According to networking giant Cisco, it's a cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud world as cloud-based network traffic explodes. Besides data center/cloud network growing at a remarkable rate, Cisco also foresees the majority of server workloads moving from traditional servers to the cloud by 2014.
In the third annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (2012–2017) issued on October 15, Cisco forecasts "that global cloud traffic … is expected to grow 4.5-fold." That amounts to a 35 percent combined annual growth rate (CAGR) — from 1.2 zettabytes of annual traffic in 2012 to 5.3 zettabytes by 2017. Overall, Cisco expects "global data center traffic will grow threefold and reach a total of 7.7 zettabytes annually by 2017."
What's a zettabyte you ask? A zettabyte is a billion terabytes. To put that into context, 7.7 zettabytes is equivalent to:
Most of that data center traffic won't be going for entertainment. Cisco's experts estimate that "approximately 17 percent of data center traffic will be fueled by end users accessing clouds, video streaming, collaboration and connected devices, all of which contribute to the Internet of Everything, which is the networked connection of people, data, processes and things."
If those numbers seem impressive, consider that IDC estimates that the Internet of Everything will amount to an $8.9 trillion market in 2020. To co-ordinate IDC's estimated 212-billion things, data centers will need to shoulder the load.
Indeed, according to Cisco, most of data center and cloud-computing traffic is caused by "activities that are virtually invisible to individuals." For 2012–2017, Cisco forecasts that 7 percent of data center traffic will be generated between data centers, primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates. An additional 76 percent of data center traffic will stay within the data center and will be largely generated by storage, production and development data in a virtualized environment.
"People all over the world continue to demand the ability to access personal, business and entertainment content anywhere on any device, and each transaction in a virtualized, cloud environment can cause cascading effects on the network,” said Doug Merritt, Cisco's Senior Vice President of Product and Solutions Marketing in a statement. “Because of this continuing trend, we are seeing huge increases in the amount of cloud traffic within, between and beyond data centers over the next four years."
How much exactly? Cisco estimates that:
At the same time, Cisco believes server and data center workloads are moving to the cloud and they won't be coming back:
The key takeaways are that high-speed data center networking will become even more important than it is now and that tomorrow's workloads will be running on the cloud and virtual machines. The day of the conventional "one physical server, one workload" is coming to an end.