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Telefonica stirs up clouds, offers steaming mug of Instant Servers

99.996 per cent uptime. Not 99.995, not 99.997: 99.996

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Telefonica Digital has launched a cloud service from servers in Madrid and London, using kit from Joyent and promising faster scalability and greater reliability than the competition.

Instant Servers promises 99.996% uptime and backed cash compensation. Telefonica also reckons its clouds can quadruple in capacity instantly, and without rebooting, making them ideal for busty applications including web services and M2M apps, but mostly virtual servers. It's an alternative to Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud and one backed by a trusted brand.

That brand is important, as companies trusting their processes to a cloud are unlikely to sign up with a Silicon Valley start-up - no matter how much VC cash it has. Trust is a vital component of cloud computing and one which mobile operators around the world are starting to capitalise upon (it's worth noting that while people might not like their network operators, they do generally trust them).

Telefonica also has fibre optic cables snaking around Europe, so it is well-placed to provide connectivity. It also has experience in maintaining mission-critical servers, as long as Ericsson isn't involved, and while it's hard to compare, the prices are broadly in line with what Amazon charges for its Dublin-based servers - with MongoDB, Percona and Joyent's SmartOS being supported, among others.

Instant Servers comes out of Telefonica Digital, the unit within Telefonica tasked with working out what the operator is going to do with itself once the revenue from voice calls finally disappears.

Selling cloud processing is a good start, and more immediately rewarding than providing free VoIP services or re-shelling mobile phones, though Telefonica is wise to explore all the avenues open to it. ®

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