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November 11, 2016updated 22 Nov 2016 11:43am

Cloud forces data centre traffic into the zettabyte era

Cloud to force hyperscale data centre expansion into overdrive.

By James Nunns

Cloud traffic will represent 92% of data centre traffic and will nearly quadruple by 2020.

That’s according to Cisco’s sixth annual Global Cloud Index 2015-2020 report, which forecasts that cloud traffic will increase from 3.9 zettabytes to 14.1 zettabytes per annum by 2020.

To accommodate this rapid increase in traffic the company forecasts that the number of hyperscale data centres will grow from 259 at the end of 2015 to 485 by 2020. These will represent 47% of all installed data centre servers by that data.

North America to see a large growth in hyperscale data centres.

North America to see a large growth in hyperscale data centres.

The outcome of this is that traffic within these data centres will quintuple by 2020, so while they already account for 34% of total traffic within all data centres they will account for 53% by that date.

More headline figures suggest that by 2020 92% of workloads will be processed by cloud data centres while 8% will be processed by traditional and overall data centre workloads will more than double while cloud workloads will more than triple over the next four years.

The majority of the cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centres (68%) up from 49% in 2015 and 32% of cloud workloads will be in private cloud data centres, down from 51% in 2015.

Most of the workloads (72%) will continue to be classed as enterprise workloads, however, this is down from 79% in 2015. Consumer workloads meanwhile will account for 28% of total data centre workloads, up from 21% last year.

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What this all means is that data centre storage is going to increase massively. Cisco predicts that by 2020, data centre storage installed capacity will grow to 1.8 zettabytes, up from 382 exabytes in 2015, an almost five fold growth.

Alibaba is one company looking to expand its data centre footprint. 

Total global installed data storage capacity in cloud data centres will account for 88% share of total data centre storage capacity, up from 64.9% in 2015.

One of the big drivers of overall growth in stored data will be big data, this alone is expected to represent 27% of data stores in data centres by 2020, up from 15% in 2015. The IoT, analytics and database workloads are shown to be growing the most in terms of share of business workloads with Cisco predicting that by 2020 these will account for 22% of total business workloads, up from 20% in 2015.

Data centre workloads are going to dramatically shift.

Data centre workloads are going to dramatically shift.

The report said: “Global data center traffic is firmly in the zettabyte era and will more than triple from 2015 to reach 15.3 ZB annually by 2020. Not only is the data center traffic growing, but it is also getting streamlined with architectural innovations such as SDN and NFV, which offer new levels of optimization for data centers.

“A rapidly growing segment of data center traffic is cloud traffic, which will nearly quadruple over the forecast period and represent 92 percent of all data center traffic by 2020. An important traffic enabler in the rapid expansion of cloud computing is increasing data center virtualization, which provides services that are flexible, fast-to-deploy, and efficient. By 2020, 92 percent of all workloads will be processed in the cloud.”

The full report can be read here. 

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