Backup, Virtualization, and the Next Big Thing: Data Traffic Growth

In part 1 of this series, we gave an overview of a simple yet powerful concept: virtualization isn’t the next big thing (NBT) because it was the last big thing (LBT) – virtualization is our foundation.   If your planning for your data center and the backup of that data center assumes that virtualization is in effect the “end of history”, you’re going to be in trouble – because there are some exciting new technologies ahead.

When we talk about backup and the next generation data center, the first thing we’re going to discuss are the projected data center trends.  The number one trend that data center administrators are facing is the rise in data traffic.  In the chart below, which was created from data from the Cisco Global Cloud Index, 2012-2017, we see that growth in data center IP traffic is increasing enormously – from 2.6 zettabytes in 2012 to a projected 7.7 zettabytes in 2017.  This means that IP traffic growth is growing at a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 25%.

A 25% compounded growth rate doesn’t sound like that big a number – until you realize that you’re talking about an almost 300% increase in the amount of data traffic from 2012 to 2017.  This is what’s driving a lot of the interest in SDN (Software Defined Networking) – as the amount of data increases, the complexity associated with keeping the network operating efficiently grows exponentially.

Clearly this is an enormous amount of aggregate data.  So what’s the source of all of this data?  That’s what we discuss in part 2 of this series.


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