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Over the last few years, cloud computing has evolved from the 'next big thing' to an essential part of the business landscape for enterprises across all sectors. This trend is unlikely to reverse any time soon, as many of us continue to rely on cloud technologies for a wide range of business-critical operations.
In fact, the use of cloud services is set to dominate the data centre in the coming years. A forecast by Cisco estimated that between 2015 and 2020, the amount of cloud traffic is expected to rise nearly four-fold, from 3.9 zettabytes a year to 14.1 zettabytes. By the end of the forecast period, this traffic will make up 92 per cent of all data centre traffic.
Why the cloud?
The study identified several reasons why large businesses are increasingly placing cloud-based services at the heart of their operations. One of the main benefits is their ability to scale quickly and efficiently in order to support greater workloads than traditional solutions.
As Cisco observed, "With greater data centre virtualisation, cloud operators are also able to achieve greater operational efficiencies while flexibly delivering a growing variety of services to businesses and consumers with optimal performance".
The company also noted that activities such as the Internet of Things (IoT), software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualisation (NFV) and video streaming will all place greater demands on enterprise networks in the coming years, and cloud computing will be well-placed to help businesses cope with this.
Make sure your business can manage the explosion
With this expected explosion in traffic, it will be essential for your business to have robust connectivity within your networks in order to deal with the strain this will place on your resources.
With the emergence of so many high-bandwidth applications, all competing for limited resources, your business will have to make sure your infrastructure is up to the task. This means ensuring you have a fast, reliable network that is able to handle massive amounts of data traffic both into and out of the business without lag, which could prove highly costly in an era when demands for real-time information are so high.
For example, one particularly important source of data in the coming years will be the IoT. Cisco estimates that globally, the amount of data generated by these devices will reach 600 zettabytes per year by 2020 - much of which will not be stored. Instead, it will quickly be processed in real-time and discarded after use. Therefore, fast and adaptable services will be essential to the success of such efforts.
An essential way of operating
"In the six years of this study, cloud computing has advanced from an emerging technology to an essential scalable and flexible part of architecture for service providers of all types around the globe," said Doug Webster, vice-president of Cisco.
Indeed, in the UK, figures from the Cloud Industry Forum claim that four-fifths of UK businesses believe that cloud technology is important to their digital efforts, while 38 per cent of cloud users with a digital transformation strategy say this technology has given their organisations a significant competitive advantage.
However, in order to make the most of this, a next-generation network that offers high bandwidth, fast connectivity and 24/7 availability will be a must. With cloud-based tools set to be the backbone of many businesses in the coming years, putting the right infrastructure in place to support this now can set up your business for many years to come.
For more information on how TalkTalk Business can help meet your data transfer needs view our Data Networking page