7 major data centre and cloud networking trends for 2020

Cisco white paper predicts a faster and more connected world, where cloud finally takes centre stage in most sectors’ business roadmap.

In four years time, the enterprise world and indeed other sectors will be much more fluent when it comes to cloud services which will transform the data centre ecosphere as a result.

That is according to Cisco’s most recent white paper, “Global Cloud Index”, which looks at how the cloud space will evolve between 2015 and 2020.

As part of the cloud data centre portfolio, networks will also go under a deep makeover to cope with an even more, and ever growing, connected world.

For example, Cisco predicts that by 2020, over more than one extra billion of people will be connected to the internet, topping 4.1 billion users.

The number of networked devices and connections is expected to reach 26.3bn and 82% of all IP traffic is en route to be video.

Data Economy extracts the seven main trends Cisco predicts will come to fruition by 2020.


Growth of global data center relevance

cisco1The whitepaper opens explaining that from server closets to large hyperscale deployments, data centres are at the crux of delivering IT services and providing storage, communications, and networking to the growing number of networked devices, users, and business processes in general.

The growing importance of data analytics—the result of big data coming from ubiquitously networked end-user devices and IoE alike—has added to the value and growth of data centres.

This growth, especially propelled by the IoE, is leading to a booming scene in the hyperscale data centre landscape.

Thomas Barnett, Jr., Director, Cisco Systems’ SP Thought Leadership at Worldwide Service Provider Marketing Group, wrote in a blog: “Today, there are 24 hyperscale cloud operators that meet at least one of the one the following infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS), or other cloud service revenue requirements:

>$1B in IaaS/PaaS (e.g., Amazon/AWS, Rackspace, NTT, IBM)

>$2B in SaaS (e.g., Salesforce, Google, Microsoft, Oracle)

>$4B in Internet/search/social networking (e.g., Facebook, Apple, Tencent, Yahoo)

>$8B in e-commerce/payment processing (e.g., Amazon, eBay, Alibaba)

“Hyperscale data centres will grow from 259 at the end of 2015 to 485 by 2020. They will also house 47% of all installed data centre servers by 2020.”


Data centre IP traffic to three-fold


The importance and relevance of the global cloud evolution are highlighted by one of the top-line projections from this updated forecast: by 2020 more than 90% of data centre traffic will be cloud traffic.

Although the amount of global traffic crossing the Internet and IP WAN networks is projected to reach 2.3 ZB per year by 2020, the amount of annual global data centre traffic in 2015 is already estimated to have been 4.7 ZB and by 2020 will triple to reach 15.3 ZB per year. This increase represents a 27% CAGR.

Consumer IP traffic is expected to reach 10.9 ZB by 2020, while business IP traffic will account for 4.4 ZB. This is up from 4.3 ZB and 2.2 ZB respectively in 2016.

Traffic between data centres is growing faster than either traffic to end users or traffic within the data centre, and by 2020, traffic between data centres will account for almost 9% of total data centre traffic, up from 7% at the end of 2015.

Overall, traffic within the data centre and traffic between data centres, will represent 86% of total data centre by 2020, while traffic exiting the data centre to the Internet or WAN, is only 14% of traffic associated with data centres.

Data centre traffic on a global scale will grow at a 27% CAGR, but cloud data centre traffic will grow at a faster rate (30% CAGR) or 3.7-fold growth from 2015 to 2020.

Also part of this revolution are SDN/NFV networks, which will see an uptake. Cisco’s index says most major hyperscale data centres already employ flat architectures and software-defined network and storage management, and adoption of SDN/ NFV within large-scale enterprise data centres has been rapid.

As a portion of traffic within the data centre, SDN/NFV is already transporting 23%, growing to 44% by 2020.


Continued global data centre virtualisation

cisco3The Cisco Global Cloud Index forecasts the continued transition of workloads from traditional data centres to cloud data centres. By 2020, 92% of all workloads will be processed in cloud data centres.

Cloud workloads are expected to more than triple (grow 3.2-fold) from 2015 to 2020, whereas traditional data centre workloads are expected to see a global decline, at a negative 3% CAGR from 2015 to 2020.

One of the main factors prompting the migration of workloads from traditional data centres to cloud data centres is the greater degree of virtualisation in the cloud space, which allows dynamic deployment of workloads in the cloud to meet the dynamic demand of cloud services.

This greater degree of virtualisation in cloud data centres can be expressed as workload density.

