Based on an open-source project of the same name, the ownCloud file sync and share software, deployed on-premises, not only offers users greater control, but also allows organizations to integrate existing security, storage, monitoring, and reporting tools, while still taking advantage of the software's simplicity and flexibility.
File sync and share services like Dropbox, Google Docs, and Box have revolutionized the way users share information. These cloud-based services make it easy to share files with clean interfaces and seemingly endless amounts of storage. However, not everyone wants to turn over their information to a service provider — for those who prefer to control how and where their data is stored, there's ownCloud.
OwnCloud comes in a free, community edition, and the company will launch a commercially supported enterprise edition of the software in the second quarter. That version will target enterprise IT departments in need of on-premises file sync and share for sensitive corporate data. The company estimated that it has more than 750,000 users worldwide today.
In the latest offering, the user interface has been streamlined, so that the main web navigation panel is now clearly differentiated from in-app navigations, said Markus Rex, CEO of ownCloud. And the way in which the software's settings are laid out have been revamped, making it easier to distinguish personal settings from app-specific settings, he said.
"We've completely revamped the design with a much simplified interface so you can differentiate the navigation elements and focus on what you want to work with, instead of distracting from that," said Rex.
This version of ownCloud also features a Deleted Files app that lets users restore accidentally deleted files and folders, and improved app management, so that third-party apps can be easily installed from the central apps repository and automatically removed from the server, if disabled. Also included is a new search engine that lets users find files stored by both name and by content, thanks to the Lucene-based full text search engine app, and a new antivirus feature courtesy of Clam AV scans uploaded files for malware. This release also includes improved contacts, calendar, and bookmarks, said Rex.
Performance benefits in this release come from improved file cache and faster syncing of the desktop client, according to company officials. Externally mounted file systems such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and FTP can be scanned on demand and in the background to increase performance. And hybrid clouds can be created by mixing and matching storage, thanks to file system abstraction that offers more flexibility and greater performance.
"You can get to the data in all of your data silos from one spot on a mobile client or desktop client, so you can get to files you might not be able to access otherwise from those devices," said Rex.
This release features improved integration with LDAP and Active Directory and an enhanced external storage app to boost performance of integrated secondary storage, including Dropbox, Swift, FTP, Google Docs, Amazon S3, WebDAV, and external ownCloud servers.
BriefingsDirect contributor Cara Garretson provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached on LinkedIn.