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Cloud traffic poised to quadruple by 2017, challenge CIOs

J.D. Sartain | Nov. 28, 2013
A recent report from Cisco Systems suggests that global cloud traffic will reach 5.3 zettabytes in 2017. That's more than four times the traffic seen in 2012. Analysts and vendors say this will have far-reaching implications for enterprise IT.

Managing Data, Cloud Traffic Will Be Difficult for IT Departments

Paul Miller, vice president of HP Converged Systems, says cloud computing drives "massive growth in digital data, data center traffic and the shifting of workloads across hybrid IT environments."

Such growth will be exponential, Miller says - to the tune of 40 ZB by 2020, according to projections from IDC - as the cloud, big data, and other technologies take further hold within the enterprise.

The challenge for CIOs will be managing these unprecedented volumes of traffic and data without breaking existing infrastructure, Miller says. If organizations continue with the traditional silos or hardware-defined data centers, they won't be able to efficiently scale.

Cloud virtualization may be ideal for these use cases, says Ben Uretsky, co-founder and CEO of cloud hosting provider Digital Ocean. It's already happening in emerging markets such as Asia, he says, "where there's a tradition of staying at the cusp of the technological curve."

This is in line with the Cisco report, which mentions that the Middle East and Africa will have the highest compounded annual growth rate of cloud traffic (57 percent), followed by Asia Pacific (43 percent) and Central and Eastern Europe (36 percent). As public clouds becoming more readily available in these regions, developers are bringing their applications to the Web and building them on top of cloud platforms, Uretsky says.

As infrastructure is virtualized, regardless of locale, developers take on a more operational role. "Not only do they control the code and applications, they control the infrastructure underneath, which mandates the integration of software developers and information technology," he says. "It won't be long before future IT departments revolve around developers, increasing the already rapid rate of innovation in cloud technology."

Cloud Can Solve Shared Hosting, Dedicated Server Problems

Cloud computing offers a flexible solution to the limitations of shared hosting and the high expense of dedicated servers, according to Uretsky. The principles are similar to shared hosting, but hardware is virtualized and managed by a hypervisor that can administer servers - as well as create partitions of CPU, memory, storage and network. Meanwhile, since each customer gets his or her own virtual server instance, and since there's no competition for resources among users, it appears as if each user has a dedicated server.

As Miller sees it, "organizations must turn to open, ecosystem-driven, software-defined networking or the software-defined data center" to manage the growing pool of resources needed to manage data. "Only this approach will fully automate the data center, enabling simpler and more streamlined environments to handle workloads of the future."



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