Australia loses ground in Asia-Pacific's datacentre explosion

In just a few years, Asia-Pacific's datacentre traffic will be 35 percent higher than North America’s. Australia, it seems, won’t keep pace with growth in the region.
Written by Phil Dobbie, Contributor

Are you ready for some big numbers? Cisco's new Global Cloud Index claims that global datacentre traffic will grow almost threefold between 2011 and 2016. By then, traffic will have totalled 6.6 zettabytes (ZB) — which is apparently enough to accommodate 12 hours of daily web conferences for the world's 3.8 billion workers.

Yet, work use will comprise just a small part of total datacentre traffic. Last year, consumer traffic was four times more than business traffic; by 2016, it will be almost six times more. In each case, cloud applications will account for almost two thirds of datacentre traffic, up from 30 percent in 2011 (Cisco distinguishes cloud traffic as on-demand services deployed with elastic and scalable provisioning and usage-based pricing).

By 2016, Asia Pacific will be leading the field, accounting for 36 percent of global datacentre traffic — reaching 2.4ZB in 2016 (up 324 percent on 2011), compared to 1.8ZB in North America (172 percent up).

These figures highlight the growing importance of the datacentre industry, and the increasing diversification of where cloud content is deployed. It is a huge growth industry for the Asia-Pacific region.

Sadly, Cisco has predicted that Australia's share of datacentre traffic in the Asia-Pacific region will fall from 6.5 percent last year to just 4 percent in 2016. That's hardly surprising, given the growth of economies to our north, but a chance to play a bigger role in meeting this demand would have been nice, if only our electricity wasn't so expensive. Still, with datacentre traffic within the country growing threefold (from 37 exabytes in 2011 to 107 exabytes in 2016), there's still plenty of room for home-grown cloud providers.

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