Cloud-based File Storage
SIAT provides a Dropbox-like service with the added benefit of storing your files on our local, hosted-in-Canada, on-campus server. That service is called OwnCloud.
You can learn more about ownCloud here: http://owncloud.org
- Big deal - I already use DropBox.
- For personal use, Dropbox is fine. But for research work, SFU has a stated position that no SFU business or documents (including email, calendars) should be sync'd to non-Canadian cloud services:
- I want to access all my stuff on all my devices.
- ownCloud is great for seamlessly integrating field-work with lab-work and office-work! Clients are available for Windows, OS X, Linux (desktop clients are free), Android, iOS and Blackberry (mobile clients cost $$$). And, you can always use a web-browser on the platform of your choice:
- Rather than using a client, is there another way to work with my ownCloud share?
- Sure - WebDAV! Here are some guidelines if you want to try WebDAV: http://doc.owncloud.org/server/5.0/user_manual/files/files.html
- Can I share my stuff selectively with other SIAT Researchers?
- Yes, ownCloud can share individual files, or even entire folders, with other SIAT system-users. Simply hover over the object you want to share, and magically - the "share" icon appears :-) Autocomplete will help you as you begin to type the recipient's name.
- You can apply for a SIAT Research Computing Account right here: http://research.iat.sfu.ca/network/apply.php
- Can I selectively share stuff with non-SIAT folks?
- Yes, you can share a really, really long link (tough to stumble across), and you can even password-protect your shared information. Perfect for collaboration. You can turn off sharing at any time.
- BIG FAT WARNING: email does NOT work with our owncloud server; cut-and-paste the link into your own email for sharing!! Even though an ownCloud dialogue box pops up for emailing, it does not actually work.
- What do I need to begin using ownCloud?
- Log in, using your SIAT research-computing-credentials: http://owncloud.iat.sfu.ca Try logging in with a web-browser first, then set up the desktop/mobile clients.
- Is my data safe?
- Probably; let's look at three aspects of "safe":
- The hardware is the "best" we've put together in SIAT - in the interests of not losing data from hard-drives, we've employed RAID-6, which allows for two drive-failures without data-loss, and on top of that we have already-spinning "hot-spare" drives ready to step in and auto-replace any failed drive. We DO NOT have tape-backups, nor off-site storage/replication of data.
- Your data is encrypted when communicating with the server. We use better cryptographic quality than DropBox does (AES-256 encryption with RSA 4096-bit keys).
- Your data IS NOT ENCRYPTED on the server. This was a deliberate decision to faciliate collaboration and file-sharing. Please use your own file-encryption utility if this is important to you, and be aware that collaboration becomes much more difficult.
- Does syncing consume lots of bandwidth?
- It can, if you have lots of data (either a large number of files, or a few files which are themselves large). You can help reduce bandwidth consumption by selectively-syncing.
- How much storage space can I use?
- 50GB. Obviously, we have a finite amount of storage and 50GB has been estimated to be a modest-but-useful amount of space. OwnCloud at SIAT began as a skunk-work project, and only a modest amount of disk-space was purchased. If this service is valuable, and if more storage is desired, then some improved funding can certainly be applied toward more storage!
- How long can I continue to use ownCloud?
- We've discussed 6 months beyond graduation / cessation of working with SIAT, but this is a new service and we all expect flexibility and open dialogue... Please voice your thoughts!