Cisco global cloud index projects cloud traffic to nearly quadruple

Business' reliance on data centres has forced further advances in cloud server technology to keep up with demand.

Cloud traffic is expected to rise 3.7-fold, up from 3.9 zettabytes (ZB) per year in 2015 to 14.1 ZB per year by 2020, according to the sixth annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (2015-2020).

This rapid growth of cloud traffic is attributed to increased migration to cloud architectures due to their ability to scale quickly and efficiently support more workloads than traditional data centres.

With greater data centre virtualisation, cloud operators are also able to achieve greater operational efficiencies while flexibly delivering a growing variety of services to businesses and consumers with optimal performance. To better understand data centre growth, new analysis on application workloads was developed for this year’s report.

Business workloads will grow by 2.4 fold from 2015 to 2020 but their overall share of data centre workloads will decrease from 79 to 72 per cent.

By 2020, consumer workloads will account for 28 per cent (134.3 million) of total data centre workloads, compared to 21 per cent (38.6 million) in 2015.

Database/analytics/Internet of Things (IoT) workloads will account for 22 per cent of total business workloads, compared to 20 per cent in 2015.

Video streaming workloads will account for 34 per cent of total consumer workloads, compared to 29 percent in 2015; social networking workloads will account for 24 per cent of total consumer workloads, compared to 20 per cent in 2015; search workloads will account for 15 per cent of total consumer workloads, compared to 17 per cent in 2015.

For the first time, Cisco also quantified and analysed the impact of hyperscale data centres for cloud traffic. These will grow from 259 in 2015 to 485 by 2020. Hyperscale data centre traffic is projected to quintuple over the next five years.

These infrastructures will account for 47 per cent of total data centre installed servers and support 53 per cent of all data centre traffic by 2020.

A key infrastructure trend is transforming hyperscale (and other) data centres. Software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are helping to flatten data centre architectures and streamline traffic flows.

Over the next five years, nearly 60 per cent of global hyperscale data centres are expected to deploy SDN/NFV solutions. By 2020, 44 per cent of traffic within data centres will be supported by SDN/NFV platforms (up from 23 per cent in 2015) as operators strive for greater efficiencies.

Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing at Cisco, thinks that cloud computing has advanced from an emerging technology to an essential scalable and flexible part of architecture for service providers of all types around the globe.

Webster adds, ‘Powered by video, IoT, SDN/NFV and more, we forecast this significant cloud migration and the increased amount of network traffic generated as a result to continue at a rapid rate as operators streamline infrastructures to help them more profitably deliver IP-based services businesses and consumers alike.’

Further reading on data centres

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

Related Topics

Cloud technology