Story image

Cisco forecasts cloud data centre market to explode over next 4 years

06 Feb 18

Cisco has released its seventh annual Global Cloud Index (2016-2021) that shows booming growth for the entire industry.

The report focuses on data centre virtualisation and cloud computing with statistics clearly showing how they have become fundamental aspects in transforming how business and consumer network services are delivered.

Data centre traffic is snowballing rapidly, driven by surging cloud applications. According to Cisco, global cloud data centre traffic will reach 19.5 zettabytes (ZB) per year by 2021, up from just 6 ZB in 2016 (representing a compound annual growth rate of 27 percent).

And because of this, global cloud data centre traffic will strengthen its hold of total data centre traffic and represent 95 percent by 2021, compared to 88 percent in 2016.

Large scale public cloud data centres (aka hyperscale) are set to undergo colossal growth in the next four years, with Cisco predicting there to be 628 hyperscale data centres around the world by 2021 – almost double 2016’s figure of 338.

Cisco asserts by 2021 hyperscale data centres will support:

  • 53 percent of all data centre servers (27 percent in 2016)
  • 69 percent of all data centre processing power (41 percent in 2016)
  • 65 percent of all data stored in data centres (51 percent in 2016)
  • 55 percent of all data centre traffic (39 percent in 2016)

“Data centre application growth is clearly exploding in this new multicloud world. This projected growth will require new innovations especially in the areas of public, private and hybrid clouds,” says Cisco’s cloud platform and solutions group vice president Kip Compton.

Other major drivers of cloud’s rapid rise include improved security and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Security concerns have been a major barrier to cloud adoption in the past, but advancements in data centre governance and data control have helped minimise enterprise risk and better protect consumer information.

Meanwhile, IoT applications such as smart cars, smart cities, connected health and digital utilities requires scalable computing and storage solutions to accommodate new and expanding data centre demands – Cisco expects IoT connections to reach 13.7 billion by 2021, up from 5.8 billion in 2016.

Some further highlights of the report include:

Data centre virtualisation and cloud computing growth 


  • By 2021, 94 percent of workloads and compute instances will be processed by cloud data centers; 6 percent will be processed by traditional data centres. 

  • Overall data centre workloads and compute instances will more than double (2.3-fold) from 2016 to 2021; however, cloud workloads and compute instances will nearly triple (2.7-fold) over the same period.
  • The workload and compute instance density for cloud data centres was 8.8 in 2016 and will grow to 13.2 by 2021. Comparatively, for traditional data centres, workload and compute instance density was 2.4 in 2016 and will grow to 3.8 by 2021.

Growth in stored data fueled by big data and IoT

  • Globally, the data stored in data centres will nearly quintuple by 2021 to reach 1.3 ZB by 2021, up 4.6-fold (a CAGR of 36%) from 286 EB in 2016.
  • Big data will reach 403 exabytes (EB) by 2021, up almost 8-fold from 25 EB in 2016. Big data will represent 30 percent of data stored in data centers by 2021, up from 18 percent in 2016.
  • The amount of data stored on devices will be 4.5 times higher than data stored in data centres, at 5.9 ZB by 2021.
  • Driven largely by IoT, the total amount of data created (and not necessarily stored) by any device will reach 847 ZB per year by 2021, up from 218 ZB per year in 2016. Data created is two orders of magnitude higher than data stored. 


Applications contribute to rise of global data centre traffic

  • By 2021, big data will account for 20 percent (2.5 ZB annual, 209 EB monthly) of traffic within data centres, compared to 12 percent (593 EB annual, 49 EB monthly) in 2016.
  • By 2021, video streaming will account for 10 percent of traffic within data centres, compared to 9 percent in 2016.
  • By 2021, video will account for 85 percent of traffic from data centres to end users, compared to 78 percent in 2016.
  • By 2021, search will account for 20 percent of traffic within data centres by 2021, compared to 28 percent in 2016.
  • By 2021, social networking will account for 22 percent of traffic within data centres, compared to 20 percent in 2016.

SaaS most popular cloud service model through 2021

  • By 2021, 75 percent (402 million) of the total cloud workloads and compute instances will be SaaS workloads and compute instances, up from 71 percent (141 million) in 2016. (23% CAGR from 2016 to 2021).
  • By 2021, 16 percent (85 million) of the total cloud workloads and compute instances will be IaaS workloads and compute instances, down from 21 percent (42 million) in 2016. (15% CAGR from 2016 to 2021).
  • By 2021, 9 percent (46 million) of the total cloud workloads and compute instances will be PaaS workloads and compute instances, up from 8% (16 million) in 2016. (23% CAGR from 2016 to 2021).
The disaster recovery-as-a-service market is on the rise
As time progresses and advanced technologies are implemented, the demand for disaster recovery-as-a-service is also expected to increase.
Dell dominates enterprise storage market, HPE declines
The enterprise storage system market continues to be a goldmine for most vendors with demand relentlessly rising year-on-year.
The key to financial institutions’ path to digital dominance
By 2020, about 1.7 megabytes a second of new information will be created for every human being on the planet.
Is Supermicro innocent? 3rd party test finds no malicious hardware
One of the larger scandals within IT circles took place this year with Bloomberg firing shots at Supermicro - now Supermicro is firing back.
Record revenues from servers selling like hot cakes
The relentless demand for data has resulted in another robust quarter for the global server market with impressive growth.
Opinion: Critical data centre operations is just like F1
Schneider's David Gentry believes critical data centre operations share many parallels to a formula 1 race car team.
MulteFire announces industrial IoT network specification
The specification aims to deliver robust wireless network capabilities for Industrial IoT and enterprises.
Google Cloud, Palo Alto Networks extend partnership
Google Cloud and Palo Alto Networks have extended their partnership to include more security features and customer support for all major public clouds.