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Summary:

The Spanish telecoms giant has made its big infrastructure-as-a-service play with Instant Servers, which it claims will beat entrenched rivals through better reliability and scalability.

Telefonica building Madrid

Telefónica, the giant Spanish telco, has just decided to take on Amazon around the world with Instant Servers, a public cloud service.

Launched on Tuesday, the service’s virtual servers are optimized for mobile, enterprise and M2M applications. The infrastructure-as-a-service offering is the first product that Telefónica is selling to companies over the internet on a global basis, although the firm is already pushing its TU Me comms app directly to consumers.

“With the launch of Instant Servers Telefónica Digital seeks to meet the needs of thousands of businesses that require a cloud services platform that is easily scalable, with low latency and totally trustworthy, enabling them not only to rapidly respond to their own needs, but also to the expectations of their customers,” Telefónica Digital cloud and M2M chief Carlos Morales said in a statement.

Both of the Instant Servers datacenters at launch are in the European Union – one in Madrid, the other in London. They are, of course, plugged into Telefónica’s own global fiber network, as will the other datacenters be when they go online elsewhere in Europe and Latin America.

So what’s the advantage over Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud?

It’s supposedly more reliable, for one thing. According to Telefónica, Instant Servers comes with a service-level agreement (SLA) promising 99.996 percent availability, compared to EC2′s 99.95 percent.

The telco claims that its virtual servers will be able to scale instantly by 400 percent if needed. Instant Servers also uses the ZFS file system and volume manager, which is supposed to guarantee 100 percent data resiliency.

Then there’s the optimization angle. Although there’s a bit of rebadging going on here – Instant Servers is based on Joyent‘s infrastructure – it makes complete sense for a telco to be offering virtual servers that are primed for mobile and M2M services. Particularly services that are hooked up to Telefónica’s network.

Also, as with other big carriers such as Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica is trying to find revenue streams beyond its declining voice offerings – a lot of that involves cosying up to promising app providers, and Instant Servers may provide an extra hook there.

  1. Technology doesn’t match reputation. In Brazil, Telefonica (which strategically changed its name to Vivo) is a hated company and practice plundering like Cortez with Inca Empire.

    It will take a lot more than just “technology” for they to be successful.

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  2. It’s interesting to see a giant telco jump onto providing cloud services. They’re probably most well known for providing mobile services to consumers but I expect they have quite a large enterprise userbase which this will appeal to, especially within Europe with their London and Madrid facilities. I suspect the primary benefit will be the network connectivity they have.

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