"Privacy is the foundation of democracy", says German activist-entrepreneur Frank Karlitschek. A conviction that drove him to start the development of a private cloud alternative in 2010, a project he now runs as the CEO of Nextcloud. The use of Nextcloud is spreading among individuals who want to avoid foreign, public cloud solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive or One Drive. But also within companies, universities or ministries, such as the French Ministry of the Interior that want to stay in control of their data.
"Privacy is the foundation of democracy"Frank Karlitschek, CEO of Nextcloud
When Nextcloud is used as a collaboration platform, the question of what technology will be used to store, make available and secure the documents shared via the platform is a key issue.
An open source collaboration platform, in private cloud mode
Over the last decade, Nextcloud has become the standard in the field of on-premises collaboration platforms. Sharing resources with third parties, collaborative editing of documents, file synchronization between multiple devices, instant messaging, audio and video calls, shared calendars and contacts... Nextcloud has all the features required for teamwork today. It also offers easy to use applications for desktop, smartphone and tablet.
In addition, the current widespread use of the home office due to covid-19 demonstrates that corporate NAS servers, accessible from the corporate network or behind a VPN, no longer meet today's user needs.
Entirely open source, this European-designed software (Nextcloud's headquarters are located in Stuttgart, Germany, but its employees all work from home and are distributed over two dozen countries) is today able to compete with solutions such as Microsoft Office 365 or Google's G Suite. Nextcloud is designed for self-hosting, in private cloud mode, and offers solid guarantees in terms of data security and confidentiality. This is a real asset since the GDPR regulations have created more awareness around the protection of personal data.
When an organization wants to set up a Nextcloud platform, where each user has an account associated with a storage space, the question of data storage arises. In the case of an individual deploying a Nextcloud instance, for example on a NAS server, the storage is done locally on the disks of the machine, and the data can be protected by a RAID mechanism. This is called local or primary storage.
For a larger platform, intended to host hundreds or even tens of thousands of accounts and as many GB, as is the case for universities, multiple storage options become relevant. Besides the primary storage, for which OpenIO’s object storage can be used, there is also the ability to connect a variety of external storage solutions which can be shared with other infrastructure tools. For example, a business application can deposit data on or read data from a drive, which is then accessible by Nextcloud. External storage can be connected via different protocols, including the S3 API – this is where OpenIO’s object storage technology comes into play!
"OpenIO storage technology is not only compatible with Nextcloud, but is also an ideal choice, developed by a team of French engineers, its core is open source. OpenIO is leading the next generation of object stores, that are focused on performance and hyper scalability."Andreas Rode, Head of Sales at Nextcloud
Advantages of OpenIO in the Nextcloud use case
There are many advantages to opting for OpenIO. Firstly, we should consider the scalability of storage. The primary storage available from Nextcloud will sooner or later be constrained by the capacity of the application server chassis. An OpenIO cluster, on the other hand, is infinitely scalable, and the added resources are immediately available (this is what we call Instant Scaling).
Next, let’s look at data protection. OpenIO supports data security via erasure coding (the software-operated equivalent of RAID), which is more efficient in terms of space consumption. And the platform administrator can fine-tune the desired level of protection. A storage solution like OpenIO is designed to be resilient, which means it’s tolerant to disk breakage, and to the loss of a server. OpenIO is also designed to absorb the load, both read and write, so that application servers hosting Nextcloud services are not slowed down when a large number of users upload or download files. All this ensures high data availability.
Finally, there’s also the question of controlling costs; a "software-defined" technology such as OpenIO makes it possible to operate standard servers at low cost. These can be on-premise or at a cloud service provider such as OVHcloud. This allows you to choose the geographical location of your data.
When the Nextcloud platform experiences load peaks, OpenIO proves to be a natural choice: our technology set a performance record at the end of 2019, by breaking through the terabit per second write speed during the #TbpsChallenge.
For these different reasons, several of our customers have chosen OpenIO to deploy Nextcloud platforms. Also, responding to Cédric O, French Secretary of State for Digital Technology, and in partnership with BeeZim (open source solutions expert) and OVHcloud (European leader in cloud computing), OpenIO recently deployed a platform of this type. The platform Nextcloud + OpenIO was created to give teachers the possibility to share educational resources and to provide them with 100 GB (per account) of free storage space.