OwnCloud, the company behind the open-source ownCloud Community Edition, announced on March 11 what the business claims is the "only fully self-hosted enterprise-ready file sync and share software, ownCloud 6 Enterprise Edition."
The Enterprise Edition is designed to seamlessly integrate with your existing infrastructure. Designed from the ground up to be fully deployed on premises, it enables integration into existing user management tools, governance processes, and security, monitoring, and back-up tools. If you want, though, you can use ownCloud with public cloud storage services, such as Amazon S3 and OpenStack SWIFT; it also lets you create a centrally controlled, hybrid cloud.
As you would expect, ownCloud Enterprise Edition is based on ownCloud Community Edition. With more than 1.3 million users, the Community Edition is one of the world’s most popular open source file sync and share software programs.
This latest edition includes a sophisticated file access rules engine to enhance control and govern access to files, enabling IT administrators to set sophisticated rules for user and device connections to the ownCloud server, preventing access if those rules are, or are not, met.
That's important, Terri McClure, Senior Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), explained because "As more companies see their sensitive corporate data escaping to the public cloud via consumer-grade apps, those in highly regulated industries like financial services, healthcare, government and education and research, need to look closely at how they can leverage their current data protection and governance tools to ensure they do not run afoul of regulatory requirements."
This new version of ownCloud 6 Enterprise has numerous new features. These include:
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) Wizard: OwnCloud now comes with a GUI-based wizard to connect user directories to ownCloud. You need only supply the LDAP or Active Directory (AD) user credentials, and the step-by-step wizard connects, displays users groups, and helps admins create the proper filters visually, which greatly speeds the deployment process.
Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) authentication: This support will enable you to drop ownCloud into existing enterprise environments that use SAML to authenticate with federated identity providers.
Jive Integration: OwnCloud’s Jive integration is a plug-in that mounts Jive storage as if it were a file storage location. Files saved in Jive groups appear in ownCloud as files inside folders, with each folder representing a Jive group. Files can be synced or accessed on demand by ownCloud desktop and mobile applications, edited, and updated – all with the files stored on the Jive server.
Application Integration: OwnCloud 6’s extensible architecture includes two new integration application programming interfaces (APIs) and new open-source mobile libraries. The internal server Application API allows developers to easily build ownCloud extensions and customizations, while the Sharing Representational state transfer (REST) API provides a service-based interface to ownCloud’s file sharing and notification subsystems. Finally, the mobile libraries simplify access to ownCloud from mobile applications. A new application framework also improves management of third-party apps and the installation of these apps into ownCloud.
OwnCloud 6 also includes a wide range of features that improve productivity for end users, including:
Performance Improvements: OwnCloud 6 includes numerous performance enhancements that should give users faster access to core functionality, including data encryption, external system integration and file synchronization.
Usability Improvements: The program includes a clean user experience complemented by a range of usability features, including user avatars, file previews, activity feeds, share file notifications and example files.
One feature that didn't make it into this release was OwnCloud Documents. This software-as-a-service (SaaS) word processor will be available as a technology preview that goes with openCloud 6 in the next few weeks.
The point of all these improvements, and indeed of ownCloud itself, according to Markus Rex, founder and CEO of ownCloud, is that it lets companies have their own cloud without being cloud wizards. In a statement, Rex said, "Many organizations, especially those in highly regulated industries, are turning to ownCloud to control and protect their data – and ensure they can leverage existing governance and security systems. Only ownCloud provides IT the ability to fully integrate with existing (and future) data protection tools, the flexibility to choose the type of storage that suits their needs, while at the same time provide end users a productivity tool they will actually use.”
Sound good to you? ownCloud 6 Enterprise Edition is available now. Pricing for ownCloud 6 Enterprise Edition starts at a yearly subscription rate of $9,000 for 50 users. If you'd like to kick its tires before buying it, ownCloud 6 is available as an easy-to-install-and-configure virtual appliance for VMware, HyperV, Xen and KVM. You can, of course, also just download the open-source ownCloud Community Edition if you want to try running the program without a corporate support net.