Global cloud index projects continued strong growth

By 2021, 75 percent of total cloud workloads and compute instances will be SaaS workloads and compute instances, Cisco predicts, while IaaS will account for 16 percent.

Jeff Rowe | Feb 12, 2018 12:00 am

Many health IT managers are still grappling with whether, and to what extent, to move their IT systems into the cloud, but the cloud itself certainly isn’t waiting for them to make up their minds.

Cisco recently released the seventh annual Cisco® Global Cloud Index (2016-2021), which focuses on data center virtualization and cloud computing, and it documents how both consumer and business applications are contributing to the growing dominance of cloud services. 

Driven by the rapid increase in use of cloud apps, including a growing array of health apps, data center traffic is growing fast and is expected to reach 19.5 zettabytes (ZB) per year by 2021, up from a mere 6.0ZB per year in 2016. And by 2021, cloud data center traffic will represent 95 percent of total data center traffic, compared to 88 percent in 2016.

The growth of Internet of Things (IoT) applications, including connected health devices, will also expand data center demands, the report notes. By 2021, Cisco expects IoT connections to reach 13.7 billion, up from 5.8 billion in 2016.

All of this has led to the rise of what the networking giant is calling 'hyperscale data centers' -- large-scale public cloud data centers. The report projects there will be 628 hyperscale data centers globally by 2021, compared to 338 in 2016.

Moreover, by then, these data centers will hold 53 percent of all data center servers (up from 27 percent in 2016), account for 69 percent of all data center processing power (compared to 41 percent in 2016), 65 percent of all data stored in data centers (51 percent in 2016) and 55 percent of all data center traffic (up from 39 percent in 2016).

Other predictions from the report:

    •    Globally, the data stored in data centers will nearly quintuple by 2021 to reach 1.3ZB

    •    The amount of data stored on devices will be 4.5-times higher than data stored in data centers, at 5.9ZB by 2021.

    •    Driven largely by IoT, the total amount of data created (and not necessarily stored) by any device will reach 847ZB per year by 2021, up from 218ZB per year in 2016.