OwnCloud Extends Reach of File-Sharing API Into the Cloud

As an open source file-sharing and synchronization application, ownCloud has gained a fair amount of traction inside enterprise IT organizations. Now it's is taking advantage of public APIs to connect deployments of ownCloud with external cloud services that in effect creates a universal file system that developers can invoke using ownCloud APIs.

Version 7.0 of ownCloud Enterprise Edition provides a common file access layer that allows developers and end users alike to access data on internal servers running ownCloud or secondary sources such as Microsoft SharePoint Jive, Dropbox, Google, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). That latter capability is provided by adding support for the AWS S3 object store alongside the OpenStack SWIFT object store that ownCloud already supports.

Matthew Richards, vice president of products for ownCloud, says that via ownCloud APIs, developers can now build applications that span files stored both inside and out of the enterprise, thereby putting an end to the silos of data that have long plagued the development of business applications in the age of the cloud.

As part of that effort, Richards says ownCloud today added a server-to-server file-sharing capability between instances of ownCloud that can be hosted on premises or in the cloud. Richards says invoking APIs for a variety of external cloud services allows developers to take a more federated approach to file sharing and synchronization. Whether they like it or not, IT organizations now have to contend with multiple types of these cloud services. The challenge that creates for developers inside these organizations is that at any given time the applications they build may need to access files that could be stored almost anywhere.

Faced with all the complexity associated with accessing those files, developers are often opting to try to aggregate as many of them as possible into documents databases. The issue that creates, however, is that end users have already clearly voted with their feet to embrace a wide range of services both inside and out of the traditional enterprise. As such, Richards says, developers need to find a way to build applications that embraces that reality.

Richards says that thus far 120 applications have been developed that make use of the ownCloud API. Now that ownCloud can link internal and external file storage systems, Richards says it expects that in the months ahead the number of those ownCloud applications being developed across hybrid cloud computing scenarios using that API should increase substantially.

Be sure to read the next File Sharing article: Salesforce Files Connect Brings File Sharing to the Enterprise