​Enterprise ready: OwnCloud 9 handles petabytes of data

The next version of ownCloud, the personal cloud server, adds enterprise-level scalability and collaboration improvements.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

When you think of ownCloud, you think of a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud you can run off a home server. OwnCloud 9, which will be released tomorrow, March 8, is far more than that.


OwnCloud is a private IaaS cloud that can scale up from your home office to your data center.


True, you can still run ownCloud on a Linux or Windows server with as little as a gigabyte of RAM. I do that myself, in addition to running it on my hosted servers.

But, ownCloud is ready for big-time server work as well. Just ask European research group CERN and Australia's countrywide networking provider for research institutions, AARNET (Australia's Academic and Research Network). CERN uses ownCloud to collect and distribute about a petabyte of data per day to more than 8,000 scientists across the globe. OwnCloud provides this data's user interface.

It can do more than give researchers an easy-to-use interface. It can now run on top of IBM Spectrum Scale or storage products from Fujitsu and S3 and Swift-compatible object stores. This enables ownCloud servers to scale up to 100,000s of users.

With ownCloud 9, administrators can use storage backends to deeply integrate advanced storage existing metadata capabilities. So, for example, ownCloud can manage this metadata without porting it to the ownCloud native database.

OwnCloud does this as a PHP web application running on top of Microsoft IIS or Apache. For its back-end DBMS, ownCloud can support Oracle, MySQL, MariaDB, SQL Server or PostgreSQL. Its storage layer is abstracted so you can use almost any storage you can mount on the server from Samba or Windows file CIFS shares to NFS to clustered file systems such as Red Hat Storage. With extensions, you can use Windows Home Directories, FTP, or even external cloud storage services including AWS S3, Swift, Google Drive, and Dropbox.

But, wait, there's more. Frank Karlitschek, founder and leader of the ownCloud project explained in an exclusive interview:

"The mission of ownCloud to make files available on all your devices as easy and secure as possible. ownCloud does this via Web-Interface, WebDAV mount, Desktop Syncing, Mobile Apps and so on. But once you have your files then you want to do something with them."

To make this happen, ownCloud now enables you to view and edit your files with LibreOffice. Besides that, ownCloud 9 enables you to tag and structure files. "This is important when you are dealing with a huge number of files like in a typical company," said Karlitschek. "Activity feeds and notification across devices are a good way to keep up to date. Then there is calendar, contacts including sharing. Mail and Chat."

OwnCloud can't take credit for all these innovations. Karlitschek noted: "A lot of this features are actually done by third-party developers that integrate into ownCloud via our apps ecosystem... These features become super important and critical in the future. ownCloud is -- as open source platform with the apps concept -- a lot better positioned than the proprietary and monolithic and centralized competitors like Google, Dropbox and others."

So, if you want a private IaaS cloud that you can control and can work for you whether you're working out of your living room or your data center, give ownCloud a try. I have, and I quite like it.

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