IT Trends | Forecast

Cloud Computing Traffic Could Reach 1.6 Zettabytes Annually by 2015

A new industry forecast is predicting that cloud computing will account for 33 percent of all data center traffic by 2015--triple the current percentage and about 12 times the total current volume.

Cisco has issued its first Global Cloud Index (2010-2015), an estimate of global data center and cloud-based Internet Protocol traffic growth and trends. Based on data from the Global Cloud Index, Cisco estimated data center traffic will quadruple to reach 4.8 zettabytes annually by 2015, with cloud computing as the fastest growing component.

According to Cisco, "cloud is becoming a critical element for the future of information technology (IT) and delivery of video and content." In 2010, cloud computing traffic totaled 130 exabytes, 11 percent of data center traffic, but Cisco estimated it will reach a total of 1.6 zettabytes, more than 33 percent of all data center traffic, by 2015. For a little perspective, 1.6 zettabytes is approximately 1.7 billion terabytes, or the equivalent of 1.6 trillion hours of online high-definition video streaming.

The Cisco Global Cloud Index found that most data center traffic is the result of data backup and replication within the data centers and clouds themselves. Cisco estimated this internal data movement will represent 76 percent of data center traffic by 2015. Only 17 percent of traffic will leave the data center to be delivered to the end user, and an additional 7 percent will occur between data centers as a result of cloud-bursting, data replication, and updates.

"Cloud and data center traffic is exploding, driven by user demand to access volumes of content on the devices of their choice," said Suraj Shetty, vice president of product and solutions marketing, Cisco. "The result: greater data center virtualization and relevance of the network for cloud applications and the need to make sense of a dynamically evolving situation. The Cisco Global Cloud Index provides insight into this traffic growth and trends so that organizations can make strategic long-term decisions."

Cisco generated its Global Cloud Index by modeling and analyzing data from a number of primary and secondary sources, including data from data centers around the world, more than 45 million broadband speed tests, and third-party market forecasts. "We will continue to develop and release the Cisco Global Cloud Index on a regular and ongoing annual basis, contributing to 'cloud readiness' efforts worldwide," said Shetty.

For more information, visit the Cisco Global Cloud Index site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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