27 April 2018
| James Pearce
Data from the cloud will represent 95% of total data centre
traffic by 2021, it is estimated, highlighting the importance
of cloud service adoption in driving data centre demand and
The figures were revealed as part of Cisco’s
seventh annual Global Cloud Index, which looks at data centre
virtualisation and cloud computing, and how these have become
fundamental elements in transforming how many business and
consumer network services are delivered.
It is not just business applications that are driving cloud
growth. Cisco’s study found that consumer services
such as video streaming, social networking, and internet search
are among the most popular cloud applications in use. Key
business drivers include enterprise resource planning,
collaboration, and analytics.
In 2016, traditional data centre traffic was around 849
exabytes while cloud traffic was 6 zettabytes. The former is
predicted to rise to 1.7ZB by 2021, while cloud services will
treble to 18.9ZB – taking total data centre traffic to
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) will be the most popular cloud
service model in 2021, Cisco predicts. The growth will see 199
million cloud workloads expand to 534 million cloud workloads,
meaning around 94% of all workloads will be cloud-based by
2021. This would demonstrate a compound annual growth rate of
22% at a time when traditional data centre workloads are
declining 5% a year.
• By 2021, 75% (402 million) of the total cloud
workloads and compute instances will be SaaS workloads and
compute instances, up from 71% (141 million) in 2016. (23% CAGR
from 2016 to 2021).
• By 2021, 16% (85 million) of the total cloud
workloads and compute instances will be IaaS workloads and
compute instances, down from 21% (42 million) in 2016. (15%
CAGR from 2016 to 2021).
• By 2021, 9% (46 million) of the total cloud
workloads and compute instances will be PaaS workloads and
compute instances, up from 8% (16 million) in 2016. (23% CAGR
from 2016 to 2021).
In the past, security concerns have been a major barrier to
cloud adoption, Cisco said. Improvements in data centre
governance and data control have helped to minimise enterprise
risk and better protect consumer information.
Security innovations coupled with tangible cloud computing
benefits, including scalability and economies of scale, play
key roles in fueling the cloud growth projected in the
Additionally, the growth of internet of things (IoT)
applications such as smart cars, smart cities, connected health
and digital utilities requires scalable computing and storage
solutions to accommodate new and expanding data center
By 2021, Cisco expects IoT connections to reach 13.7
billion, up from 5.8 billion in 2016.