ownCloud 5: improved usability, more integration and better performance

Version 5 of ownCloud Server has been released on 14 March 2013. ownCloud is the open source software alternative to Dropbox, Box.net, Wuala and other online storage options. It is written in PHP, runs on a web server and provides file storage, synchronization and sharing. The Community edition can be downloaded for free, and the company offers commercial support and consulting with Business and Enterprise versions. These commercial versions have features that are of specific interest to enterprise customers, such as MS SQL and Oracle support, white label mobile clients, groupware and directory service applications. Here's a comparison of the different versions.

As an organisation, you can install ownCloud in your data center or on any computer you control. Hence, you know how your data is stored and you can control access to it - which is impossible with existing online storage providers. It is a stand-alone product, but it can be connected to Dropbox, Swift, FTP, S3, GoogleDocs and WebDAV. This is important for users who are already using these services and might like a gradual migration path.
So what's new in ownCloud 5? According to Frank Karlitschek, CTO of ownCloud, the three major elements are integration, performance and usability. Here's Frank's blog post about the release. Here are some new features.
  • The new layout is more intuitive. Log-out and settings have been combined into the user menu. The new Lucene-based search engine is more responsive. You can search for files by name as well as their content.
  • Improved versioning with a progressive algorithm that expires old versions when running out of disk space.
  • Trash bin support, so users can restore files that were unintentionally deleted through the web interface. File versions are maintained after recovery.
  • ClamAV has been integrated to scan files for viruses and malware. Choose whether to just log or report an infected file, and/or to terminate it without mercy.
  • File size and progress bar are displayed during file downloads.
  • LDAP/Active Directory enhancements. A user can select a display names like "John Doe", instead of “cn=john,ou=teamx,dc=kangaroot,dc=net”.
  • Increased performance with external storage like Dropbox, Swift, FTP, S3, GoogleDocs and WebDAV.
  • Improved performance . The company says disk write performance can increase up to 500%.
In the future, Karlitschek hinted at more integration with all existing cloud services. As an open source solution, ownCloud doesn't have the limitations of other providers, who sell a product and are driven by what their customers are willing to pay for. So they can implement solutions that aren't necessarily beneficial to their maintainers, but solve the real problems of users.
If you need help with migration to a secure online file storage that you can control yourself, give us a call! If you want to give ownCloud a spin, get a free 30-day trial account with us.
Erica (communication)
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