It’s one of those statistics that is mind boggling and incomprehensible, and at the same time, somewhat meaningless. Cisco predicts that global data centre traffic will nearly triple from 3.1 zettabytes/year in 2013 to 8.6 zettabytes/year in 2018.
A zettabyte is trillion gigabytes. This immense number includes data centre-to-user traffic, data centre-to-data centre traffic and traffic that remains within data centres.
In an attempt to make that insanely large figure comprehensible, Cisco tells us that it is “equivalent to streaming all of the movies (approximately 500,000) and television shows (3 million) ever made in ultra-high definition 250,000 times. Not very helpful really.
More important is how much of that traffic will be associated with the growth of cloud computing.According to Cisco, global cloud traffic is growing faster than the overall global data centre traffic. In 2013, cloud accounted for 54 percent of total data centre traffic, and, by 2018, cloud will account for 76 percent of total data centre traffic.
At the same time consumers are embracing cloud with ever increasing enthusiasm. “By 2018, 53 percent of all residential Internet users globally will use personal cloud storage, and the average consumer cloud storage traffic per user will be 811 megabytes per month by 2018, compared to 186 megabytes per month in 2013.”
Cisco also predicts that, by 2018, 69 percent (113.5 million) of the cloud workloads will be in private cloud data centres, down from 78 percent (44.2 million) in 2013, and 31 percent (52 million) of the cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centres, up from 22 percent (12.7 million) in 2013.
While Cisco has been plotting the data on data associated with cloud services, IDC has been doing the same for the dollars. It says public IT cloud services spending will reach $US56.6 billion in 2014 and grow to more than $US127 billion in 2018, a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.8 percent, which is about six times the rate of growth for the overall IT market.
In 2018, according to IDC, public IT cloud services will account for more than half of worldwide software, server, and storage spending growth. “Among the factors driving public IT cloud services growth is the adoption of ‘cloud first’ strategies by both IT vendors expanding their offerings and IT buyers implementing new solutions,” IDC says.
More importantly, IDC believes the cloud services market is now entering an "innovation stage" that will produce an explosion of new solutions and value creation on top of the cloud.
“Many of these new solutions will be in industry-focused platforms with their own innovation communities, which will reshape not only how companies operate their IT, but also how they compete in their own industry,” IDC says.” As the number of applications and use cases explode, cloud services will reach into almost every B2B and consumer services marketplace.”
Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC, said: "Over the next four to five years, IDC expects the community of developers to triple and to create a ten-fold increase in the number of new cloud-based solutions. "Many of these solutions will become more strategic than traditional IT has ever been.
"At the same time, there will be unprecedented competition and consolidation among the leading cloud providers. This combination of explosive innovation and intense competition will make the next several years a pivotal period for current and aspiring IT market leaders."
IDC expects software as a service (SaaS) will continue to dominate public IT cloud services spending, accounting for 70 percent of 2014 cloud services expenditures. The second largest public IT cloud services category will be infrastructure as a service (IaaS), boosted by cloud storage's 31 percent CAGR over the forecast period,” IDC says.
“Platform as a service (PaaS) and cloud storage services will be the fastest growing categories, driven by major upticks in developer cloud services adoption and big data-driven solutions, respectively."