ownCloud File Syncing Adds 'Plug-and-Play' Features

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

June 28, 2012

2 Min Read
ownCloud File Syncing Adds 'Plug-and-Play' Features

ownCloud, the open source file syncing platform, continued its evolution this week with the addition of several cool new features to its commercial offerings, all touted as enhancements to the “plug-and-play-ability” of the product. How does ownCloud now stand up to proprietary competitors? Keep reading for details.

The latest iterations of ownCloud’s Business and Enterprise editions, based on the community-developed ownCloud 4 platform, introduce a slew of new features. The full list is available on the ownCloud blog, but here are the major items worth noting:

  • Support for file history and versioning, enabling users to “roll back” to older versions of files stored in the ownCloud infrastructure.

  • Introduction of calendar and contact syncing.

  • Interface improvements, including drag-and-drop folder sharing.

  • Two new APIs: One for server-client interactions and the other for writing server plug-ins.

  • Better LDAP integration, permitting IT administrators to manage user and group accounts from within their own Active Directory servers.

  • Syslog-based logging.

  • Support for custom theming by modifying image libraries and javascript files.

The open source world’s answer to proprietary file syncing services such as Dropbox, then, is now even better-positioned to deliver equivalent functionality with less-rigid licensing. The latest version of ownCloud also offers channel partners more opportunities for collaboration — especially, one presumes, thanks to the new API, which should make customizing ownCloud deployments and infrastructures easier than ever.

Plug-and-Play File Syncing

The most recent iteration adds lots of new functionality. But probably the most important aspect of this update — and the one ownCloud itself seems to be emphasizing the most — is the way in which several of these new features make ownCloud a “plug-and-play” solution for file syncing, enabling organizations to integrate an ownCloud infrastructure directly and seamlessly into their existing IT environments.

Custom theming — even if it’s only about switching up simple stuff like colors and fonts — is a big part of that equation. ownCloud now can be tailored to fit an organization’s look and feel, keeping users more comfortable by ensuring consistent branding across IT environments.

Support for syslog logging will also make it simpler for IT administrators to integrate ownCloud logs into the infrastructure they already have in place. Again, this is a relatively small feature on its own, but combined with other changes it enhances ownCloud’s appeal in a significant way.

And last but not least, the new ownCloud APIs also contribute majorly to the product’s ready integrability into existing infrastructures. Since ownCloud is open source, of course, it always has been possible to customize the code. But the APIs will make creating custom functionality easier, allowing IT to tailor the platform to an organization’s needs with less time and effort, and without being experts in the underlying code.

And so the latest ownCloud products go further to achieve what open source is supposed to do best: maximize customizability and integrability.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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