Cloud

95% of global data center traffic will be from the cloud by 2021

Improved security and IoT growth are fueling increases in cloud data center traffic, according to a Cisco report.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Global cloud data center traffic is projected to reach 19.5 ZB per year by 2021, up from 6 ZB in 2015. — Cisco, 2018
  • IoT connections will reach 13.7 billion by 2021, up from 5.8 billion in 2016. — Cisco, 2018

Rapidly growing cloud applications are leading data center traffic to explode, according to a new report from Cisco: Global cloud data center traffic is projected to reach 19.5 zettabytes (ZB) per year by 2021—up from just 6 ZB in 2016. And traffic from the cloud will represent 95% of all data center traffic by 2021, the report found, compared to 88% in 2016.

While security concerns have prevented some companies from adopting the cloud in the past, improvements in data center governance and data control have helped minimize enterprise risk and better protect customer information, the report noted. Growth in Internet of Things (IoT) applications including smart cars and connected utilities also requires scalable computing and storage solutions to accommodate expanding data center demands, the report stated. The number of IoT connections on earth is projected to reach 13.7 billion by 2021, Cisco predicted, up from 5.8 billion in 2015.

Increasing need for data center and cloud resources will lead the number of hyperscale data centers to double between 2016 and 2021, Cisco predicted (628 vs. 338). By 2021, hyperscale data centers will support 53% of all data center servers, and 69% of all data center processing power.

SEE: Cloud migration decision tool (Tech Pro Research)

"Data center application growth is clearly exploding in this new multicloud world," Kip Compton, vice president of Cisco's cloud platform and solutions group, said in a press release. "This projected growth will require new innovations especially in the areas of public, private, and hybrid clouds."

The need for data centers will only grow: By 2021, 94% of workloads and compute instances will be processed by cloud data centers, while 6% will be processed by traditional data centers, Cisco noted. And the data stored in data centers will nearly quintuple by 2021, reaching 1.3 ZB by that year, compared to 286 EB in 2016. This growth in stored data will largely be fueled by big data and IoT, Cisco noted. By 2021, big data will account for 20% of traffic within data centers, compared to 12% in 2016.

Software as a Service (SaaS) will continue to dominate cloud service models moving forward: By 2021, 75% of the total cloud workloads and compute instances will take the form of SaaS, up from 71% in 2016. Meanwhile, by that year, 16% of workloads will be Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and 9% will be Platform as a Service (PaaS).

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Image: iStockphoto/buchachon

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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