“What’s the cloud?” “Where is the cloud?” “Are we in the cloud now?!”
These are all questions you’ve probably heard or even asked yourself.
In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. It goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulonimbus cloud, accepting connections and doling out information as it floats.
What cloud computing is not about is your hard drive. When you store data on–or run programs from the hard drive, that’s called local storage and computing. Everything you need is physically close to you, which means accessing your data is fast and easy (for that one computer, or others on the local network). Working off your hard drive is how the computer industry functioned for decades and some argue it’s still superior to cloud computing, for reasons I’ll explain shortly.
The cloud is also not about having a dedicated hardware server in residence. Storing data on a home or office network does not count as utilizing the cloud.
For it to be considered “cloud computing,” you need to access your data or your programs over the Internet, or at the very least, have that data synchronized with other information over the Net. In a big business, you may know all there is to know about what’s on the other side of the connection; as an individual user, you may never have any idea what kind of massive data-processing is happening on the other end. The end result is the same: with an online connection, cloud computing can be done anywhere, anytime.
Access Your Data
Store your files, folders, contacts, photo galleries, calendars and more on a server of your choosing. Access them from your mobile device, your desktop, or a web browser. Access your data wherever you are, when you need it.
Sync Your Data
Keep your files, contacts, photo galleries, calendars and more synchronized amongst your devices. One folder, two folders and more – get the most recent version of your files with the desktop and web client or mobile app of your choosing, at any time.
Share Your Data
Share your data with others, and give them access to your latest photo galleries, your calendar, your music, or anything else you want them to see. With or without password or time limit. Share it publicly, or privately. It is your data, do what you want with it.
Server to server sharing: seamlessly share files with users on a different ownCloud installation. Don’t be limited by a shared folder but put files where you want without losing sight on who owns what.
Faster and more efficient design, suitable for mobile devices. No more waiting for the next page to load thanks to infinite scrolling. Find your files by sorting by name or modified date.
Store, Access and Control
Use an Object Store as primary storage. Connect applications with ownCloud through the new, easy to use webhooks. Control how users share data and be notified when yours is accessed.
Mobile and Desktop syncing
Access your data on any platform. Use the Android or iOS clients to work with your files on the go or synchronize your favorite folders seamlessly between your desktop and laptop devices.
External Storage and Encryption
Add external storage to your ownCloud with Dropbox, SWIFT, FTPs, Google Docs, S3, external WebDAV servers and more. Enable the encryption app to encrypt data on external storage for improved security and privacy.
ownCloud Documents is collaborative editing of rich-text documents that lets up to 5 individuals collaborate to edit .odt or .doc files securely within the browser. Documents may then be shared inside ownCloud or via a public link.
Versioning and Undelete
ownCloud stores your data and lets you bring back data that was deleted accidentally. Find previous versions of files you modified and bring them back.
Share photo galleries with friends and family. Give them access to upload pictures, view and download them. Send a link to anybody you choose, and control whether they can share those photos with anyone else.
See what is going on in your ownCloud. See who shared a file with you or when you created, changed or deleted files. Access the feed via RSS, an API for Desktop or Mobile clients or receive email notifications.
Share your calendar with other ownCloud users or groups on your ownCloud server, easy and quick.
Store your contacts in ownCloud and share them among your devices so you always have access to your friends, family and colleagues.
Want to add one of the existing applications to ownCloud? Simply enable a new application in settings, and it will be automatically downloaded and installed in your ownCloud instance.