What is an Exabyte you ask? At least, that is what I was wondering when I recently attended Cisco’s Visual Networking Index Forecast conference call.
An Exabyte is 1,000 Petabytes. A Petabyte is 1,000 Terabytes. You can buy an external storage device for your PC with a Terabyte of storage at your local computer or office supply store for a couple of hundred dollars.
Cisco put it in perspective for me when they described one Exabyte as 250 million DVDs or 150 Exabytes is the amount of data that has traversed the Internet since its creation. What is beyond a Exabyte? A Zettabyte. A Zettabyte therefore is about 250 billion DVDs. Beyond that? A Yottabyte.
While the mathematics of this is interesting, what is fascinating is Cisco’s forecast. In this part of the world, gone are the days of talking in Gigabytes or Terrabytes. Cisco predicts that in 2010, 175 Exabytes will cross the Internet and by 2012?… Cisco forecasts annual global IP traffic will reach a half a Zettabyte. Staggering… considering that to date per Cisco’s numbers there has only been a 150 Exabytes total that have traversed the Internet.
The drivers for this exponential increase per Cisco are internet video to TV, internet video to PC and the continued growth of peer to peer (P2P). Cisco puts consumer video on demand growing at a 93% CAGR from 2007 to 2012, quadrupling consumer IP traffic by 2012.
Again, to give it some perspective, Cisco predicts that the average household consumption in the U.S. in 2010 will be 1.1 TB per month – mainly driven by HDTV.
So what does Cisco see beyond 2012? Obviously more growth, but driven by addition of interactive video. My interpretation is that interactive video tools in a collaborative technologies will lead next wave of growth beyond 2012.
The implications of the this forecast are many. Answering the questions around building bigger pipes and/or optimizing solutions alone are difficult. But specifically for collaboration technologies, it implies that collaborative tools will see the development of the live, visual element as a core feature to go along with the text based solutions that exist today. This is not a new prediction by any means, but Cisco’s forecast implies that the reality of video – live video – via the Internet becoming a standard feature is not far off.
It will be interesting to watch as vendors integrate interactive video into collaborative solutions as a standard feature. Literally, we will be “seeing” each other on the Internet.