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Cisco's New Global Cloud Index

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Cisco's New Global Cloud Index

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A few days ago Cisco announced their new Global Cloud Index, offering impressive statistics on data center traffic and ambitious analysis of cloud trends.

Their own summary is a little complex (complete with two footnotes):

The Cisco Cloud Index covers three crucial areas focused on data center and cloud traffic trends and next-generation service or application adoption. They include:

  • Data center and cloud traffic forecast, which offers projections from 2010-2015 on global data center and cloud traffic rates
  • Workload transition, which provides 2010-2015 projections for workloads* moving from traditional IT to cloud-based architectures
  • Cloud readiness**, which provides regional statistics on broadband adoption as a precursor for cloud services

*Workload is defined as an independent service or collection of code that can be executed.

** Cloud readiness compares average global network speeds and latencies (consumer and business) to assess each region's ability to support a sample set of cloud services. 

and has already generated some slightly mystified skepticism from Joe Panettieri:


When you compete in a crowded market, you need to find a creative way to rise above the noise. In Cisco Systems’ case, the networking giant has launched the Cisco Global Cloud Index. But what exactly is the index — and what need does it potentially fill for cloud services providers (CSPs) and their customers?

Since Cisco's own summary isn't perfectly transparent, it might be simpler to skip directly to Cisco's forecast and methodology, to see exactly what Cisco is looking at and how they interpret it.

Here's what they say about their supporting data:

The Cisco Global Cloud Index is generated from a modeling and analysis of various primary and secondary sources, including more than 30 terabytes of data generated each month over the past year from a variety of data centers around the globe, measurements of more than 45 million broadband-speed tests and third-party market forecasts.

And their most striking projection?

Global data center traffic will quadruple to 4.8 zettabytes by 2015. But most of this traffic will stay within the data center (take that, Netflix!), chiefly, says Cisco, because the bandwidth occupied by video is balanced by the virtualization of data centers at every level. And cloud traffic will grow twice as fast as global data center traffic in general, with over 50% of workloads to be processed in the cloud by 2014.

Cisco's full white paper is packed with interesting info, including global download speeds by region and connection type, and helpful analysis, discussing (for example) how the complex network paths created by cloud adoption will affect data center operations much more in five years than at present.

For the brief, fun version, though, check out the series of infographics Cisco produced to showcase their conclusions to a wider (or tl;dr-ing) audience.

If Cisco's forecast is correct, then you'll definitely want to read their predictions as soon as possible.


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