There is no doubt that the cloud has become essential for today’s businesses. Whether it is utilized to arm a remote workforce, to store critical materials for disaster recovery purposes or to remove certain stress from on-premise environments, the cloud is being used at an increasing level in nearly every industry.
As the cloud continues to make up a larger part of enterprise computing infrastructures, however, the practice is having specific impacts on those that use the platform, as well as those that provide the support for cloud environments.
Cloud traffic continues to grow
Recent Cisco research illustrated the scale at which cloud traffic is growing. According to the third annual Cisco Global Cloud Index, cloud traffic coming from businesses around the world is now the fastest growing component of data center traffic. Furthermore, Cisco estimated that at this rate, global cloud traffic will increase by more than 4-fold during the next few years. Overall, cloud data center traffic will grow at a 35 percent compound annual rate until 2017, rising from 1.2 zettabytes of annual traffic to 7.7 zettabytes in the next three years.
“People all over the world continue to demand the ability to access personal, business and entertainment content anywhere on any device, and each transaction in a virtualized, cloud environment can cause cascading effects on the network,” said Doug Merritt, Cisco product and solutions marketing senior vice president. “Because of this continuing trend, we are seeing huge increases in the amount of traffic within, between and beyond data centers over the next four years.”
This growth in cloud traffic will also come from distinctly different sources. Cisco estimated that 17 percent of cloud data will come as a result of users leveraging the cloud to access Web materials, to stream video content, to collaborate with one another on mobile devices as well as data contributing to the Internet of Everything. Another 76 percent of cloud data will come from data centers, including processes related to cloud storage, production and data development in a virtual environment.
Data center operators grow their service footprints
As a result of this steep rise in cloud traffic, data center operators are increasing their service footprints to ensure users have reliable cloud services. One such group is Oracle, which announced in late 2013 that it planned to add four cloud data centers to boost its global cloud computing infrastructure. These new facilities, which include locations in Canada and Germany, are scheduled to come online in the second quarter of this year. Overall, this will bring Oracle’s cloud data center footprint to 17 cloud computing facilities in total.
“Oracle operates a mission-critical cloud, and we understand that cloud services need to deliver more than our already industry leading breadth and depth of cloud service functionality,” noted Oracle President Mark Hurd. “We are excited to announce this expansion as further commitment to our global customer base and their data residency requirements.”
Oracle isn’t the only organization boosting its cloud computing service footprint as a result of increasing cloud usage. According to Data Center Knowledge, IBM announced earlier this year that it will commit more than $1.2 billion to expand its global cloud reach. With this investment capital, IBM will add 15 new cloud data centers, enabling the company to deliver services from 40 computing facilities across 15 countries.
The new IBM cloud data centers will be built in Washington D.C., Dallas, Canada, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Japan, India and London. The service provider also has plans to boost its cloud data center footprint in the Middle East and Africa next year. This is just the most recent step in a the company’s cloud initiative, which it first began investing in in 2007.
“IBM is continuing to invest in high growth areas,” noted Erich Clementi, IBM global technology services senior vice president. “Last year, IBM make a big investment adding the $2 billion acquisition of Softlayer to its existing high value cloud portfolio. Today’s announcement is another major step in driving a global expansion of IBM’s cloud footprint and helping clients drive transformation.”
As cloud computing continues to become a more pervasive and critical resource for today’s corporate users, data center operators must respond by growing their service capabilities alongside client needs.