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Why platform independence in ownCloud Infinite Scale is a big deal

What sets ownCloud Infinite Scale apart from other file collaboration platforms? One big aspect is platform independence. This blog post aims to explain what this is all about.
an illustration for platform independence

With ownCloud Infinite Scale, the delivery of our software changes profoundly. Among other things, it becomes platform-independent on the server side, bringing a whole new level of simplicity.

An application is considered to provide platform independence if it is delivered to work on all common platforms which in this case means operating systems. Platform independence results in greater choice,

ownCloud has been platform-independent on the client side for a long time. The browser interface works across all common browsers, on any platform. There are Desktop Clients to sync files for Windows, macOS and various Linux distributions and Apps for both iOS and Android devices that support phones and tablets alike.

On the server side however, ownCloud 10 needs Linux to run natively. ownCloud Infinite Scale comes in binaries for each operating system that each contain all the microservices that make up ownCloud Infinite Scale. Thanks to standardized interfaces, they can seamlessly interact with each other across different installations on different operating systems – thus achieving platform independence.

To appreciate the benefits this cross-platform availability brings, we must first explain the status quo.

The classic way

Up until now, ownCloud comes in an archive (tar or zip) that contains the PHP files that make up ownCloud. To work properly, it needs to be unpacked on a machine running a Linux operating system into a directory of a webserver, for example Apache (see the System Requirements).

This web server must also be equipped and configured to interpret the PHP scripting language. It then needs a database with the appropriate configurations, most often this would be MySQL or MariaDB, while ownCloud also supports PostgreSQL and Oracle DB.

All of these components, commonly referred to as a LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) stack, only fit each other well in certain versions. Oh, and those can conflict with the versions of the operating system, which is typically a more or less common flavour of a more or less common linux distro.

This tends to work just fine in environments where a group of people with the skills needed can work together to set up and maintain all of those dependencies. For low-footprint operations, it assumes a lot of competencies in few people – or our documentation about setting it all up with Docker.

But apart from being complicated, this setup also has tacit limits to performance and scalability.

The platform independence way

ownCloud Infinite Scale comes as a precompiled binary, ready to be run. It needs no database, it brings its own web server and, being compiled, does not need an interpreter. There are ownCloud Infinite Scale binaries for Windows, macOS, and the different Linux architectures such as amd64, 386, arm, arm64.

On any platform, the binary comes with all the relevant microservices. To deploy it, admins can spin up one binary or multiple ones, with certain microservices activated on a suitable number of instances and others only once, depending on specific needs.

This results in a cloud-native file platform that is highly scalable and enables high performance in any environment.

Learn more about ownCloud Infinite Scale!


March 17, 2021

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