It’s 2015, and it’s safe to say that many of us have our heads in the cloud. We’re using more mobile devices, requesting even more data from a variety of data center points, and are demanding even more from the infrastructure that is designed to support the next-generation cloud platform. Data centers are becoming massive hubs for multi-tenant environments which are continuously being tasked for more resources and are experiencing even more utilization.
The latest Cisco Cloud Index report indicates some pretty powerful trends:
- Annual global data center IP traffic will reach 8.6 zettabytes (715 exabytes [EB] per month) by the end of 2018, up from 3.1 zettabytes (ZB) per year (255 EB per month) in 2013.
- Global data center IP traffic will nearly triple (2.8-fold) over the next 5 years. Overall, data center IP traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent from 2013 to 2018.
Here’s the biggest takeaway: by 2018, more than three quarters (78 percent) of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers; 22 percent will be processed by traditional data centers.
Furthermore, significant promoters of cloud traffic growth are the rapid adoption of and migration to cloud architectures, along with the ability of cloud data centers to handle significantly higher traffic loads.
So why are we focusing our attention on the hybrid cloud model? Because this is the model that will begin to shape what other cloud platform will look like moving forward.
- It’s the closest thing to an agnostic cloud. In the future all cloud models will need to be interconnected. There are many resources that are already being pulled from external resources making “traditional” private clouds technically hybrid cloud models. Now, it’s become even easier to extend your data center platform into some type of cloud extension by using a hybrid cloud resource.
- Greater interconnectivity support. It wasn’t as easy at first. But now, traditional data center providers are creating easier, global, interconnectivity points for both private and hosted data center solutions. Bandwidth is improving, there are better optimization methods from connectivity, and overall resource utilization is becoming a lot more streamlined. APIs and open-source cloud platforms are creating some pretty powerful ways to connect with some amazing technologies.
- A lot of new use-cases. As data centers jump on the hybrid cloud bandwagon pricing, solutions, and offerings all get a lot better. And more competitive. This means smaller enterprises can get into the hybrid cloud game. Why? Data center extension, disaster recovery and business continuity, building a “business-in-a-box,” developing a business segment that is completely cloud-based, and even creating new service offerings are just a few reasons many organizations are actively exploring a hybrid cloud model.
- Government and regulation changes. This is really beginning to make an impact on the cloud model. For example, the recent Omnibus rule (enacted as a change to HIPAA) now allows organizations to become business associates (BA). A BA is any organization that has more than just transient access to data (FedEx, UPS, or USPS, for example). An organization can sign the business associate agreement (BAA) which would now allow them to take on additional liability to manage protected healthcare information (PHI). Regulations are also changing how data center providers approach ecommerce as well. Take a look at Rackspace and what they’ve done with PCI/DSS. At a high-level, they intelligently controlling data through the cloud, the organization's servers and the payment gateway. This type of design allows your organization to continuously control the flow of sensitive information.
- An ever-evolving user (and enterprise). The dynamic nature of the hybrid cloud has allowed organizations to scale very quickly. In fact, cloud orchestration allows for companies to set traffic and user thresholds to immediately scale their platform into a hybrid cloud model. Moving forward, enterprises will look for new ways to deliver their data closer to the end-user and their own locations. This means that content distribution networks (CDNs) and edge computing will become even more powerful. Look for hybrid clouds to make a big impact in expanding the capabilities of the traditional cloud and data center model.
What does the future of the cloud and data center model look like? It’s always hard to say since forecasting technology has become harder than ever. However, we do know that cloud interconnectivity will be expanding to more end-points in just a few years. Google is very actively expanding into the home with acquisitions like the Nest purchase. We’re creating smart cars, intelligent appliances, and even a constantly connected business presence. All of this will require more from the modern data center platform, and even more from the future cloud environment.