Planning for the Inescapable Crush of Mobile Data Growth

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Mobile Access is Driving New Demand for Smarter Networks and More Intelligent Data Center Architecture

Big data often seems to dominate headlines in IT publications. Few trends carry as dramatic a potential impact on business processes, with data-driven decision making becoming de rigueur across departments in all enterprises. But for IT, an even more important trend continues to build momentum, threatening to rewrite many of the rules for data center design and management — mobile data growth.

Global mobile data traffic grew 81% in 2013, reaching 1.5 exabytes per month by December 2013, up from 820 petabytes per month at the end of 2012.1 Mobile data transmissions now represent over 18x the total traffic traversing the entire Internet in 2000. While mobile devices continue to grow in terms of processing power, their true potential for both business and consumer applications comes from their ability to connect users anywhere and anytime to data located in data centers around the globe. This developing ‘anywhere, anytime’ approach introduces a whole new set of rules for data center management, including increasing demand to move information among data centers integrated in hybrid architectures in order to provide optimized user experience through localized points-of-presence.

Of course, many organizations have already begun to address the demands of mobile access and its attendant ‘anywhere, anytime’ use cases. However, the usage patterns we see today only minimally represent what many experts foresee in the future.

In the latest update of the Cisco® Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, networking giant Cisco predicts2:

  • Mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 61 percent from 2013 to 2018, reaching 15.9 exabytes per month by 2018, up from 1.5 exabytes per month currently
  • By 2018, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed 10 billion, exceeding the forecasted global population and averaging 1.4 devices per person
  • By 2018, network traffic generated by tablet devices will reach 2.9 exabytes monthly, nearly double the total mobile network traffic today
  • The penetration of smart mobile devices will reach 54%, up from 21% at the end of 2013, but only 15% of the connections will be at 4G speeds. Of note, a typical 4G connection generates nearly 6x more traffic than a non-4G connection, meaning that mobile growth could spike even faster if 4G penetration accelerates

These forecasts indicate a dramatic uptick in demand for mobile connectivity, a demand easily explained as users get more comfortable connecting to data from mobile devices and experience the advantages that real-time connection to data, in all its forms, can provide. Of particular note for many organizations is the explosive growth in demand for video content, which is expected to continue to accelerate across applications for the foreseeable future.

For CIOs, the mobile data explosion is creating rapid escalation of demand for flexible, scalable, high-performance data center capacity that can swiftly be commissioned to meet both organic demand growth in existing application portfolios as well as sudden increase of demand resulting from new application deployments to meet new customer or internal business requirements. For example, retailers are increasingly using in-store video monitoring tools to predict traffic at registers to better manage service levels. At the same time, retail deployment of more sophisticated mobile shopping applications is growing exponentially.

As applications for everything from transactional commerce to customer service, logistics and finance move increasingly online, many traditional approaches to data center architecture built on proprietary, on-premise facilities are being challenged. Few organizations will avoid the need to construct hybrid architectures that integrate cloud, colo, on-premise, POD and modular designs into a multi-faceted environment that can easily address emerging capacity, reliability and cost-efficiency demands.

How BRUNS-PAK Can Help

Over the past thirty-five years, BRUNS-PAK has evolved its proprietary design/build methodologies to integrate the evolving array of strategies and tools available to data center planning teams, resulting in the BRUNS-PAK Hybrid Efficient Data Center Design program. Through an iterative process that acknowledges both rapidly changing IT requirements and their associated facilities infrastructure needs, this program delivers a strategic approach to addressing the evolving capacity and complex networking requirements created by the explosive growth in mobile data traffic. Through our expanded consulting services group, and well-established design/build services team, BRUNS-PAK is uniquely positioned to assist customers seeking to create a long-term strategic direction for their data center that ensures an infrastructure able to support real-world demands in an increasingly mobile age.

For more information, contact Jackie Porr at 888.704.1400 or via email at jporr@bruns-pak.com.

REFERENCES

1. Cisco, “Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013–2018” 02/2014.

2. Ibid.