Is there a need for open-source file sharing?

Is there genuine differentiation here?

open source nametag
Credit: opensource.com

Want a solution like Box, Dropbox or Egnyte but one you can deploy everywhere? Feel passionate about open source and want to leverage a community solution? ownCloud might just have something for you.

OwnCloud offers an on-premises enterprise file access platform, but one which is an open-source solution. The company firmly pitches its wares with stated differentiation through openness, modular architecture, extensibility and federated sharing abilities. So are they onto something here?

The company is rolling out the latest version of its software and with the release is upping the ante when it comes to document classification, file protection and federated cloud sharing. In a move that will be welcomed by larger, more conservative enterprises, this new version has an all new policy and rules engine that allows administrators to set document classification rules based on system or user-applied tags, and take actions to enforce those rules. As a result, organizations can create and execute strategies to automatically protect, retain or delete file types based on their business needs and regulatory requirements.

Alongside the regulatory and security value propositions, ownCloud is also pushing its "federated cloud sharing" as being of value. ownCloud’s federated cloud sharing model connects federated servers in multiple locations into a single user experience.  Whether sharing with outside stakeholders who require different security parameters or ensuring compliance with local, federal or global requirements, ownCloud 9.0 lets users of any other federated instance collaborate from any mobile, desktop or web interface.

It's an interesting offering and one which takes a while to get ones head around. ownCloud believes that different stakeholders with varying regulatory frameworks can collaborate on a common platform so long as there is sufficient granularity around permissions and compliance factors.

And customers seem to want to use this particular part of the offering.

In other regards, ownCloud is offering what the other file sharing vendors do -- the ability to comment and tag, provision of a real-time activity stream and logging of file history are all pretty much table stakes. In a nod of the head to security requirements, ownCloud has a context-aware policy engine that covers file and folder classifications, group access protocols and granular options such as application and connection IP control.

ownCloud is betting that organizations will be attracted to the open-source proposition. In particular, service providers can use ownCloud and change it to suit their particular requirements. This isn't, it must be said, massively different form what Box customers (for example) can do with that company's deep and rich APIs so time will tell how much of a defensible unique proposition ownCloud actually has.

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