The cloud isn’t a weird abstract concept any more, it hasn’t been for a while now actually. Global cloud traffic is growing massively, especially in emerging market regions like Africa and the Middle East.
According to networking specialist Cisco, global data centre traffic will grow four-fold and reach a total of 6.6 zettabytes annually by 2016.
For a bit of context, that’s 92 trillion hours of streaming music, 16-trillion hours of business web conferencing, or seven-trillion hours of online high-definition (HD) video streaming
It reckons that Africa and the Middle East will lead the way with 79% annual growth rate, followed by Latin America (66%); and Central and Eastern Europe (55%).
The fact that emerging markets are likely to experience the fastest growth in the next few years probably shouldn’t be all that surprising. Aside from the fact that developed markets have a much more established presence going onto the cloud is likely to be a much cheaper option for a large number of businesses and people in those regions.
That growth does not however mean that these regions will dominate cloud traffic in the next few years. BY 2016, says Cisco, the Asia-Pacific region will generate the most cloud traffic (1.5 zettabytes annually); followed by North America (1.1 zettabytes annually); and Western Europe (963 exabytes annually).
Cisco reckons that global cloud traffic, the fastest growing component of data centre traffic, will grow 6-fold — a 44% combined annual growth rate (CAGR) — from 683 exabytes of annual traffic in 2011 to 4.3 zettabytes by 2016.
The vast majority of the data centre traffic, says the company, is not caused by end users but by data centres and cloud-computing workloads used in activities that are virtually invisible to individuals.
For the period 2011 — 2016, Cisco forecasts that roughly 76% of data centre traffic will stay within the data centre and will be largely generated by storage, production and development data.
An additional seven percent of data centre traffic will be generated between data centres primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates. The remaining 17% of data centre traffic will be fuelled by end users accessing clouds for web surfing, emailing and video streaming.