The workload density for cloud servers will grow from 7.3 in 2015 to 11.9 by 2020. In comparison, the workload density in traditional data centre servers will grow from 2.2 in 2015 to 3.5 by 2020.

In addition, in the paper it read: “As the business sensitivity to costs associated with dedicated IT resources grows along with demand for agility, we can see a greater adoption of public cloud by the businesses, especially with strengthening of public cloud security.”

While the overall cloud workloads are growing at a CAGR of 26% from 2015 to 2020, the public cloud workloads are going to grow at 35% CAGR from 2015 to 2020, and private cloud workloads will grow at a slower pace of 15% CAGR from 2015 to 2020.

In 2016 there are more workloads (56%) in the public cloud as compared to private cloud (44%).


Cloud service trends

cisco4Cisco sees the rise of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS as the three main cloud service categories for the next few years.

The index says: “At the aggregate cloud level, we find that SaaS workloads maintain majority share throughout the forecast years, and by 2020 will have 74% share of all cloud workloads, growing at 30% CAGR from 2015 to 2020.

“PaaS will have the second-fastest growth, although it will lose the share of total cloud workloads from 9% in 2015 to 8% by 2020.”

As trust in adoption of SaaS or mission-critical applications builds over time with technology enablement in processing power, storage advancements, memory advancements, and networking advancements, we foresee the adoption of SaaS type applications to accelerate over the forecast period, while shares of IaaS and PaaS workloads decline.

As public SaaS solutions become more sophisticated and robust, larger enterprises are adopting these services as well, beginning with less-critical services.

Enterprises, especially large ones, will be carefully weighing the benefits (scalability, consistency, cost optimization, and so on) of adopting public cloud services against the risks (security, data integrity, business continuity, and so on) of adopting such services.


Workloads by application

cisco5Cisco says: “We estimate that in 2015 enterprises (including SMB, government, and public sector) accounted for 79% of workloads and consumers 21%.

“Consumer share of the total will grow to 28% by 2020, while enterprise sector share will decline to 72%.”

By 2020, traditional and private cloud data centres will lose share to public clouds across all applications except for database/analytics/IoE and other business application categories. In the latter categories, private clouds will mostly maintain their share.


Data centre and cloud storage: capacity and utilisation

cisco6Total data centre storage capacity will grow nearly 5-fold from 2015 to 2020, growing from 382 EB in 2015 to 1.8 ZB by 2020. Cloud will account for 88% of the total storage capacity.

The data stored in data centres will quintuple by 2020 to reach 915 EB by 2020, up 5.3-fold (a CAGR of 40%) from 171 EB in 2015.

Big data will reach 247 EB by 2020, up almost 10-fold from 25 EB in 2015. Big data alone will represent 27 percent of data stored in data centres by 2020, up from 15 percent in 2015.

As large as the data stored in data centres will be (nearly 1 zettabyte by 2020), the amount of data stored on devices will be 5 times higher: 5.3 ZB by 2020.

Out of the combined 6.2 ZB of stored data in the world, most stored data will continue to reside in client devices, as it does today.

Currently, 61 percent of data stored on client devices resides on PCs. By 2020, stored data on PCs will reduce to 52%, with a greater portion of data on smartphones, tablets, and machine-to-machine (M2M) modules.

Stored data associated with M2M grows at a faster rate than any other device category.

Cisco GCI estimates that by 2020, 59% (2.3 billion) of the consumer Internet population will use personal cloud storage, up from 47% (1.3 billion users) in 2015.

The white paper also forecasts that global consumer cloud storage traffic will grow from 8 EB annually in 2015 to 48 EB by 2020 at a CAGR of 42%.

This growth translates to per-user traffic of 1.7 gigabytes (GB) per month by 2020, compared to 513 MB per month in 2015.


Global Digitisation: Impact of IoE


600 ZB will be generated by all people, machines, and things by 2020, up from 145 ZB generated in 2015.

Most of the more than 600 ZB that will be generated by 2020 will be ephemeral in nature and will be neither saved nor stored.

Much of this ephemeral data is not useful to save, but we estimate that approximately 10 percent is useful, which means that there will be ten times more useful data being created (60 ZB, 10 percent of the 600 total) than will be used (6 ZB) in 2020. Edge or fog computing might help bridge this gap.

Cisco continued to say in the paper that a key issue for IoT in the coming years is subsidiarity, i.e. performing the data analysis at the appropriate level.

In most cases, there will be a blend of approaches and the functionality to manage local as well as central application management will be increasingly critical.


Source: Cisco Global Cloud Index. To read the full white paper, access here.