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Cisco’s new ‘Global Cloud Index’ report forecasts that, globally, cloud data centre traffic will account for 95% of total data centre traffic by 2021, with collaboration and analytics being amongst the business application areas set to contribute to the dominance of cloud services.

According to Cisco’s study, now in its seventh year, data centre traffic will reach 19.6 zettabytes (ZB) per year by 2021, up from the 2016 figure of 6 ZB and amounting to a 27% compound annual growth rate. On a global scale, cloud data centre traffic will make up 95% of total data centre traffic by 2021, rising from the 2016 figure of 88%.

One of the key reasons for this growth is improved security – in the past, security concerns have been a major barrier to cloud adoption. However, improvements in data centre governance and data control have helped to minimise enterprise risk and better protect consumer information.

The growth of Internet of Things (IoT) applications is also a factor, with smart cars, smart cities, connected health and digital utilities all requiring scalable computing and storage solutions to accommodate new and expanding data centre demands.

Both business and consumer applications will contribute to the growing dominance of cloud services over the Internet. For business users, enterprise resource planning (ERP), collaboration, analytics and other digital enterprise applications represent leading growth areas. On the consumer side, streaming video and social networking will continue to be particularly popular applications.

Other key points contained in the report include:

  • The growth in stored data will be fuelled by big data – globally, the data stored in data centres will nearly quintuple by 2021 and big data will account for 30% of the total figure, up from 18% in 2016. Interestingly, the amount of data stored on devices is projected to be 4.5 times higher than data stored in data centres by 2021.
  • Big data will also contribute to rise of global data centre traffic – by 2021 it will account for 20% of traffic within data centres, compared to just 12% in 2016.
  • SaaS will cement its position as the most popular cloud service model by 2021- at that point 75% of the total cloud workloads and compute instances will be SaaS-related, up from 71% in 2016. This will largely be at the expense of IaaS workloads and compute instances which will fall from 21% to 16% over the same period,

Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing at Cisco, commented: “The IT industry has taken cloud computing from an emerging technology to an essential scalable and flexible networking solution…We anticipate all types of data centre operators continuing to invest in cloud-based innovations that streamline infrastructures and help them more profitably deliver web-based services to a wide range of end users.”

Melanie Jones
Cisco Product Manager


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