Cisco estimates cloud traffic will grow 33 percent per year each year through 2019, resulting in a 55 percent surge in the use of cloud storage facilities.

According to Cisco’s 5th Global Cloud Index, global cloud traffic will more than quadruple — jumping from 2.1 zettabytes (ZB) in 2014 to 8.6 ZB at the end of 2019. It will outpace the growth of total global data center IP traffic, which is forecast to triple during the same time (and increase from 3.4 ZB to 10.4 ZB).

Cisco notes that 10.4 ZB is equivalent to:

  • 144 trillion hours of streaming music or about 26 months of continuous music streaming for the world’s population in 2019 (7.6 billion people, according to the UN)
  • 26 trillion hours of business web conferencing with a webcam or about 21 hours of daily web conferencing for the world’s workforce in 2019
  • 6.8 trillion of high-definition (HD) movies viewed online or about 2.4 hours of daily streamed HD movies for the world’s population in 2019
  • 1.2 trillion hours of ultra-high definition (UHD) video streaming or about 25 minutes of daily streamed UHD video for the world’s population in 2019

"Cloud is moving well beyond a regional trend to becoming a mainstream solution globally,” said Doug Webster, vice president of service provider marketing, Cisco.

What's more, the Internet of Things (IoT) or Internet of Everything (IoE), as Cisco calls it, could significantly increase cloud traffic. An increasing number of IoT/IoE applications are generating large volumes of data, which could soar to 507.5 ZB per year (42.3 ZB per month) by 2019. That's 49 times greater than the projected global data center traffic.

Planning Your Cloud Traffic

According to Cisco, the Global Cloud Index was developed to estimate global data center and cloud-based traffic growth and trends. Given Cisco’s footprint here, it’s a fundamental tool for its planning and projects.

The report is based on information harvested from multiple analyst firms and international agencies (including Gartner, IDC, Juniper Research, Ovum, Synergy, ITU and the United Nations). As well as gauging the level of traffic, the report also identifies several factors driving cloud traffic and accelerated growth, including:

  • Personal cloud demands of an increasing number of mobile devices
  • Rapid growth in popularity of public cloud services for business
  • Increased degree of virtualization in private clouds which is increasing the density of those workloads.

Webster noted that enterprise and government organizations are moving from test cloud environments to trusting clouds with their mission-critical workloads.

By region, North America will have the highest cloud traffic volume (3.6 ZB) by 2019; followed by Asia Pacific (2.3 ZB) and Western Europe (1.5 ZB).

What's the state of global cloud readiness? Cisco analyzed the average and median upload/download speeds and latencies of fixed and mobile networks for more than 150 countries. This year:

  • 81 countries met the single advanced application readiness criteria for mobile networks, up from 21 countries last year

  • 119 countries, met the single advanced application criteria for fixed networks; up from 109 countries last year