Cloud computing set to take over data centers

November 14, 2014

It's easy to get caught up in abstractions in discussions about cloud computing. Analysts and commentators talk about how the cloud is becoming more ubiquitous to the point where it gets taken for granted. Unfortunately, what gets overlooked in all the abstractions is the actual, quantifiable growth that the cloud has already undergone and will continue to manifest in the next five years.

Majority of data center traffic will come from the cloud by 2018
Rather than speak of the cloud's growth in vague terms, recent forecasts have put some numbers behind it – numbers that seem to predict colossal growth for the technology.  A recent report from Cisco stated that 76 percent of all data center traffic will come from the cloud by 2018. The report also found that data center traffic will triple in volume from its 2013 level of 3.1 zettabytes per year to 8.6 zettabytes per year in 2018.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is also set to dominate over the next 4 years, with Cisco predicting that 59 percent of cloud workloads will come from SaaS usage. Infrastructure and Platform as a Service, however, are slated to see a decline these next few years. The report found that by 2018, only 28 percent of the total cloud workloads will be Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) workloads, down from the 44 percent mark in 2013. 13 percent of the total workloads in the cloud in 2018 will be Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) workloads, down from 15 percent in 2013.

Drivers of data center traffic
So what's driving all of this cloud use? Enterprise Tech reported that 50 percent of the global population will have Internet access by 2018. With this, the use of public cloud solutions for storing pictures, texts, games and other things will skyrocket.

As Cisco noted, the Internet of Things (IoT) trend will also have an impact on cloud traffic in data centers as more and more connected devices make their way onto the consumer market and start generating and storing more data. The report found that globally, the data created by IoT devices will reach 403 ZB per year by 2018, from 113.4 ZB per year in 2013.

Declining prices for cloud storage are certainly playing into this trend as well, with major providers providing more space at consistently lower prices.