Both consumer and business applications are responsible for the increasing dominance of cloud services over the internet, according to a new Cisco study.

The seventh annual Global Cloud Index (2016-2021) revealed that for businesses, enterprise resource planning (ERP), collaboration, analytics and other digital enterprise applications are the leading growth areas in cloud applications.

Driven by surging cloud applications, data centre traffic is seeing fast growth. Cisco has forecast that global cloud data centre traffic will reach 19.5 zettabytes (ZB) per year by 2021, a rise from six ZB per year in 2016. Globally, cloud data centre traffic will represent 95 per cent of total data centre traffic by 2021, compared to 88 per cent in 2016, the research found.

Cisco revealed that by 2021, 94 per cent of workloads and compute instances will be processed by cloud data centres, with the remaining six per cent being processed by traditional data centres.

Security innovations and tangible cloud computing benefits, including scalability and economies of scale, are key contributors to fuelling the growth projected in the study.

In addition, the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) applications – such as smart cars, smart cities, connected health and digital utilities – will require scalable computing and storage solutions to accommodate new and expanding data centre demands. By 2021, Cisco said it expects IoT connections to reach 13.7 billion, up from 5.8 billion in 2016.

Driven largely by the IoT, the total amount of data created by any device will reach 847 ZB per year by 2021, according to the index. This will mark a rise from the 218 ZB per year recorded in 2016. Data created is two orders of magnitude higher than data stored.

Kip Compton, vice-president of Cisco’s cloud platform and solutions group, said: “Data centre application growth is clearly exploding in this new multicloud world. This projected growth will require new innovations especially in the areas of public, private and hybrid clouds.”

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