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Cisco - More than Half of Workloads to be Cloud

Report Projects Total Datacenter Dataflow Approaching 5 Zettabytes by 2015

More than 50 percent of all workloads will be processed in the cloud by 2014.

This statement comes from a Cisco "Global Cloud" whitepaper, which examines the current state of things and guesses where we'll be at in 2015. It also forecasts a 22-percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for cloud datacenters, with the share of workloads handled by these centers rising from 21 percent back in 2010 to 57 percent by 2015. The report says that the workloads themselves will increase about 2.5 times in that period.

Cloud is of course the key to these additional workloads, as it shifts the paradigm from one workload to multiple workloads on any single server. The Cisco report also sees cloud-based traffic growing at a 33-percent CAGR in the 2010-2015, accounting for 34 percent of all datacenter traffic by 2015, as the total datacenter dataflow approaches 5 zettabytes annually worldwide.

Big Data
A quick reminder shows that 5 zettabytes equals 5 billion terabytes. (I prefer to think of a zettabyte as a 1021 byte, as I quickly lose track of the names after "tera-".) Truly the era of Big Data is upon us.

Much of this will be driven by video, and especially video on mobile devices. The Cisco research implies this - although overall cloud-based datacenter traffic will be 34 percent in 2015, the consumer cloud will be 37-percent cloud-driven, compared to only 19 percent within the business cloud.

Getting out my old slide rule deduces that this means the consumer cloud will account for five-sixths of total datacenter traffic - about 83 percent of it.

ZOMFG. No wonder the paleolithic mandarins of the music and film industries want to cast sharing and everything else under the guise of stealing and terrorism.

Get Ready!
The Cisco report also has a section devoted to Cloud Readiness. This is the same term used by AsiaCloud, which published a report on the topic last year, and which features Cisco's Singapore-based CTO Bernie Trudel as one of its leaders.

The Cisco report states that a location must have a download speed of greater than 2.5Mbps (and latency of less than 50ms) to handle advanced cloud applications. It defines the latter as advanced gaming, video chat, and file sharing; HD audio and video conferencing; and streaming of super HD video. It prescribes a modest download speed between 750kbps and 2.5Mbps for "intermediate" cloud apps, including telephony, basic chat and conferencing, and what it terms advanced social networking.

Seems modest enough. My recent research on bandwidth around the world, which used - as did the Cisco report - bandwidth speed data from Seattle-based Ookla, shows all of the world leaders with speeds many times that of Cisco's advanced requirement.

Even the laggards amongst today's dynamic, developing economies - such as such as India and the Philippines (both at 1.7Mbps), Indonesia (at 1.35Mbps), and Nigeria (at 880kbps) - meet the intermediate standard. Other developing hotspots such as Jordan (at 2.97Mbps), South Africa (at 3.02Mbps), and Kenya (at 3.31Mbps) are far above the advanced standard.

All this tells me that Cisco is on track with its projections. We'll be wallowing in zettabytes soon enough, and we'll have the capacity to do this. Now, if someone can help me figure out what this means for the hardware industry - chips, storage, and plumbing - I might get totally optimistic about the near future.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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