Data Centers are the Central Offices of the Early 21st Century

“Cloud computing” now is becoming so fundamental that it is driving international bandwidth patterns and growth. Since data centers are central to cloud computing, it likewise will come as no surprise that data centers have functionally displaced central offices as the network nodes that drive traffic across networks.

There also is a good reason why “hybrid cloud” is viewed as a big opportunity by many in the cloud ecosystem. Despite the growth of public cloud operations, private cloud will represent 69 percent of cloud workloads in 2018, says Kelly Ahuja, Cisco SVP.

"When people discuss cloud, they often focus on public cloud services or public cloud storage services,” Ahuja said. “Even with public cloud workloads having significant growth, by 2018, almost 70 percent of cloud workloads will still be private cloud-related.”

By 2018, 69 percent (113.5 million) of the cloud workloads will be in private cloud data centers, down from 78 percent (44.2 million) in 2013, and 31 percent (52 million) of the cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centers, up from 22 percent (12.7 million) in 2013, Cisco says.

Cloud operations also are growing as a percentage of total data center traffic. In 2013, cloud accounted for 54 percent of total data center traffic, and, by 2018, cloud will account for 76 percent of total data center traffic.

Over the next five years, Cisco forecasts a tripling of data center traffic. Consumer Internet usage will drive much of the increase.

By 2018, half of the world's population will have residential Internet access, and more than half of those users' (53 percent) content will be supported by personal cloud storage services.

Mobile usage likewise will drive traffic. The Asia Pacific and North America regions will account for a little over half of global mobile traffic by 2019.

But the Middle East and Africa regions will experience the highest CAGR of 72 percent, increasing 15-fold between 2013 and 2018.

Central and Eastern Europe will have the second highest CAGR of 71 percent, increasing 14‑fold over the forecast period.

Latin America and Asia Pacific will have CAGRs of 59 percent and 58 percent, respectively.

Between 2013 and 2019, mobile traffic will grow 11 times in the Middle East, Central Europe and Africa, according to Ericsson.

Through 2018, the Middle East and Africa region is expected to have the highest cloud traffic growth rate (54 percent compound annual growth rate [CAGR]); followed by Central and Eastern Europe (39 percent CAGR); and Asia Pacific (37 percent CAGR).

Between 2009 and 2013, Middle East International bandwidth demand grew 61 percent compounded annually, according to TeleGeography.
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