Since the release of the last Cisco Global Cloud Index, cloud computing has evolved from an emerging technology to an established network solution. Cisco Global Cloud Index (GCI) Forecast for 2011-2016 reveals new insights and visibility into emerging trends affecting data centers and cloud architectures at organizations worldwide. Below is an excerpt.

“Qualitatively, the main drivers for cloud adoption include faster delivery of services and data, increased application performance, as well as improved operational efficiencies. While security and integration with existing IT environments continue to represent concerns for some potential cloud-based applications, a growing range of consumer and business cloud services are currently available. Today’s cloud services address varying customer requirements (for example, privacy, mobility, and multiple device access) and support near-term opportunities as well as long-term strategic priorities for network operators, both public and private.

Quantitatively, the impact of cloud computing on data center traffic is clear. It is important to recognize that most Internet traffic has originated or terminated in a data center since 2008. Data center traffic will continue to dominate Internet traffic for the foreseeable future, but the nature of data center traffic is undergoing a fundamental transformation brought about by cloud applications, services, and infrastructure. The importance and relevance of the global cloud evolution is highlighted by one of the top-line projections from this updated forecast-by 2016 nearly two-thirds of data center traffic will be cloud traffic.” 

The videos below summarize the methodology used in Cisco Global Cloud Index as well as its forecast at a high level. The rest of this blog will outline steps IT leads can take to prepare the network for those trends.


Methodology Overview

Unlike previous study, which accounted for all storage traffic, this Cisco Global Cloud Index includes only cloud related workload storage traffic. Analyst data (from firms such as IDC, Gartner, Informa, Ovum, ITU, United Nations) along with measured data from 10 enterprise and internet centers are then combined with installed based workloads and volume of bytes per workload per month to calculate traffic for current and future years.


Global Cloud Index Trends Overview

  • Global data center IP traffic will reach 6.6 zettabytes by the end of 2016, nearly quadruple over five years, growing at a CAGR of 31 percent from 2011 to 2016.
  • The number of workloads per installed traditional server and cloud server will increase from 1.5 in 2011 to 2.0 by 2016 and from 4.2 in 2011 to 8.5 by 2016, respectively.
  • Annual global cloud IP traffic will reach 4.3 zettabytes by the end of 2016, nearly two-third of global data center IP traffic, growing at a CAGR of 44 percent from 2011 to 2016.

To learn more | Read Cisco Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2011–2016 white paper

With 6.6 zettabytes of global data center IP traffic by 2016, cloud computing will become an imperative for accelerated application performance. Is your organization ready for cloud computing? Find out in three steps.

Step 1: Assess Your Network Cloud-readiness

You now know the trends, the next step is to assess your network. Here’s a simple test. The table below details the average network requirements for three levels of cloud applications: basic, intermediate, and advanced (Source: Cisco Global Cloud Index). Compare your network statistics against the appropriate level, and if one of the criteria doesn’t match, your network may not be ready.



Once you’ve done the comparison, see how your organization’s unique challenges stack up against peers using the Cisco Cloud Profile Tool.


Step 2: Benchmark Your Network

Knowing where your challenges stand in comparison to your peers provides valuable insights for an informed decision. Cisco Cloud Profile Tool (Mobile View) is a 10-question survey that will position your unique challenges with other organizations’ challenges. The tool generates a full recommendation report outlining how to show the value of cloud computing; the right questions to ask in determining which applications and services to use in private cloud or across multiple clouds; the need for collaboration (or not); how to set the stage for smooth cloud deployment; and how to identify stakeholders and business process changes. Most importantly, the report also highlights ways Cisco and Cisco Partners can help you build a cloud intelligent network and cloud applications and services to maximize current investment.


Step 3: Take Actions

Ok. By now you know you need to take actions, but where should you start? Cisco has a five-part webcast  series with specific topics – from identifying the gap between the network and the cloud to designing a next-generation, cloud-ready WAN – to guide you on the cloud journey. This series, aka Conquer the Cloud, is broadcasted on BrightTalk from September 26 through December 11. Previous sessions are available for replay on demand.

For an in-depth understanding on the economic benefits of the Cisco cloud solution, check out the ACG Research white paper that models Cisco developed and validated applications and services in (a) a private cloud implementation and (b) a single virtualized data center. The paper measures benefits in three forms: (1) service and application provisioning time, (2) cloud service delivery total cost of ownership (TCO), and (3) the maintenance expense share of the IT budget.


Solving tomorrow’s business and technology challenges requires an integrated approach that can keep pace with changing market dynamics, that allows for agility and elasticity, and is scalable. Cisco cloud solutions enable a connected world of people and things within, between, and beyond the clouds. Cisco and our partners are committed to deliver cloud computing solutions that are people-centric, assuring scalable cloud infrastructure with context-aware security and accelerated application experience.  Now, you shouldn’t just take our words for it – see how Cisco cloud solutions have helped customers across industries achieve growth and new capabilities globally (Read Cisco Cloud Customer Stories).


Anna Duong

Products & Solutions Marketing

Enterprise Network and Cloud