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Recent research from Cisco highlights the inexorable move to cloud computing environments, with cloud traffic projected to account for a whopping 92% of total data centre traffic by 2020.

The sixth annual Cisco Global Cloud Index reports that the rapid growth in cloud traffic is a result of increased migration to cloud architectures as CIOs recognise their ability to scale quickly and efficiently support more workloads than traditional data centres.

The increasing use of data centre virtualisation means that cloud operators are also able to achieve greater operational efficiencies while flexibly delivering a growing variety of services to businesses and consumers.

Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing at Cisco, said the new research “…highlights the fact that cloud is moving well beyond a regional trend to becoming a mainstream solution globally, with cloud traffic expected to grow more than 30% in every worldwide region over the next five years.”

In addition to the rapid growth of cloud traffic, Cisco predicts that the Internet of Things (IoT) will also have a significant impact on data centre and cloud traffic growth.

A broad range of IoE applications are generating large volumes of data that could reach 507.5 ZB per year by 2020. That’s 49 times greater than the projected data centre traffic for 2020 (10.4 ZB). Currently, only a small portion of this content is stored in data centres, but that could change as the application demand and uses of big data analytics evolves.

Other key takeaways from the report include:

  • Public cloud is growing faster than private cloud growth – by 2020, 68% (298 million) of the cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centres, up from 49% (66.3 million) in 2015
  • More consumers will turn to the cloud for storage – by 2020, 59% (2.3 billion users) of the consumer Internet population will use personal cloud storage, up from 47% (1.3 billion users) in 2015
  • Big data will drive overall growth in stored data – globally, the data stored in data centres will quintuple by 2020, and this will represent 27% of data stored in data centres by 2020, up from 15% in 2015

The report also forecasts that whilst business workloads will continue to dominate data centre workloads, their overall share will actually decrease from 79% to 72% by 2020. This is because consumer workloads, while smaller in number, are growing faster due to a rapid growth in video streaming and social networking workloads.

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