No, there is no error in the title. I am talking about making your own cloud solution using the software called ownCloud.
Make your own cloud
If you don’t like to have your private data stored somewhere on a server in the world, then probably your only solution is to use an USB hard drive. There is hope in sight, because now you can have your own private cloud similar to Dropbox, Box.net, Google Drive and others.
ownCloud is an open source software suite, written in PHP, that provides file storage, realtime synchronization and sharing. It provides the same basic features of Dropbox, Box.net and GDrive together. But there is more… a whole lot more. In contrast to the above mentioned commercial offerings users keep control of their data, while still being able to share it with others and access it from anywhere in the world.
Here is how to start your own cloud in a few easy steps:
- Install the server it
Choose from owncloud.org the package for your operating system.
I strongly recommend to install ownCloud using Linux packages available here. If you can’t then download the archive and follow the instructions.
The installation guide will help you here. The first time you access ownCloud in your browser, it will prompt you for configuration parameters, and after you provide the details, your cloud service is ready for action. I strongly advise you to access data over encrypted connections only and to deploy the Suhosin PHP security extension.
Once you installed it, you need to configure it.
Click on the account name on the top right corner and select “Admin”.
You can add here information about yourself, add users that can use your server and set various administrative settings.
Probably the most important thing in ownCloud is its extensibility. You can add “Apps” which extend the functions offered by the cloud service.
Feel free to play with them, but don’t add too many because your server will significantly slow down.
In the latest version it appears that there are some problems with the selecting of the apps to be loaded from the UI. However, you can install any of the apps using the good documentation provided.
After you configured it, you’re good to go. Upload some files and the system will automatically categorize them in Music and Pictures.
You can also add Contacts and Calendars in order to have a complete service.
You can use ownCloud’s calendar with any application that supports CalDAV . You need to get the direct URL of your calendar ( click on Calendar and then on the wheel on the top-right side) to see the URL of the CalDAV calendar.
ownCloud supports sharing and collaboration between users. The web interface helps administrators manage users and groups and even restrict their storage resources using quotas. ownCloud also supports LDAP and Open ID for authentication purposes.
You can access your music stored in ownCloud with every Ampache-compatible media player. You can find the URL for your specific ownCloud installation in your personal settings, or replace ADDRESS with the URL of your ownCloud installation yourself.
Ampache-compatible players that work with ownCloud include:
- amaroK, standard KDE music player
- tomahawk, cross platform player
- justplayer, music player for android
You can find more information about Ampache and other players at the Ampache wikipedia article.
In the Apps there are a few video players that can render the most common formats. Choose any of them and test which one fits your needs.
ownCloud enables admins to manage users and groups from their LDAP or AD instance.
For details how to set up the integration with LDAP and AD you must check this article.
The sync clients
Any cloud service is useless without a proper client. And ownCloud has one for Windows (free), Mac(free), Linux(free), iOS (not free) and Android (not free).
The client works similar to the Dropbox and GDrive clients. It allows you to select the directory where the client drops the file “ownCloud”.
PROs and CONs for an own cloud service
Hopefully, the article made you curious and you are thinking to give ownCloud a try.
There are things which you should be aware of when you install your own cloud. Companies like Dropbox, Box.com, Google and others that offer such services are investing seriously into infrastructure, availability, reliability, fault tolerance, backup and security. If you have your own server, you will have to take care of all these by yourself. If you don’t know how to do this, then better remain to your favourite online backup provider. Failing to implement a service with the above characteristics will probably, sooner or later, end up in you losing your files or worse, allowing cyber criminals access to your data.
© Copyright 2013 Sorin Mustaca, All rights Reserved. Written For: Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity
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