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Telefonica installs Caringo Swarm object storage

Global telecom company Telefonica is hoping to expand its digital services, and installed Caringo Swarm object storage to get the job done.

Global telecommunications firm Telefonica is using Caringo Swarm software as the foundation for public cloud services that may require hundreds of petabytes of storage.

The Madrid-based Telefonica has services in 24 countries, with most of its revenue coming from Spain and Brazil. It is looking to expand its digital services in those countries, as well as other parts of Europe and Central and South America.

To build up its storage to host services, Telefonica installed Swarm object storage on Dell servers. It also uses Force10 switches and SonicWall firewalls for networking and security.

Object storage manages objects in a flat address space, making it easy to adjust to petabyte scale. Each object is assigned a unique identifier, which allows a server to retrieve it without needing to know the physical location of the data. These characteristics make it a good fit for cloud storage.

Telefonica tested Swarm for a year before putting it into production last September, according to senior IaaS solution architect Fernando de la Iglesia. He said his team has 400 TB installed now with plans to expand as it adds services in more countries.

Luis Villarrubia Grande, Telefonica’s head of global cloud product development, said his team bought Swarm object storage to build Amazon S3-like services for its customers. File sync and share is among its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) offerings. "We needed a baseline storage service, in this case Caringo," he said.

Grande said Telefonica had been looking at object storage for several years, beginning with EMC Atmos. He said his team picked Swarm for its functionality, stability and maturity.

"We were looking for software-defined storage, and we were looking to introduce a cloud approach. We wanted something that could scale, is multi-tenant, fault tolerant and intelligent. We like that Caringo is hardware independent," he said.

"This is a product we can offer for the enterprise. There is no single point of failure, and you can have hundreds of petabytes [PB] in one node. That’s important for us."

He also pointed to Swarm's erasure coding and the ability to manage it from a central console, and support for S3’s API as selling points.

"Security and data protection are important," Grande said. "You can constantly replicate between nodes in different data centers. That will help us add nodes in different countries based on our requirements in those countries."

De la Iglesia said the initial deployment is in Spain, and Telefonica is adding two more nodes to increase capacity to more than 1 PB in that country. He expects rapid expansion soon, with one customer in Spain estimating it will require 73 PB and a potential customer in the U.K. that would require more than 50 PB.

"We are starting small," he said of the 400 TB initial install. "One benefit of Caringo is you can start small and grow in 100 TB steps."

Telefonica is also adding Swarm nodes in the Americas, according to de la Iglesia.

"The way we are consuming storage, we see great use for object storage in the near future," Grande said. "Object storage makes it easy for us to add storage services. You can’t predict what will happen in the next two or three years in our market."

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