The ownCloud effort is moving forward today with new community and enterprise releases. OwnCloud is an open source file sharing and synchronization technology that has often been compared to Dropbox.
The ownCloud 4.5 release is the first major release of the platform since the ownCloud 4.0 release in May of this year.
Among the major enhancements to ownCloud 4.5 is support for mounting third party storage. That means that an ownCloud deployment can potentially manage its own storage as well as leverage other online storage sources such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Amazon S3.
Access to the third party storage is delivered securely by different means depending on the storage type. Frank Karlitschek, founder of the ownCloud project and CTO of the commercial ownCloud company, explained that with WebDAV for example, ownCloud uses an ssl-encrypted connection with login/password authentication.
“Dropbox uses the Dropbox API with ssl and an api key that the user has to generate at Dropbox,” Karlitschek said. “Amazon S3 uses the native API with SSL and login/password. So the answer is, it depends on the backend, but it’s always encrypted.”
In addition to the multi-storage support, keeping everything in sync will now be easier as well. Instead of relying on a time stamp — which isn’t always accurate — to identify the newest version of a file, ownCloud 4.5 is introducing a new unique ID for each file. Karlitschek noted that on the first run of ownCloud 4.5 all pre-existing data will automatically get the ID as well.
File versioning overall also gets a boost in ownCloud 4.5, thanks to a more streamlined and intelligent system.
“For example, the versioning history on the server is now preserved if you rename a file on the Desktop,” Karlitschek said. “And it handles uploading of files that already exist correctly by merging them together instead of creating a different document.”
The commercial version of ownCloud 4.5 is also being extended. The first commercial release of ownCloud debuted in April of this year as an enterprise supported version of the open source project.
The commercial release now includes support for the use of Oracle as a back-end database of ownCloud. Additionally, there is an enhanced logging module that will help aid audit and compliance needs. Dynamic user storage that is based on user role is a also new feature that is included only in the commercial release of ownCloud 4.5.
Moving forward there is another major release of ownCloud planned before the end of the year.
“The ownCloud 5 release is planed for December,” Karlitschek said. “The major new feature will be strong client-side and server-side encryption.”
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.