Despite the image it conveys, the cloud consists of a physical infrastructure: many computers housed in massive data centers all over the world. Various hyperscale cloud service providers are competing on service quality and pricing to offer virtualized cloud services, but they are facing an increasing number of cloud challenges: building faster, denser, bigger, cost-effective and more power-efficient data center infrastructure that can be scalable, sustainable and resilient.
According to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecast for 2020, global IP traffic will reach 2.3 zettabytes (ZB), a 100-fold increase from 2005. Smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic for the first time, and more than 23 billion IP-enabled devices – also known as Internet of Things (IoT) devices – will be connected to the network.
According to the Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast, for every 200 additional mobile devices added to a network, one more server in the cloud will be required for data processing. Increasing numbers of devices is the source of many cloud challenges.
Today, nearly 75% of data center traffic remains within data centers for computing, processing and storage. For example, Facebook users are uploading more than 300 million pictures per day; each of these pictures is stored in different locations in different format sizes for caching and reviewing. As more and more pictures are uploaded, cloud challenges increase.
High-performance computing, on the other hand, has increased the maximum FLOPS (floating-point operations per second – an indicator of computer performance) by a factor of two annually, and the No. 1 supercomputer from Sunway TaihuLight in China has already reached 93 petaFLOPS (93×1015), with more than 10 million CPUs in 40,960 computing modules.
Cloud migration is no longer an emerging trend, but an ongoing action that takes place in most organizations to meet booming bandwidth and computing/storage capacity needs created by IoT, industrial data processing and central office IT services, including onsite private cloud services and offsite public cloud services.
As cloud leaders, such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook, are investing heavily in technology innovation, designing new topologies to best suit their needs and pushing hardware to customize the most cost-efficient components through multi-source agreements, the industrial standards bodies – IEEE, TIA and ISO/IEC – are accelerating to develop and release new standards that support this growth.
Source: Synergy Research Group
There are some fundamental cloud challenges, however, that cannot be solved by hyperscale data centers:
Can we solve these cloud challenges by building more hyperscale data centers? More hyperscale data centers would be great, but that’s not the answer to everything. The return on investment would diminish for further scale increase due to the premise and infrastructure costs:
Fortunately, we already have some new solutions to cloud challenges on the horizon:
The evolution of the information era will continue, and new cloud challenges will emerge, but one thing is for sure: We can certainly expect a bigger and better cloud in the new, connected world.
Are you currently struggling with any of the cloud challenges we mentioned in this blog?
Share your experience with us in the comments section below!
With 13 years of experience in optical communications and photonics device design, Qing Xu is a subject-matter expert in not only optical fiber technology, but also signal transmission, data center trends, fiber/copper connectivity and structured cabling. Joining Belden in 2014, he closely monitors and participates in industry activities related to optical fiber communications systems, data center technology and trends.