IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Data Center Traffic Expected to Be Nearly All Cloud by 2021

Cisco Global Cloud Index predicts cloud data center traffic will reach 19.5 zettabytes per year by 2021. By Colleen Frye

ARE YOU HELPING your SMB managed services customers move to the cloud? If not, it’s likely somebody else will, as the migration continues unabated and data volume shows no sign of slowing down, according to the seventh annual Cisco Global Cloud Index. Indeed, about 94 percent of all workloads will be cloud based by 2021, the research finds, and cloud data center traffic will reach 19.5 zettabytes (ZB) per year, up from 6ZB in 2016, a 27 percent compound annual growth rate (see chart below). Globally, cloud data center traffic will represent 95 percent of total data center traffic by 2021, compared with 88 percent in 2016.

All this growth has led to the proliferation of hyperscale data centers. The report forecasts that by 2021, there will be 628 of them globally, up from 338 in 2016.

Fueling the growth of cloud services are rising use of online enterprise resource planning, collaboration, analytics, and other digital enterprise applications, along with cloud computing’s scalability and efficiency benefits. Previous barriers to cloud adoption such as security have diminished, the report says. Plus, with the growth of Internet of Things (IoT) applications businesses will need 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.

Through 2021, software as a service (SaaS) will be the most popular cloud service model, reaching 75 percent (402 million) of all cloud workloads and compute instances, according to the index, up from 71 percent in 2016. The percentage of cloud workloads and compute instances that are platform as a service (PaaS) is also expected to rise to 9 percent by 2021, up from 8 percent in 2016.

In contrast, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is expected to decrease to 16 percent by 2021, down from 21 percent in 2016.

A variety of applications are contributing to the rise of global data center traffic, according to Cisco. For example, big data will account for 20 percent of traffic within data centers by 2021, up from 12 percent in 2016. Also by 2021, video streaming will account for 10 percent of traffic, followed by video (85 percent), search (20 percent), and social networking (22 percent).

Clearly, for IT solution providers, zettabytes are up for grabs.

Source: Cisco Global Cloud Index

Image: Pixabay

About the Author

Colleen Frye is ChannelPro's managing editor.

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