Telefonica Rolls Out a Storage Cloud-Hopefully it’s not Vapor

A common theme in here is my prognosticating doom for traditional enterprises. If I look at which traditional sectors look the most ripe for disruption, it’s the compliance-heavy ones, often with a legacy of state ownership or control. Banks, airlines, telcos are top of my list of interesting and threatened sectors. Which is why it’s always interesting to see these traditional industries do something smart to enter the bastions of those offering something new. Often this turns out to be little more than spin, but sometimes their initiatives stick and help them to continue to prosper.

Telefónica, one of the world’s largest telecom providers, across 25 countries and some 314 million access points, is actively trying to innovate and “smarten the dumb pipes”. An example of this comes with the announcements today that the company is rolling out a broad Telefónica-branded solution to give enterprise customers a “trusted provider of cloud service” (yeah so OK, that “trusted” moniker sticks in ones throat a little bit, but telcos ARE traditionally a type of provider that has a deep relationship within enterprise.

Anyway – this solutions is powered by CTERA, a company that has a bit of a history helping large service providers mix up their existing infrastructure, along with some public cloud infrastructure and package it all up for end users. The service, named “Disco Virtual en Red”, is fully Telefónica-branded and aimed at addressing the storage, file sharing and data protection needs of Telefónica’s enterprise customers in Spain. The offering in particular delivers a few different functional areas:

  • Secure file sync & share: Bi-directional synchronization of local folders on users’ PCs, Macs and Linux environments to the cloud, with full data-at-rest and data-in-transit encryption, and mobile collaboration supporting iOS and Android
  • Cloud-based team collaboration: Customers can set up shared workspaces for project teams, where users share files in the cloud, invite external users to access files on a time-limited basis, and have files synchronized to their PCs for local offline access
  • Cloud storage gateway appliances: Customers can choose to have an on-premises CTERA appliance that provides a full set of NAS (network attached storage) features, supporting CIFS, NFS, AFP, FTP and rsync protocols, with RAID for local redundancy and customer-defined replication to the cloud
  • Hybrid local / cloud backup: Customers can back up their servers, laptops and desktops to the local CTERA appliance for hybrid local/cloud backup, at both file and disk-image level (bare metal). Backup is incremental, de-duplicated between users within the same company, and encrypted, with private key control given to the customer so that their data remains secure
  • Access anywhere: Customers can access and manage their shared files, backups and accounts on the Web, using a standard browser and mobile devices
  • Using CTERA’s advanced Active Directory GPO (Group Policy Object) and Single Sign On integration, Telefónica’s enterprise customers can effortlessly deliver end-point cloud backup and file sync & share services to hundreds or thousands of employees, with a single click.

All kind of bread and butter cloud storage stuff but take that “run of the mill” offering and badge it with a massive vendor like Telefónica and great things can happen. Of course there is a massive proviso here – it may be little more than vapor ware and a chance for the company to tick customers cloud check box. That’s be a shame, but something that we’ve seen many times before. It’s very much a case of watch this space but either way, for CTERA, it’s a great reference case to show to other prospects.

1 Comment
  • Hi Ben,

    Thanks for covering this. I completely get your skepticism, and we certainly hope to see Telefonica succeed with this service, and are working together to ensure that it does, not just “ticking the box”.

    I will, however, contend with your characterization of this offering as “run of the mill”. In fact I’d dare you to find a similar offering from other service providers (CTERA partners notwithstanding). Many service providers offer backup, but very few offer hybrid backup. Some offer sync & share (dropbox type solution) but very few with enterprise features like Active Directory integration, private encryption key management and source-based global de-duplication. Etc., etc. – the devil is in the details.

    Best,
    Rani Osnat
    VP Marketing
    CTERA

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