Frictionless Access to Existing Storage

Posted by ownCloud GmbH – 28. April 2016

OC9EE External StorageIt’s been two weeks since the release of ownCloud 9 Enterprise Edition and we have introduced you to a number of new updates and features including: retention, Federated Cloud Sharing, and collaboration features. In addition to these awesome new features, the way to access storage has also been updated making it even more frictionless.

Only ownCloud can provide access to storage within the enterprise, all through the frictionless mobile, desktop and web apps that users find simple to use. By connecting ownCloud to existing storage in the enterprise, such as Windows network drives and SharePoint servers, ownCloud can operate as a single point of access to files across the enterprise. Admins configure each storage connection manually or with a script, to make it easy to support a few up to thousands of storage servers, document libraries, FTP servers and more. This ensures admins get the full logging of the existing storage solution, while the user simply sees a file tree with access to all of their files, regardless of where they are stored on the backend, and with their existing ACLs preserved.

Here is one way how accessing your storage works with ownCloud:

An Admin has 20 Windows network drives already existing in the company and wants to enable mobile access to these files. The admin can use the GUI in ownCloud to configure the authentication methods, addresses and mount names for these services, and can decide which users will see this mount point. Alternatively, the admin can upload a file outlining all of these options and ownCloud will process and mount the Windows network drives automatically. Once configured, the user simply sees a folder in their root like any other, except it has their Windows network drive files accessible. Depending on the access method chosen by the admin, and the options selected when the storage was mounted, sharing may be enabled, as well as the specific caching behavior for that mount point.

New Storage API

To be compatible with as many backend storage systems as possible, ownCloud is designed to store all file metadata in the ownCloud database. This includes information like sharing information, file IDs and more. As the database can become a bottleneck in extremely large systems, offloading these file handling activities and metadata to an alternative location can improve performance, allowing the same hardware to scale to support even more users. This is particularly useful for very large instances. It also enables the integration of existing storage capabilities like version support.

In addition to improved scalability and integration, the new storage API also enables ownCloud to leverage storage that is unheard of in file access solutions – such as tape. ownCloud allows access to files on any kind of storage with the same frictionless user experience.

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