Occasionally there is a piece software that comes along which astonishes me that I can download it for free. We have been recently investigating the ability for our users to sync their docs with a cloud service, primarily for backup.
We have looked at Google Drive, DropBox and SkyDrive and there are many others. All have advantages / disadvantages however there is one thing that none of them seem to do – local storage. We simply can’t have 1,500 users all trying to sync to the Internet and expect it to work across our 50 meg pipe. We need it to be stored locally, on one of our servers. Sure we’ll need tons of storage and won’t have intercontinental redundancy and failover, but let’s be honest we are not backing up nuclear launch codes here. One large RAID 5 storage should do the trick.
So a little research and we came across VMWare’s Project Octopus. The video looks good but it’s still closed beta and once released who knows how much it’ll cost. Then a colleague found ownCloud - basically DropBox for your network. Best of all it’s open source!! So we first of all downloaded the VMWare image from the downloads page and tried it out with the Mac sync client. Worked like a charm! So we continued and tried to set it up on a Mac. Here’s the steps:
- Take your Mac with Lion (10.7.4 was used) and open the System Preferences and click ‘Sharing’
- Make sure Web sharing is NOT clicked.
- Drive into the Terminal and you need to edit the Apache Web server config file - vi /etc/apache2/httpd.conf
- Find the following line
- #LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/libphp5.so
- Remove the #
- Go back to the system prefs and tick ‘Web Sharing’
- Now download the server code from http://owncloud.org/support/install/
- Copy the uncompressed owncloud directory to /Library/WebServer/Documents/
- Point your browser to http://127.0.0.1/owncloud/
- Enter an admin user/pass
Now grab the sync client, available for Mac, Linux and if you are unlucky enough Windows too.
Enter the server IP and your username / password and your done. A folder in your home folder is created called ownCloud. Anything you throw in there is synchronised, with version support, to the server on your LAN. Cool.
There is commercial support available if you need too, see owncloud.com.
So how have we found it? So far so good, the sync works well and the web interface is simple with heaps of options. It connected to our LDAP with minimal fuss and we currently have 10 people syncing and testing. All good so far. I’ll keep you posted as we add more load, hopefully it’s a winner!