Cisco Global Cloud Index (2013 – 2018): Data Center and Cloud Traffic for the Next Five Years

November 4, 2014 - 4 Comments

What do our GCI Forecast projections mean for you?

Today, Cisco released the fourth annual update of its Global Cloud Index, or GCI (see media release). For most people who follow cloud-computing, it’s no real surprise to learn that global data center traffic will nearly triple over the next five years or that cloud traffic is expected to nearly quadruple. Examining the trends within the top-line forecast projections is where we begin to see what this growth means for service providers, businesses, and consumers (and how data center networking is being transformed).


For Service Providers and Data Center Operations:

GCI Highlight: The workload density (that is, workloads per physical server) for cloud data centers was 5.2 in 2013 and will grow to 7.5 by 2018. Comparatively, for traditional data centers, workload density was 2.2 in 2013 and will grow to 2.5 by 2018.

The Benefit: An important factor in the rapid expansion of cloud computing is increasing data center virtualization, which provides services that are flexible, fast-to-deploy, and efficient. Virtualized data centers require fewer physical servers and offer great scalability than traditional data centers. This can ease capex and opex pressures (allowing for investment in other areas).

For Large Enterprises and Small-to-Medium Business

GCI Highlight: By 2018, 31% of the cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centers, up from 22% in 2013 (33% public cloud workload CAGR from 2013 – 2018). By 2018, 69% of the cloud workloads will be in private cloud data centers, down from 78% in 2013 (21% private workload CAGR from 2013 – 2018).

The Benefit: As business’ sensitivity to costs related to IT resources grows along with a demand for agility, we expect to see a greater adoption of corporate public clouds. The strengthening of public cloud security will play a key role for many companies’ cloud strategies. While some mission-critical workloads may remain in traditional data centers or private cloud, trust in public clouds is gaining momentum. In general, cloud-computing enables businesses of all sizes to share services and data consistently across global workforces.

For Consumers

GCI Highlight: By 2018, 53% of the consumer Internet population (2 billion users) will use personal cloud storage, up from 38% (922 million users) in 2013.

The Benefit: Consumers want and expect to access their applications and content anytime, from anywhere, from a growing variety of devices. Cloud computing makes this desired ubiquity possible like never before. Cloud-based services such as consumer storage enable users to access their videos, music, pictures and other content seamlessly from multiple devices from virtually anywhere that offers a network connection.

These and other insights are covered comprehensively in the latest GCI Forecast report. You can find key global and regional highlights from the updated study in our infographic. And you can watch several short “alternative” GCI videos on Instagram and YouTube.

Please follow our Twitter conversation with #CiscoGCI or tweet us @CiscoVNI if you have any questions.

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  1. I don’t think that metrics are available but Thomas might explain…

  2. Are there metrics available for time to deploy?

  3. You said, “By 2018, 31% of the cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centers, up from 22% in 2013.”

    I’m wondering, will the advance of Hybrid Cloud adoption scenarios (in particular, the Cisco notion of an Intercloud model) perhaps change the public/private mix over time? Or, is it too soon to predict an outcome?

    BTW, kudos to you and your team, Thomas. Your informed market assessment is always thought provoking. I trust that this message finds you well.

    • Hello David,

      Thanks for your question (and great to hear from you). Hybrid cloud, as the name suggests is a combination of public and private clouds. In a hybrid cloud environment some of the cloud computing resources are managed in-house by an enterprise and some are provided by an external provider. For the purposes of the GCI study, we define private and public as distinct categories, so we don’t separately break out hybrid cloud as it is simply a superset of the two in varying degrees. That being said, we certainly acknowledge that there will be growth in hybrid clouds for a variety of architectural and cloud service support considerations. Cloud bursting is an example of hybrid cloud, where daily computing requirements are handled by a private cloud, but in case of sudden spurts of demand, the additional traffic demand (bursting) is handled by a public cloud. While we don’t offer a specific growth rate for hybrid cloud in this year’s study, I think it’s fair to say that a significant number of hybrid cloud solutions are in-service today and they are likely to grow along a similar trajectory range projected for private cloud (21% CAGR) and public cloud (33% CAGR) in terms of workloads installed over the forecast period (2013 – 2018).