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Cisco this week released its latest Global Cloud Index (CGI), which lays out expectations that cloud traffic will continue to grow rapidly over the next four years.
The networking giant says in the report that it expects global volumes to have more than quadrupled by 2019, with traffic rising from 2.1 to 8.6 zettabytes. Total data centre traffic meanwhile, is predicted to rise from 3.4 to 10.4 zettabytes during the same time – a threefold increase.
Few will be shocked by the general suggestions of growth, but the rate at which adoption rates are still increasing may surprise some. The ongoing surge, which is more than likely to continue beyond Cisco’s forecast period, can be explained by a number of factors.
For one, an increasing number of mobile devices rely on cloud services, many allowing users to back up personal files automatically. Also, more and more businesses are depending on the cloud to meet their software and infrastructure needs, often switching to hosted versions of the tools they were already using.
Cisco’s vice president of service provider marketing, Doug Webster, commented: “Enterprise and government organizations are moving from test cloud environments to trusting clouds with their mission-critical workloads.”
“At the same time,” he added, “consumers continue to expect on-demand, anytime access to their content and services nearly everywhere. This creates a tremendous opportunity for cloud operators, which will play an increasingly relevant role in the communications industry ecosystem.”
Looking past 2019, the growth of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections has the potential to drive even more cloud traffic in the future, and a big part of this shift towards machine communication will be the Internet of Things (IoT). This global network will, according to Cisco, generate 507.5 zettabytes of data per year.
Cisco forecasted back in April that the world would contain 50 billion connected objects by 2020. In now estimates that a connected – or ‘smart’ - city of one million people will generate 180 million gigabytes of data every day by 2019. All of this information has to be stored somewhere.
This shift is likely to have a range of knock-on effects elsewhere in the industry. As demand for cloud storage grows, so too will the need for robust security solutions, for example.
There won’t just be changes in the volume of cloud traffic, either; Cisco also expects the use of public cloud services to have overtaken private solutions by 2019. It predicts that 56% of cloud workloads will be kept in public data centres, up from 30% last year. Private storage volumes will drop from 70% to 44%, according to the CGI.
Perhaps the most telling of the latest forecasts is the prediction that PCs will no longer hold the majority of organisations’ data. At present, 73% of information kept on client devices resides on PCs. By 2019, however, Cisco expects this to fall to 49%, with the slight majority being moved to non-PC devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers.