Global Cloud Index: Traffic to Grow Sixfold by 2016

In the second annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (2011-2016), Cisco forecasts global data center traffic to grow fourfold and reach a total of 6.6 zettabytes annually by 2016. The company also predicts global cloud traffic, the fastest-growing component of data center traffic, to grow sixfold – a 44 percent combined annual growth rate (CAGR) – from 683 exabytes of annual traffic in 2011 to 4.3 zettabytes by 2016.

For context, 6.6 zettabytes is equivalent to:
  • 92 trillion hours of streaming music – Equivalent to about 1.5 years of continuous music streaming for the world's population in 2016.
  • 16 trillion hours of business Web conferencing – Equivalent to about 12 hours of daily Web conferencing for the world's workforce in 2016.
  • 7 trillion hours of online high-definition (HD) video streaming – Equivalent to about 2.5 hours of daily streamed HD video for the world's population in 2016.
The vast majority of the data center traffic is not caused by end users but by data centers and cloud-computing workloads used in activities that are virtually invisible to individuals.

For the period 2011-2016, Cisco forecasts that roughly 76 percent of data center traffic will stay within the data center and will be largely generated by storage, production and development data. An additional 7 percent of data center traffic will be generated between data centers, primarily driven by data replication and software/system updates.

The remaining 17 percent of data center traffic will be fueled by end users accessing clouds for Web surfing, emailing and video streaming.

From a regional perspective, the Cisco Global Cloud Index predicts that through 2016, the Middle East and Africa will have the highest cloud traffic growth rate, while the Asia Pacific region will process the most cloud workloads, followed by North America.

Overview of the Latest Worldwide Market Study:
  • The Cisco Global Cloud Index (2011-2016) was developed to estimate global data center and cloud-based Internet Protocol (IP) traffic growth and trends. The Cisco Global Cloud Index serves as a complementary resource to existing network traffic studies, providing new insights and visibility into emerging trends affecting data centers and cloud architectures. The forecast becomes increasingly important as networks and data centers become more intrinsically linked in offering cloud services.
  • The Cisco Global Cloud Index includes a "workload transition" forecast, which shows the workload shifting from traditional data centers to more virtualized cloud servers.
  • The forecast also includes a supplement on Cloud Readiness Regional Details, which examines the fixed and mobile network abilities of each global region (from nearly 150 countries) to support business and consumer cloud-computing applications and services.
  • The Cisco Global Cloud Index is generated by modeling and analysis of various primary and secondary sources, including 40 terabytes of traffic data sampled from a variety of global data centers over the past year; results from more than 90 million network tests over the past two years; and third-party market research reports. 

"As cloud traffic continues to proliferate in a new world of many clouds, the Cisco Global Cloud Index provides all cloud computing stakeholders with a very valuable barometer to make strategic, long-term planning decisions. This year's forecast confirms that strong growth in data center usage and cloud traffic are global trends, driven by our growing desire to access personal and business content anywhere, on any device. When you couple this growth with projected increases in connected devices and objects, the next-generation Internet will be an essential component to enabling much greater data center virtualization and a new world of interconnected clouds," said Doug Merritt, senior vice president, Corporate Marketing, Cisco Systems.

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Europeans are Demanding More Open Video Calling

As video calling usage increases, 81 percent of Europeans say that they now see it as personally important for them that these communications technologies work together, according to the findings from a recent market study.

In a clear signal to the video communications industry, 86 percent want companies to agree to a common standard so that software and devices -- including popular video calling apps like Skype, Facetime, and Google Chat -- are able to communicate with one another.

Unfortunately, that is still not the case in video calling, as opposed to speaking on the phone or exchanging emails, where interoperability is already the norm.

Europeans appear to have a very healthy appetite for video communications. In a survey of 1873 consumers, conducted on behalf of Cisco Systems, nearly 40 percent of those who use video calling said they will use it more often in the next twelve months, whereas only 4 percent expect to use it less often.

Growing Applications for Video Calling

What particularly attracts people to video calling is that it allows them to talk face-to-face with friends and family across the world. However, they are just as enthusiastic -- and sometimes even more so -- about possible applications of video calling technology in areas such as healthcare, education, and in the workplace.

Of those surveyed, 80 percent see video calling as an important way for patients in distant rural areas to talk face-to-face to medical specialists in cities without travelling, while 69 percent believe the technology has an important role in enabling teachers and other educators to hold live lectures and classes by video calling and to interact with students in real-time.

However, survey respondents are even clearer in pointing out that they want multiple devices or programs made by different companies to be able to communicate with one another.

Of those surveyed, 81 percent indicate such communication to be extremely important to their use of video, an unambiguous indication that people have little tolerance for potential glitches caused by a lack of interoperability.

Given the size of its market share in particular, 78 percent of respondents believe that Microsoft should open its Skype video platform. Moreover, 72 percent deem Microsoft's decision not to make Skype interoperable to be unfair to its users.

Key Highlights from the Video Calling Survey
  • 85 percent of respondents want companies to agree to a common standard for video calling so programs work together.
  • 84 percent believe that video calling should be as easy as making a phone call.
  • 79 percent want Skype to be interoperable with other video technologies.

This survey was conducted by Purple Strategies and based on 1873 telephone interviews. For additional details on related trends, view an infographic that outlines business leader thoughts about in-person and online video meetings.
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How Government Early-Adopters Use Cloud Services

What are the best practices for deploying managed cloud services? Case studies have now confirmed that cloud services can be a better, faster, less expensive and less risky way to source Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions, according to the latest market study by Ovum.

Results from recent research conducted by Ovum details the experiences of five public sector organizations that have successfully deployed cloud services -- either with Infrastructure-as-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

Highlighting the known benefits and the catalysts that empower organizations to embrace the cloud service delivery model, Ovum says they have developed a framework to assist government agencies in understanding the organizational factors associated with early adoption of managed cloud services.

Moving Beyond Analysis Paralysis

"Cloud services have long been debated across the globe, but it is now time to stop discussing theory and start discussing the actual experiences of early adopters,” says Dr Steve Hodgkinson, Director of IT research and advisory services at Ovum.

According to their assessment, many government agencies are stuck in a mode of perpetual cloud service evaluation. Meanwhile, they're unable to sustainably develop strong ICT capabilities because of funding, resource and skill constraints.

That being said, we know that mature enterprise-grade cloud services will provide an innovation edge to agencies -- enabled by ICT capabilities delivered at a lower cost than would otherwise be possible.

The five case studies included in this research reinforce this key fact. Each of the agencies used cloud services to overcome constraints in their ICT capabilities, and the results were compelling.

Cheaper, Faster and Better ICT Solutions

These organizations found that the benefits were greater than expected while the risks and difficulties were lower than typically experienced with traditional ICT projects.

"These proof points reveal that cloud services do actually live up to the promise of better, faster, less expensive and less risky ICT," states Hodgkinson.

The Ovum cloud services catalysts framework defines the key leadership decisions, business needs and forward-thinking that explain why early adopters were able to embrace cloud services.

The framework provides guidance for considering the degree to which a cloud service is a good fit for an agency. It also provides a diagnostic tool for thinking about the catalysts that may need to be created or nurtured in order to enable agencies to understand and embrace cloud services.

Ovum believes that the case studies of early adopters reveal more about leadership and decision-making than they do about the abstract benefits of the cloud delivery model.

"Why is it that some agencies embrace cloud services while others remain sceptical -- and even fearful -- of the cloud services model? Our framework is a major step forward for understanding the enablers, and sticking points, of cloud services adoption in the public sector," concludes Dr Hodgkinson.

All five case studies were conducted in Australia and include:
  • The Salvation Army Employment Plus: 750 employees in 80 locations, all applications moved to Telstra Dedicated Hosting IaaS.
  • Monash University: 15,000 staff and 63,000 students all moved to Google Apps Education Edition SaaS.
  • The Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management: a CRM application for coal seam gas exploration regulation deployed for 30 users using Microsoft Dynamics CRM SaaS.
  • The Torres Strait Island Regional Council: 350 employees, all applications moved to Telstra Utility Hosting IaaS.
  • The Victorian Department of Business and Innovation: CRM and grant administration applications deployed for over 450 employees using Salesforce SaaS/PaaS.
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Total ICT Spending to Increase by 5 percent in 2012

You may think that the worldwide economic downturn has negatively impacted most CIO's budgets, but so far that hasn't been the case. According to the latest market study by IDC, worldwide IT spending remains on course to grow by 6 percent this year in constant currency, that's only slightly down on last year's pace of 7 percent growth.

Strong performance in software, storage, enterprise network and mobile device markets has offset weaker trends in PCs, servers, peripherals and telecom provider equipment. However, the strength of the U.S. dollar in the first half of 2012 means that IT spending is on course for growth of just 4 percent this year.

Including telecom services, it's now estimated that total ICT spending will increase by 5 percent this year in constant currency to $3.6 trillion (that's growth of 2.5 percent in U.S. dollars).

"In spite of economic uncertainty, which continues to inhibit enterprise investment in some tech segments, the continuing demand for tablets, smartphones, storage capacity and network performance improvements actually outperformed expectations in the first half of the year," said Stephen Minton, Vice President, IDC Global Technology and Industry Research.

That being said, software spending has been very robust -- even in regions where economic trends have been weakest -- as businesses turn to software tools and cloud applications as a means of implementing their IT cost-reduction strategies.

Key Trends in the Worldwide IT Market include:
  • American business spending on IT remains on course for weaker performance than 2011 with growth of 5.9% (down from 8.5% last year); the launch of Windows 8 in Q4 may help to drive a meaningful recovery in the PC market next year.
  • While Western Europe remains weak overall due to the slow economy, software growth in Northern Europe was robust, and mobile device shipments (smartphones and tablets) have remained on course; excluding mobile devices, however, Europe is on course for just 1% growth in constant currency (a -4.5% decline in U.S. dollars).
  • The recovery in Japan has lost some momentum, with IT growth in constant currency now on course for an increase of just 2% this year before flat lining again in 2013.
  • Growth in emerging markets is still relatively strong,; in China, where the manufacturing sector has been impacted by slowing exports to Europe, IT spending is now on course for 14% growth this year in constant currency (down from 25% growth in 2011), with PC spending on course for growth of just 7% after a weaker-than-expected first half (down from 19% growth in 2011).
  • Strong growth is still expected in India (14%), Brazil (14%), Russia (11%) and South Africa (8%).
  • Overall Worldwide IT spending is now expected to grow by 6% in 2013 to $2.1 trillion (ICT spending including telecom services will increase by 5% next year to $3.8 trillion).

"In particular, the strength of software spending seems to prove that many enterprises have unlocked significant productivity and efficiency improvements. If the economy avoids downside scenarios in the second half of the year, a PC upgrade cycle in 2013 should help to maintain this momentum," said Minton.

IDC provides forecasts for IT spending in 54 countries around the world. These forecasts focus on 25 individual market segments across hardware, software, IT services, and telecom services for individual countries in all regions -- including North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa.
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