The third annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (2012 - 2017) issued this week forecasts that global cloud traffic, the fastest growing component of data centre traffic, is expected to grow 4.5-fold -- a 35% combined annual growth rate (CAGR) -- from 1.2 zettabytes of annual traffic in 2012 to 5.3 zettabytes by 2017. Overall global data centre traffic will grow threefold and reach a total of 7.7 zettabytes annually by 2017.
A zettabyte is one billion terabytes. For context, 7.7 zettabytes is equivalent to 107 trillion hours of streaming music and 19 trillion hours of business web conferencing.
According to the index, upwards of 17% of data centre traffic will be fueled by end users accessing clouds for Web surfing, video streaming, collaboration and connected devices.
"People all over the world continue to demand the ability to access personal, business and entertainment content anywhere on any device, and each transaction in a virtualized, cloud environment can cause cascading effects on the network," said Doug Merritt, Senior Vice President, Product and Solutions Marketing, Cisco. "Because of this continuing trend, we are seeing huge increases in the amount of cloud traffic within, between and beyond data centres over the next four years."