If you needed more evidence that the cloud is the future, look no further than the newly released Cisco Global Cloud Index. The report predicts that global cloud traffic will have a compound annual growth rate of 35 percent between 2012 and 2017. Overall data-center traffic will triple over the same period, to 7.7 zettabytes.
Just how much traffic is that? It's equivalent to 107 trillion hours of streaming music, 19 trillion hours of business Web conferencing or 8 trillion hours of online HD video streaming.
What's surprising is that the vast majority of the anticipated 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 most of us. From 2012 to 2017, 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 traffic will be generated between data centers primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates. Only the remaining 17 percent will be fueled by end users accessing clouds for Web surfing, email, video streaming and connected devices.
"... Channel partners are there to help bring [cloud solutions] to market in a way that makes it affordable and also feasible from a deployment perspective in a way they never have been before," said Thomas Barnett, director, service provider thought leadership, Cisco, in an interview with Channel Partners. "So I think there is great opportunity there and I think the cloud represents opportunities not only for service providers but for channel partners selling those solutions to those entities, either service providers or enterprises."
Regionally, the Middle East and Africa will see the biggest increase in cloud traffic growth (57 percent CAGR), Cisco said, followed by Asia Pacific (43 percent) and Central and Eastern Europe (36 percent).
Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.