Data Snapshot

Predictions for the future of cloud are sky-high

Global data center traffic is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 23 percent from 2013 through 2018, which will account for nearly 8.6 zettabytes (or 8.6 trillion gigabytes) of data traversing data centers around the world, according to Cisco's Global Cloud Index. By this estimation, the world's data center traffic will have tripled in less than six years' time, due primarily to cloud's growth within the market.

While traditional data center traffic is projected to grow 8 percent annually, its share of the market will inevitably fall each year as cloud's traffic soars at a compound annual growth rate of 32 percent (see the following chart and table).

Global Data Center IP Traffic Growth in Zettabytes

- Total data center traffic - Cloud data center traffic

Year Traditional data Cloud data Total
2013 1.5 ZB (46%) 1.6 ZB (54%) 3.1 ZB
2014 1.5 ZB (39%) 2.3 ZB (61%) 3.8 ZB
2015 1.6 ZB (34%) 3.1 ZB (65%) 4.7 ZB
2016 1.8 ZB (32%) 4.0 ZB (69%) 5.8 ZB
2017 2.0 ZB (28%) 5.1 ZB (72%) 7.1 ZB
2018 2.1 ZB (24%) 6.5 ZB (76%) 8.6 ZB

Despite initial concerns regarding security and integration with existing IT, cloud adoption has skyrocketed since 2013. Cloud services have become prevalent, in part, due to their ability to handle greater traffic loads than traditional data centers, while offering support through virtualization, standardization, automation and service delivery.

Of the three "as-a-Service" cloud computing models--including Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service--Cisco projected that SaaS will surpass IaaS and increase nearly 20 percent by 2018.

Global Cloud Service Deployment by 2018

Source: Cisco Global Cloud Index, 2013 - 2018.

Source: "Cisco Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013 - 2018"

About the Author

Jonathan Lutton is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him at jlutton@fcw.com

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