This is part 3 of an on-going series.  Part 1: Virtualization isn’t the next big thing (NBT) because it was the last big thing (LBT); part 2: Data center IP traffic growth.

With data center IP traffic growing at a 25% annual rate to a projected 7.7 zettabytes per year by 2016, the obvious question is what’s driving all this traffic?  Cloud-based file sharing?  Hybrid cloud backup and archiving?  Higher quality video conferencing?  Viral videos of goats and puppies?

Next Generation Data Center and Cloud Trends - IP Traffic Sources

There’s no doubt that there’s broad user demand for data for any number of use cases; but that drives only 17% of the IP data center traffic.  That 17% is the very visible tip of the iceberg – it’s very apparent, but the bulk of data center IP traffic is occurring “below the waterline.”

Inter-data center traffic is 7% of IP data center traffic.  An example of inter-data center traffic is replication between AWS (Amazon Web Services) regions.  This type of traffic is necessary to ensure high availability for a multi-data center cloud offering – the type that most major club providers (e.g., AWS, Google, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace, etc.) offer today.  Software/system updates across data centers is another major cause of this type of traffic.

The vast majority of data center IP traffic occurs within the data center itself.  What does this mean?  This is the traffic that occurs due to storage, production, and development data within the data center itself.  A typical  example of this type of data traffic may be found in AWS among  the “offline” (4 hour restore SLA) lowest-priced object-based  Glacier storage, the online relatively higher latency S3 (Simple Storage Service), and the online and lower latency EBS (Elastic Block Store) – this type of traffic occurs when data is transferred among these different storage types.

Within these data centers, what about the impact of cloud workloads versus traditional data center workloads?  This will be discussed in part 4 of this series.


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%.

Backup and Next Generation Data Center Cloud Trends - Data Center IP Traffic Growth

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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Unitrends just released a free BC/DR planning tool called BC/DR Link , and we wanted to tell you a bit more about it.  It’s a free online service tool that helps you build and customize a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan so you can be confident in your ability to respond to a disaster or outage rapidly and […]

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Preface: Greg Shields recently hosted a webinar for 600+ registered webinar attendees for a fireside chat in which I was the invited speaker.  We talked about a variety of topics – from agility, automation, and adaptability to virtualization and software-defined data centers – from containers and Dockers to the internet of things.  What I’m going […]

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Backup Per-Job Deduplication Versus…Well…Real Deduplication

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A kerfuffle between AWS and VMware arose a few days ago in the wake of AWS releasing a new product: AWS Management Portal for vCenter.  What is AWS Management Portal for vCenter?  It’s a VMware vSphere vCenter plugin that allows AWS virtual machines to be managed from VMware vSphere vCenter.  Sound complicated?  Okay – to make it […]

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