Cisco says cloud traffic will represent 95% of total data centre traffic by 2021

Cloud data centre traffic will represent 95% of total data centre traffic by 2021, while 94% of workloads and compute instances will be processed by cloud data centres in the same year.

This is the key finding from the latest Cisco Global Cloud Index report, which again offers mind-boggling forecasts and statistics around future computing power. This time around, the report predicts that global cloud data centre traffic will hit 19.5 zettabytes (ZB) per year by 2021, up from 6 ZB per year in 2016. When it came to cloud data centre traffic as a proportion of overall data centre traffic, however, there isn’t as huge a change; as of 2016, Cisco argues, 88% of total data centre traffic was cloud-based.

Yet a predominant feature of this year’s report is around multi-cloud growth. To realise the increasing cloud infrastructure growth, more and more hyperscale data centres will appear. By 2021, Cisco argues, hyperscale data centres will support more than half (53%) of data centre servers – up from 27% in 2016, and almost two thirds (65%) of all data stored in data centres, up from 51% two years ago.

The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) will naturally also contribute to the greater traffic. Cisco expects IoT connections to reach 13.7 billion by 2021, more than double 2016’s total of 5.8m.

Conway Kosi, SVP and head of managed infrastructure services at Fujitsu EMEA, says the report highlights how organisations need to consider pursuing a cloud-native strategy. “Close collaboration between the C-suite and the IT team will enable businesses to design a balance that works for them in the long term,” said Kosi. “By unlocking the power in existing systems while facilitating innovation with new technologies, hybrid IT can enable even older companies to draw on the power of what they have today – while moving quickly enough for tomorrow.”

Software as a service (SaaS) will contribute three quarters of total cloud workloads and compute instances by 2021, with 16% being infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and 9% platform as a service (PaaS), showing a market unlikely to change from its current position.