Cloud will account for 92 percent of datacenter traffic by 2020

According to ​Cisco's Global Cloud Index report, cloud traffic will rise 3.7-fold to 14.1ZB per year by 2020.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Image: Cisco.

Businesses are migrating to cloud architectures at a rapid clip and by 2020, cloud traffic will take up 92 percent of total data center traffic globally, according to Cisco's Global Cloud Index report.

The networking giant predicts that cloud traffic will rise 3.7-fold up from 3.9 zettabytes (ZB) per year in 2015 to 14.1ZB per year by 2020.

"The IT industry has taken cloud computing from an emerging technology to an essential scalable and flexible networking solution. With large global cloud deployments, operators are optimizing their data center strategies to meet the growing needs of businesses and consumers," said Doug Webster, VP of service provider marketing for Cisco, in a press release. "We anticipate all types of data center operators continuing to invest in cloud-based innovations that streamline infrastructures and help them more profitably deliver web-based services to a wide range of end users."

Breaking things down, Cisco expects business workloads to dominate data center applications by 2020 but that their overall workload share will decrease from 79 percent to 72 percent.

The business workload subsets of IoT, analytics and database workloads are expected to be the fastest growing within the sector. Cisco expects that by 2020, these three workloads will account for 22 percent of total business workloads.

Consumer workloads are still small in number but growing faster. Cisco expects that consumer workloads will account for 28 percent of total data center workloads by 2020. Of those consumer workloads, video streaming services such as Netflix and social networking will see the biggest increases.

Also by 2020, 2.3 billion people will use personal cloud storage, up from 1.3 billion users in 2015.

The index found that public cloud was growing faster than private cloud growth, which means that by 2020, 68 percent of the cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centers and 32 percent would be in private cloud data centers.


The report also analyzed the impact of hyperscale data centers. Cisco expects traffic to these multipurpose, mega data centers to quintuple over the next five years, with hyperscale infrastructure accounting for 47 percent of total data center installed servers and supporting 53 percent of all data center traffic by 2020.

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