Global cloud traffic to grow 44pc to 4.3 zettabytes by 2016, Cisco says

23 Oct 2012

Cisco’s second annual global Cloud Index reveals that data centre traffic is to grow fourfould and reach 6.6 zettabytes a year by 2016. The largest component of this traffic – cloud traffic – is tipped to grow six-fold or 44pc to 4.3 zettabytes by 2016.

According to Cisco, the vast majority of the data centre traffic is not caused by end users but by data centres and cloud-computing workloads used in activities that are virtually invisible to individuals.

Between 2011 and 2016, Cisco forecasts that roughly 76pc of data centre traffic will stay within the data centre and will be largely generated by storage, production and development data.

An additional 7pc of data centre traffic will be generated between data centres, primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates.

The remaining 17pc of data centre traffic will be fuelled by end users accessing clouds for web surfing, emailing and video streaming.

Geographically, the US generated the most cloud traffic, followed by Asia-Pacific and Western Europe in 2011.

By 2016, Asia-Pacific will have generated the most cloud traffic, followed by North America and Western Europe.

How much data is 6.6 zettabytes?

In terms of what 6.6 zettabytes looks like in data, it is equal to:

·      92trn hours of streaming music – that’s equal to every single person on the planet playing about 1.5 years of continuous streaming music in 2016

·      16trn hours of business web conferencing – or the equivalent of the world’s workforce doing web conferencing 12 hours a day in 2016

·      7trn hours of HD video streaming – the same amount of data required if every person on earth in 2016 watched 2.5 hours of streamed HD video every day

Data traffic image via Shutterstock

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years