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Cisco Index Points to Explosive Growth in Global Cloud Traffic

Edward GatelyGlobal cloud traffic is set to explode through 2019, more than quadrupling from 2.1 to 8.6 zettabytes (ZB) and outpacing the growth of data-center traffic.

That’s according to the fifth annual Cisco Global Cloud Index. 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 virtualization in private clouds. Also, the growth of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections has the potential to drive more cloud traffic in the future.

Total global data-center traffic is forecast to triple during the same time frame, from 3.4 to 10.4 ZB.

Thomas Barnett, director of thought leadership in Cisco Systems‘ worldwide service provider marketing group, tells Channel Partners that focusing on public cloud services for businesses and consumers will be the “low-hanging fruit” for partners over the next five years as demand increases.

“These trends indicate that for the channel and the customers they serve, cloud migration and adoption is no longer a question of if, it’s a matter of when and how,” he said.

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). North America also will have the highest data-center traffic volume (4.5 ZB) by 2019, followed by Asia Pacific (2.7 ZB) and Western Europe (1.8 ZB).

Public cloud is growing faster than private cloud, which includes cloud infrastructure operated for a single organization, in terms of workloads; however, throughout the five-year forecast, private cloud will continue to outpace public cloud in its level of virtualization.

Overall data-center workloads will more than double from 2014 to 2019, while cloud workloads will more than triple over the same period. By 2019, 59 percent of the total cloud workloads will be software-as-a-service (SaaS), up from 45 percent in 2014, followed by infrastructure as a service (IaaS) at 30 percent, down from 42 percent, and platform as a service (PaaS) at 11 percent, down from 13 percent.

“For the channel, IaaS and PaaS solutions will still play an important revenue-generation role (in terms of new deployments/upgrades, as well as service and support in some cases), but SaaS is …

… likely where most end customers will be focused and where greater profitability will be experienced,” Barnett said.

Cisco also predicts that the Internet of Everything (IoE) – what it calls 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, or 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, according to the index.

To add perspective, 10.4 ZB is equivalent to 144 trillion hours of streaming music or 26 trillion hours of business Web conferencing.

“For channel partners and everyone participating in the cloud market, security and data integrity continue to be top-of-mind concerns and challenges,” Barnett said. “IoE and big-data requirements are starting a new wave of security discussions and technology convergence. As enterprises and service providers move to public and private clouds, and modernize data centers with software defined networking (SDN) or consume IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS), security becomes an even more complex concern.”

Today, 73 percent of data stored on client devices reside on PCs; however, 51 percent will move to other devices by 2019. With the volume of stored data increasing, Cisco predicts a greater demand and use for consumer cloud storage. By 2019, 55 percent of the residential Internet population will use personal cloud storage, up from 42 percent in 2014.


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