Global cloud traffic will grow 4.5-fold – a 35 percent combined annual growth rate, from 1.2 zettabytes of annual traffic in 2012 to 5.3 zettabytes by 2017, according to the Cisco (News - Alert) Global Cloud Index, 2012-2017.
Overall global data center traffic will grow threefold and reach a total of 7.7 zettabytes annually by 2017.
About 17 percent of data center traffic will be fueled by end users accessing clouds for Web surfing, video streaming, collaboration and connected devices.
Cisco forecasts that seven percent of data center traffic will be generated between data centers, primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates.
But most of the traffic, about 76 percent, will stay within the data center and will be largely generated by storage, production and development data in a virtualized environment.
That last finding is key, since it suggests global backbone networks will support 24 percent of cloud-related traffic, while most continues to move locally, on-premises, within data centers.
Through 2017, the Middle East and Africa will have the highest cloud traffic growth rate (57 percent CAGR), followed by Asia Pacific (43 percent CAGR) and Central and Eastern Europe (36 percent CAGR).
Global cloud traffic will account for more than two-thirds of total global data center traffic, even if most of that traffic essentially is local area network data that does not touch the backbone communications networks.
Globally, cloud traffic will grow from 46 percent (98 exabytes per month or 1.2 zettabytes annually) of total data center traffic in 2012 to 69 percent of total data center traffic (443 exabytes per month or 5.3 zettabytes annually) of total data center traffic by 2017.
By 2017, North America will generate the most cloud traffic (1.886 zettabytes annually), followed by Asia Pacific (1.876 zettabytes annually) and Western Europe (770 exabytes annually).
And 2014 will be the first year in which the majority of workloads shift to the cloud. By 2014, 51 percent of all workloads will be processed in the cloud compared to 49 percent in the traditional IT environment.
By 2017, 63 percent of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers while 37 percent will be processed by traditional data centers.
None of that would be unexpected if in fact the data processing architecture is shifting to cloud mechanisms.