Cloud Reigns On Network Parade

It seems that the huge growth in the numbers of users and devices won’t be the only contributor to network utilization over the next few years. Cloud-based network traffic is expected to grow 600% by 2016, according to a new report from Cisco, which today said it will buy privately held cloud networking company Meraki for $1.2 billion in cash as part of its cloud and networking strategy.

During this period leading up to 2016, the report claims data center traffic will increase 400% and reach a total of 6.6 zettabytes annually by 2016. However, the majority of this data center traffic — 76% — will be generated by data centers and cloud-computing workloads used in activities that are virtually invisible to individuals, including storage, production and development data. An additional 7% will be generated between data centers, primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates.

The data from the Cisco Global Cloud Index (2011-2016) study predicts that cloud traffic will grow from 39% (57 exabytes per month and 683 exabytes annually) to 64% percent (355 exabytes/month and 4.3 zettabytes/year) by 2016. 30% of workloads were processed in the cloud last year, with 70% handled in a traditional data center, but by 2014 the majority of workloads (52%) will shift to the cloud, and will be 62% by 2016.

“One of the key takeaways from the study is that enhanced data center virtualization is a key networking benefit that is driving many organizations to cloud computing,” said Thomas Barnett, director of thought leadership in Cisco’s worldwide service provider marketing group. “In the past, one server carried one workload. However, with increasing server computing capacity and virtualization, multiple workloads per physical server are common in cloud architectures. The results include fewer physical servers to support higher processing demands, more efficient data center operations, and more ubiquitous access to network services and content for consumers and business users.”

Cloud WAN optimization — both physical and virtual appliances — is attracting growing interest and helping to keep the market strong, with enterprises loving the quick deployment times and flexibility these virtual and cloud acceleration solutions offer. “It’s an awful lot easier to move around a virtual anything. You don’t have to ship appliances across a region or ocean. So it typically lowers costs and makes it faster and easier to deploy,” said Dr. Jim Metzler of Ashton, Metzler & Associates.

Pricing for virtual appliances is also helping grow the market, making WANOp more accessible to midsize and small companies looking to accelerate network traffic saturated with real-time applications like voice and video. And for those looking to kick some tires before buying, Silver Peak offers a free lightweight virtual WAN optimization.

Image credit: Counterpoints Arts (flickr) – CC-BY-2.0