Nine home clouds compared

Cloud It Yourself

Grau DataSpace

Grau Data from Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, offers Grau DataSpace (GDS), a product that is difficult to compare with the other candidates in our test.

Grau Data has many years of experience in the field of hierarchical storage management (HSM), archiving, and data exchange, and it primarily addresses businesses and providers with its GDS [9]. In terms of architecture here, Grau DataSpace is more at home in the content management category than as a free cloud.

A master-master replication completes the client-server model in Grau. This means, for example, that you can achieve cross-site, comprehensive data replication, thus catering to even the most complex scenarios, including setting up emergency data centers in a hybrid cloud. GDS is therefore quite liberal when it comes to choosing the storage back end. Although Grau always manages the metadata in a SQL database, the data storage itself can reside in the database, any CIFS store, or in an ObjectStore (e.g., Open Stack Swift or Amazon S3).

More of a CMS than a Cloud

With regard to the client access methods, GDS takes different approaches in addition to the usual, but with an HTML5-optimized web interface. Support from the content management interoperability services (CMIS), from the enterprise content management (ECM) camp, allows an exchange of data with other CMIS-enabled applications, such as SAP or SharePoint, while supporting access via existing CMIS clients, such as CmisSync. CMIS is also the basis for native clients on mobile devices that are available for Windows Phone and BlackBerry in addition to Android and iOS. A web interface optimized for smartphones and tablets by the name of Touch UI completes the offer.

Another method of accessing the data stored in GDS is via a gateway, which ownCloud synchronization clients can connect to. On the local network, admins can also allow access via CIFS.

For the fourth quarter of 2014, Grau Data is planning to release version 2.4 of GDS. This comes with a heavily revised desktop synchronization architecture, multiclient capability for use in hosting a "server trashcan."

Conclusions: Grau DataSpace is a highly scalable platform for the exchange of data in the enterprise.

Pydio

This project [10] was launched in 2010 as AjaXplorer by French programmer Charles du Jeu, but it was renamed by the developers to Pydio (Put Your Data Into Orbit; Figure 4) in October 2013. Apparently, the date also marked the transition to an additional commercial offering by Abstrium SAS, whose website is still under construction. The server-side architecture shows many parallels with ownCloud; however, with the almost simultaneous launch of the two projects, the question "Who invented it?" is difficult to answer.

Figure 4: Most users will quickly discover how to navigate the Pydio web interface.

In both tools, a front end written in PHP uses a MySQL or SQLite database to manage the metadata and stores the actual data on external or local storage. Currently, access to data in Pydio is limited to the web front end and mobile apps for iOS and Android, as well as a WebDAV interface. The desktop client, written in Java, has been frozen in beta since January 2014 and is being completely revised.

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