More and more companies are moving some or all of their data-center operations to specialty cloud-based services.
The traditional data center, with row after row of server racks and miles of cabling — is officially an endangered species. Taking its place are industrial-strength mega facilities that offer data-center-as-a-service to organizations of all sizes.
That's one of the conclusions of the Cisco Global Cloud Index, which forecasts that cloud data center traffic will increase at a 32% compound annual growth rate through 2018, compared to a CAGR of 8% for traditional data center traffic. The cloud's share of overall traffic will increase from 54% in 2013 to 76% in 2018.
Cisco's study projects that 78% of all data center workloads will be processed in the cloud by 2018, increasing at a CAGR of 24%. Simultaneously, traditional data center workloads will decrease at a -2% rate in the period.
A primary driver of this transition is the growing popularity of virtualization, which increases workload density (the average number of workloads per physical server). Cloud server workload density is forecast to grow from 5.2 in 2013 to 7.5 in 2018. For traditional data center servers, workload density will increase from 2.2 in 2013 to 2.5 in 2018.
On-Premises Data Centers Aren't Going Anywhere
Even with the shift to data processing in the cloud, there's still plenty of life left in the on-site data center. First and foremost, companies have made considerable investments in their IT departments, and they won't be walking away from that investment without having several darn good reasons.
A Dec. 10, 2014, article by Upsite Technologies explains that the typical data center goes from 5 to 15 years between major upgrades. In the interim, IT departments will focus on discrete, small-scale proof-of-concept projects to determine how the use of cloud data centers can support their existing operations. The real change happens when a data center reaches its end-of-life stage.
Spending on data center infrastructure by colocation and outsourcing services will eclipse end-user equipment investments by 2020. Source: DCD Intelligence
Of course, industry trends have a way of shortening technology lifecycles. The overall amount of data being generated, the diverse types of data, and the growing number of network endpoints created by a more mobile workforce all conspire to push existing data infrastructures to the breaking point and beyond.
IT Business Edge's Arthur Cole wrote in a Feb. 25, 2015, article that construction of so-called hyperscale facilities is booming, while spending on data center construction is flat. The Open Data Center Alliance has issued guidelines for implementing a cloud infrastructure that focuses on a seamless transition for IT consumers and managers alike.
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