server will grow from 1.5 in 2011 to 2.0 in 2016.
- Cloud readiness: Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, North America, and Western Europe can currently support advanced cloud-computing applications over fixed networks; currently, only Western Europe has average network performance to support intermediate cloud-computing applications over mobile networks. To assess cloud readiness, various fixed and mobile network attributes were analyzed. Average upload and download speeds and average latency were assessed across each of the following geographic regions: Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, North America, and Western Europe.
– From a fixed network perspective, the average network performance characteristics for the Middle East and Africa and Latin America can currently support intermediate cloud-computing applications such as high-definition video streaming and video chat applications.
– The average fixed broadband performance for Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, North America, and Western Europe can currently support advanced cloud-computing applications such as 3-D video streaming and high-end virtual office services. Note: Some countries within every region have average fixed network capabilities to support advanced cloud computing applications today.
– From a mobile network perspective, only the average network performance characteristics for Western Europe were sufficient to support intermediate cloud-computing applications today.
– The average mobile broadband performance for all other regions can support basic cloud-computing applications, such as web surfing and text communications. Note: Some countries within every region can support intermediate mobile cloud services today. Hungary is the only country that can support advanced mobile cloud services today.