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Infinite Scale Spaces: A Quantum Leap for Enterprise Collaboration

Senior Product Manager Patrick Maier explains how Spaces comes as nothing less than a revolutionary new way of collaboration in modern companies, institutions or organizations. As an elementary feature of ownCloud Infinite Scale, the new cloud-native platform from ownCloud, Spaces boost collaboration, save money and significantly reduce administrative overhead while improving compliance, control and security.

Spaces comes as nothing less than a revolutionary new way of collaboration in modern companies, institutions or organizations. As an elementary feature of ownCloud Infinite Scale, the new cloud-native platform from ownCloud, Spaces boost collaboration, save money and significantly reduce administrative overhead while improving compliance, control and security. 

ownCloud Infinite Scale allows infinite scalability, bringing flexibility in classical or federated network setups to new levels. Spaces introduces this flexibility to users, teams and organizations by shifting permissions from users and groups to the context of your teams’ work.

In Spaces, your files are not tied to single user or group accounts anymore. This fundamental shift of paradigm will significantly reduce the workload of your administrators, increase the performance of your teams and speed up the onboarding of new employees or partners, both internal and external. At the same time Spaces can simplify your data store, help protect your company, organization or institution from data loss.

Unlimited flexibility, modern Spaces, agile or classical teams, accessible data

For example, in a school a class could have its own so Space, so would the teachers and the lead teacher who’s in charge. Over the years both pupils and teachers and responsibilities change, the class won’t be the same when kids leave school nor will be the teachers in charge, but the files remain accessible. In the same way a design lead would just hand over a Space to Marketing’s project owner once all contributors (internal or external, contractors or employees) are done and the new corporate design is finished. Once finished, the Marketing PO can remove (or later add again) the “design people” from (to) the Space and invite new contributors, e.g. from Sales or management, or just provide Spaces as read-only for all colleagues or external users that might need access to the corporate CI, for example logos or photos. 

Infinite Scale spaces

Infinite Scale spaces

“No matter if your teams are working together in agile or classical workflows, Spaces can represent a better view of your data, a view that almost always will be closer to your reality at work, in local or distributed teams. Data usually does not belong to single users or groups anymore: Very often everybody involved needs access at the same time and with equal rights.”, explains Patrick Maier, Senior Product Manager, ownCloud

Traditional file handling has become an obstacle

Traditionally, collaboration tools tie data ownership to a specific user or group, creating a lot of organizational overhead when employees or partners join, leave, or swap projects, groups or tasks. 

Today, however, modern companies experience this “traditional” approach as a growing obstacle: Modern teams work together remotely, contributors change, responsibilities are shifted, a file is not necessarily permanently connected to one user or group account, for example after reaching a milestone the data has to be transferred to a completely different team. And – especially in remotely distributed teams – dynamically on-boarding and off-boarding colleagues or partners to a team has become a regular task.

With Spaces, the design team may hand over a Space to Marketing, which makes a space publicly available for the whole company after their work is done. Needless to say, both Design and Marketing team may be different employees over the years. 

Removing huge administrative overhead

But Spaces is not just a new way to accomplish Groups, Shared or public Folders like Microsoft Exchange or modern IMAP Servers have to offer. Companies who are using the “old” approach to achieve similar outputs like those mentioned creates a lot of administrative tasks, tickets and trouble. Setting up, correcting and maintaining file and user permissions for teams and projects has become a time-consuming, regular task for administrators. In most companies they spend way too much time in managing rights, permissions, groups or access to files, while at the same time making sure there’s no data loss or vitally necessary Zombie account hanging in the system after the former employee and owner of the files has left or retired. Spaces was designed to get rid of these problems.

Spaces at work

In Spaces, Data is assigned to a Space, not to a person or a group. A Space has a manager with administrative permissions, they can invite, add, remove people to the space and hand over manager responsibility. The Space manager can even leave the Space, after a handover to a successor. The Space itself is persistent, membership and access rights change with the Space managers’ settings. Sharing can also be denied or limited by the Spaces’ manager. Defining replacements for vacation, sickness or maternal leaves becomes much simpler, faster and easier for whoever is involved.

Every user, any group, every (distributed) team can create an unlimited amount of Spaces for their collaboration. Nevertheless, creation of Spaces can be permitted or denied via global user roles, policies and permissions. Whoever creates a new Space will be the Space’s first manager and can start inviting peers. No support ticket is necessary, no administrators involved, no Zombie accounts will remain, no data will vanish in faintly known user or group directories. 

More compliance, less work, more collaboration, more security

The clear separation of files and Spaces from personal files also reduces the risk of users accidentally sharing files with unauthorized recipients. Compliance rules like GDPR or internal policies at team and project level are easily implemented – just a few examples:

  • Automated deletion of files after a certain amount of time,
  • Prohibit upload/integration of dangerous files (e.g. .exe–programms),
  • Limitation (or complete denial) of external (or internal) sharing
  • Mandatory encryption: Admins can define that all files in a Space must be encrypted
  • Workflows: Spaces can implement a mandatory workflow for files, e.g. “Approval by Admin is mandatory for sharing/editing of this file!” or similar.

But Spaces also provide an ideal, flexible and secure basis for third-party solutions integrating e.g. digital workspaces or chat, enabling efficient cross-application collaboration.

Marketing Space has been created

Marketing Space has been created

A “Marketing” Space has been created. This user may now upload files and folders. All users also own a private recycle bin, where they can restore deleted files for 30 days without a support/admin ticket.

A quantum leap for modern collaboration

Why Spaces are a quantum leap for enterprise collaboration: 

“By giving the Space itself full data ownership, files of any kind are no longer tied to individual user accounts and are thus per se always and continuously available to all members of a project space. Based on a completely new architecture for the Infinite Scale Platform, cloud-native and based on micro services, we can offer our users a real quantum leap in digital collaboration in teams with the Spaces feature, while at the same time drastically reducing ticket volumes for IT support.

The Spaces feature of our Infinite Scale platform follows a new paradigm that finally focuses on the real needs of collaboration in the digital age – leaving old technical hurdles behind. Combine that with powerful workflows and policies, configurable individually per Space – and you get efficient, compliant and secure work areas for the future digital workplace. On top of all of that, their easiness and flexibility makes them fun to use, so the acceptance by users usually is very high, from the start.”


If you would like to try out Spaces and the new features for yourself, you can already participate in our Infinite Scale Beta Program, or even, for the technically inclined, request a free Infinite Scale trial instance. We look forward to hearing from you and your feedback!

Patrick Maier

About the Author

Patrick Maier is Senior Product Manager at ownCloud and has been overseeing the development of Infinite Scale since the idea was first conceived.

Patrick Maier elsewhere:

Patrick Maier

August 15, 2022

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