Any experienced Internet user will remember the days when broadband plans had strict data transfer quotas. When the quota was reached you were either forced to pay more or stepped down to narrowband speeds. As network backbone capacity increased, so did allowances. Nowadays it’s not unusual to see high-speed broadband with no data caps in important markets such as the Netherlands, which has one of the highest rates of broadband penetration in the world.
But what about data transfers in the cloud? Are businesses still held back by lacklustre limits? Let’s look at the use cases and business potential of high-data transfer allowances among cloud infrastructure services.
More digitization means more data
First, it’s always interesting to look at how emerging technology trends lead to higher demand for business services. In the case of bandwidth we have seen the rapid growth in digital assets—everything from email documents to photos and videos—drive a need for more storage capacity, which, in turn, drives a need for more network capacity to transport the data.
According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index report, annual global IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte (1,000 exabytes) threshold next year, and pass the 2 zettabyte milestone in 2019. Global IP traffic has increased more than fivefold during the past five years, and is forecast to increase nearly threefold over the next five years. Most of this growth is due to the increasing use of video subscription (consumer) and communication (business) services and the proliferation of rich media capable devices like smartphones and tablets. In fact, the next few years will mark a significant turning point in the history of the Internet as traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2019. By then, wired devices will account for 33 percent of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 66 percent of IP traffic. Last year wired devices accounted for 54 percent of traffic.
To keep up with this growth, cloud providers are now obliged to offer higher data transfer limits at higher speeds, which is a path to getting the most out of on-demand infrastructure and applications.
Big pipes, big potential
As business becomes increasingly mobile and deals with the relentless increase in digital assets, cloud providers that offer large transfer allowances will fuel a new wave in adoption and innovation. For many organizations, data transfer restrictions prevent them from using the cloud to its full potential. What is more, a number of bandwidth-intensive applications are often viewed as not viable on hosted infrastructure. To name just a few, high data transfer allowances open up the cloud to:
- Data protection: Backups and DR are often cited as blockers for cloud adoption because the organization can justify the data transfer costs.
- Video collaboration: Video, especially HD video, is a large consumer of bandwidth and organizations can best utilise the technology with high data transfer capacities.
- Visual innovation: So much data still resides in plain text formats but developments in visualisation technology now allow digital assets to be seen and heard as holograms and interactive 3D models. Like video communications, visualisation will require higher volume data transfers.
The potential for many more applications and services exists and are only dependent on the business case and the imagination of its creator.
At LeaseWeb, we have recently increased our virtual server data transfer allowances by between 4-20 times as we strongly believe the potential for innovation with cloud services should not be stifled by data limit concerns.
History tells us better access to technology is a sure road to more innovation and better service levels. Let’s speed up the future with better access to cloud data.
About the Author
Robert van der Meulen is Cloud Manager at LeaseWeb, one of the world’s largest hosting brands. Robert has extensive experience in developing and expanding enterprise-grade public and private cloud solutions on a global scale. Prior to joining LeaseWeb, he held several management positions in R&D and software development, and started his own IT consultancy company.