Global data center traffic is forecasted to grow fourfold to reach a total of 6.6 zettabytes annually by 2016, while cloud traffic is expected to achieve 4.3 zettabytes by 2016, a 44% combined annual growth rate (CAGR), from 683 exabytes of annual traffic in 2011. These forecasts were released by Cisco in its second annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (GCI), 2011-2016.
Although in general, fixed networks offer better upload and download speeds, and latencies than mobile networks, Cisco said the performance gap between fixed and mobile networks will begin to close in the near future. This might happen because of the growing global adoption of advanced mobile technologies, such as third- and fourth-generation (3G and 4G), and the worldwide demand for wireless support of next-generation devices.
The study also indicates that business connections tend to have significantly greater capacity than consumer connections (fixed and mobile). From a business cloud services perspective, many networks are currently capable of supporting intermediate business applications, and some are currently capable of supporting advanced business applications (such as high-definition video and audio conferencing).
Highlights from the updated research include the following projections:
- Global data center traffic will grow nearly fourfold from 2011 to 2016.
- By 2016, global data center traffic will reach 6.6 zetabytes per year.
- By 2016, two-thirds of all data center traffic will come from the cloud.
- By 2016, three out of five data center workloads will be processed in the cloud.
According to Cisco’s report, the vast majority of the 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 individuals.
For example, for the period of 2011-2016, Cisco forecasts that roughly 76% of data center traffic will stay within the data center and will be largely generated by storage, production and development data. An additional 7% of data center traffic will be generated between data centers, primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates. The remaining 17% of data center traffic will be fueled by end users accessing clouds for Web surfing, emailing and video streaming.
Cisco Global Cloud Index also noted that by 2016, the Asia Pacific region will process the most cloud workloads (40.6 million or 36% of global cloud workloads); followed by North America, which will have 17.4 million or 26% of global cloud workloads in 2016.
Based on the regional, average download and upload speeds, and latencies for business and consumer connections, Cisco said that all regions can support some level of cloud services. However, no region’s average network characteristics are currently able to support high-end, advanced cloud applications.
From 2011 to 2016, the Middle East and Africa are expected to have the highest cloud workload growth rate (73% CAGR); followed by Latin America (60% CAGR); and Central and Eastern Europe (50% CAGR).
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