Welcome to the Zettabyte Era

ZBWelcome to the Zettabyte Era

In the last few years, a company that you might not think of when it comes to data centers and big data has made some dramatic changes in their strategy and offering: Cisco Systems. The company that for years has been the first name in networking has made some big bets and taken some risky initiatives to go from “the network is the platform” to the #2 blade server vendor, tied with IBM behind HP. This gives them a huge presence in the data center in terms of both network as well as computing.

This gives Cisco a unique perspective on where the industry is going, and where the market is poised to go, even in the next few years — especially in the use of Internet traffic.

Here are some key predictions from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index and an infographic that captures this picture of the future. Can you guess what is the #1 driver of Internet Protocol use? Next year it’s expected to surpass 50% of consumer Internet traffic. Read below:


By 2015:

  • Global Internet Protocol traffic: 1 zettabyte, which is equal to a sextillion bytes, or a trillion gigabytes.
  • Growth of global Internet traffic: 4X or 32% annual growth, and reaching 966 exabytes per year.
  • Number of network-connected devices: +15 billion, twice the world’s population.


  • Increase of Internet traffic between 2014 and 2015: 200 exabytes, greater than the total amount of Internet Protocol traffic generated globally in 2010.

Drivers of global IP traffic growth:

  1. An increasing number of devices: Proliferation of tablets, mobile phones, connected appliances and other smart machines drives demand for connectivity.
  2. More Internet users: By 2015, there will be nearly 3 billion Internet users, more than 40% of the world’s projected population.
  3. Faster broadband speed: Average fixed broadband speed expected to increase 4X, from 7 megabits per second in 2010 to 28 Mbps in 2015.
  4. More video: By 2015, 1 million video minutes –the equivalent of 674 days –will traverse the Internet every second.

Total Global IP Traffic in “Bytes”:

  • Global IP traffic:
    • 2010: 20.2 exabytes per month
    • 2015: 80.5 exabytes per month
  • Average global IP traffic in 2015: 245 terabytes per second, equivalent to 200 million people streaming an HD movie (1.2 Mbps) simultaneously every day.

Regional Trends:

  • By 2015, the Asia Pacific region will generate the most IP traffic — 24.1 exabytes per month — surpassing last year’s leader, North America (22.3 exabytes per month), for the top spot.
  • The fastest-growing IP-traffic regions for the forecast period (2010 – 2015) are the Middle East and Africa (which had a 52% compound annual growth rate, for an 8X growth), surpassing last year’s leader Latin America (48% CAGR, 7X  growth).

#1 Growth Driver: Consumer Video

  • Global online video community will increase by approximately 500 million users by 2015, up from more than 1 billion Internet video users in 2010.

Global Device Growth:

  • In 2010, PCs generated 97% of consumer Internet traffic. This will fall to 87% by 2015, demonstrating the impact that devices like tablets, smartphones and connected TVs are having on how consumers access and use the Internet.
  • Web-enabled TVs access to the Internet continues to grow and by 2015, 10% of global consumer Internet traffic and 18% of Internet video traffic will be consumed via TVs.

3DTV and HD (Advanced Video)

  • Global advanced video traffic, including three-dimensional (3-D) and high-definition TV (HDTV), is projected to increase 14X between 2010 and 2015.

Mobile Broadband:

  • Global mobile Internet data traffic will increase 26X from 2010 to 2015, to 6.3 exabytes per month (or 75 exabytes annually).

Global File Sharing:

  • Global peer-to-peer traffic will account for 16% of global consumer Internet traffic, by 2015, down from 40% in 2010.

Global Business IP Traffic:

  • Business IP video conferencing: 6x growth by 2015, growing more than 2X as fast as overall business IP traffic, at a CAGR of 41% from 2010 to 2015.


Cisco VNI



Thanks for coming along.


About billpetro

Bill Petro writes articles on history, technology, pop culture, and travel. He has been a technology sales enablement executive with extensive experience in Cloud Computing, Automation, Data Center, Information Storage, Big Data/Analytics, Mobile, and Social technologies.

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