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28 Feb 2013
by OsiMood

Review: OwnCloud

OwnCloudFor a very long time now, I have been looking for cloud solutions that would allow me to not only store my files on the Cloud but also synchronize several machines together in a secure and trustful way.

Of course, there are a lot of different solutions: SugarSync, DropBox, Google Drive, Microsoft Skydrive to name only the most famous. I believe I tried them all but let’s be honest, I never store private information on any of those solutions, no picture of my family, no personal document that could compromise my personal life…

Still those tools were convenient, simple client and configuration on a PC or Mac, mobile client too to access your files on the go, capability to share a folder or a file and finally the files are store “encrypted”! Encrypted with a key, any of those vendors have access to and that the US government, just to name this one, can request and access without your knowledge.

So I have been looking for solutions, I have a NAS (Network-Attached Storage) and I could already access it from anywhere in the world using a web interface, but moving a large number of files on it was painful and cumbersome. I needed a solution that offered a light client that would automatically synchronise few folders from the different machines I own and also allowing me to access those using a browser or a mobile device.

OwnCloud is an open source solution that provides you with all the functions above, the only thing you need is a webserver (Apache or IIS), PHP and for the database you have the choice MySQL or SQLite. Once installed you became officially a cloud services provider!!

ownCloud web interfaceYou have client for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, though the mobile versions are not free ($0.99) it is just the price to pay to support the development of this amazing product.

In short, I was really surprised by the maturity and set of functionality of this open source project. It gives everyone the capacity to own its personal cloud and avoid paying premium for disk space and allowing users to remain in total control and ownership of their precious digital life.

Here is a short list of what ownCloud allows you to do:

  • Encrypt your files (so if someone hack the server the files are unreadable)
  • Access you data thru a web interface
  • Share you data publicly or privately
  • Document versioning
  • Calendar and contact sharing
  • LDAP/Active Directory users’ management

I really invite you to try it, this project has a great potential and a real benefit for any user owning a NAS or a server.

Verdict for ownCloud
Pros Cons

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆ 

  • Price!! It is free!!
  • Open source
  • Multi-platform
  • Encryption
  • Quotas per user
  • Sharing functionality
  • Shadow Copy for PST files!
  • So much more…
  • If only the Android client could read your calendars and contacts to store them…
  • The incapacity to exclude sub-folders of one in sync
Verdict Not only free, this software offer an “unlimited” storage it is also versatile. The functions never stop to grow and the community is very active. Store, share, sync, listen your music online… Not much is missing, try it!