Report: Cloud traffic to grow sixfold from 683 exabytes annually to 4.3 zettabytes in 2016

Global data center traffic will grow fourfold and reach a total of 6.6 zettabytes annually by 2016, according to the Cisco Global Cloud Index (2011-2016) released today.  In 2011, data center traffic was nearly 1.8 zettabytes. Out of the total data center traffic, cloud traffic which is the fastest growing component will grow sixfold from 683 exabytes of annual traffic in 2011 to 4.3 zettabytes by 2016. Around six and a half zettabytes is equivalent to 92 trillion hours of streaming music or about 2.5 hours of daily streamed HD video for the world’s population in 2016, the company said.

For the period 2011-2016, Cisco forecasts that roughly 76 percent of data center traffic will stay within the data center and will be largely generated by storage, production and development data.

An additional 7 percent of data center traffic will be generated between data centers, primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates. The remaining 17 percent of data center traffic will be fueled by end users accessing clouds for Web surfing, emailing and video streaming. From a regional perspective, the Cisco Global Cloud Index predicts that through 2016, the Middle East and Africa will have the highest cloud traffic growth rate, while the Asia Pacific region will process the most cloud workloads, followed by North America.

Key Highlights

  • In 2011, North America generated the most cloud traffic (261 exabytes annually); followed by Asia Pacific; (216 exabytes annually); and Western Europe (156 exabytes annually).
  • By 2016, Asia Pacific will generate the most cloud traffic (1.5 zettabytes annually); followed by North America (1.1 zettabytes annually); and Western Europe (963 exabytes annually).
  • From 2011 to 2016, Cisco foresees the Middle East and Africa as having the highest cloud traffic growth rate (79 percent  cagr); followed by Latin America (66 percent ); and Central and Eastern Europe (55 percent ).
  • Asia Pacific will process the most cloud workloads (40.6 million, or 36 percent of the global cloud workloads); followed by North America, which will have 17.4 million, or 26 percent of the global workloads in 2016.
  • From 2011 to 2016, the Middle East and Africa region is expected to have the highest cloud workload growth rate (73 percent CAGR); followed by Latin America (60 percent ); and Central and Eastern Europe (50 percent ).
  • In North America, traditional data center workloads will actually decline from 2011 to 2016 (from 18.3 million in 2011 to 17.4 million in 2016), falling to a negative 1 percent CAGR.
  • 2014 will be the first year when the majority of workloads shift to the cloud; 52 percent of all workloads will be processed in the cloud versus 48 percent in the traditional IT space. By 2016, 62 percent or nearly two-thirds of total workloads will be processed in the cloud.

Cloud readiness: Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, North America, and Western Europe can currently support advanced cloud-computing applications over fixed networks; currently, only Western Europe has average network performance to support intermediate cloud-computing applications over mobile networks. To assess cloud readiness, various fixed and mobile network attributes were analyzed. Average upload and download speeds and average latency were assessed across each of the following geographic regions: Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, North America, and Western Europe.