Cloud apps will drive 95% of data center traffic by 2021: Cisco

cloud data center traffic
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Cloud traffic will represent 95% of total data center traffic by 2021 as cloud service adoption creates new data center demands, according to Cisco’s latest Global Cloud Index.

The seventh annual report says that both consumer and business applications are contributing to the growing dominance of cloud services over the internet. For consumers, streaming video, social networking, and Internet search are among the most popular cloud applications. For business users, enterprise resource planning (ERP), collaboration, analytics, and other digital enterprise applications represent leading growth areas.

Driven by surging cloud applications, data center traffic is growing fast. The study forecasts global cloud data center traffic to reach 19.5 zettabytes (ZB) per year by 2021, up from 6 ZB per year in 2016 (3.3-fold growth or a 27% compound annual growth rate [CAGR] from 2016 to 2021). Globally, cloud data center traffic will represent 95% of total data center traffic by 2021, compared to 88% in 2016.

In the past, security concerns have been a major barrier to cloud adoption, but improvements in data center governance and data control have helped to minimize enterprise risk and better protect consumer information. Security innovations coupled with tangible cloud computing benefits, including scalability and economies of scale, play key roles in fueling the cloud growth projected in the study. Additionally, the growth of IoT applications such as smart cars, smart cities, connected health and digital utilities requires scalable computing and storage solutions to accommodate new and expanding data center demands. By 2021, Cisco expects IoT connections to reach 13.7 billion, up from 5.8 billion in 2016.

Meanwhile, the increasing need for data center and cloud resources has led to the development of large-scale public cloud data centers (a.k.a. hyperscale data centers). The index forecasts that by 2021 there will be 628 hyperscale data centers globally, compared to 338 in 2016, nearly doubling over the forecast period. By 2021, hyperscale data centers will support:

  • 53% of all data center servers (27% in 2016)
  • 69% of all data center processing power (41% in 2016)
  • 65% of all data stored in data centers (51% in 2016)
  • 55% of all data center traffic (39% in 2016)

“Data center application growth is clearly exploding in this new multicloud world. This projected growth will require new innovations especially in the areas of public, private and hybrid clouds,” said Kip Compton, VP of Cisco’s Cloud Platform and Solutions Group.

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