What would a round-up be without an open-source solution? ownCloud is unique among the products we look at here in that you don't rely on or trust a third-party to manage your data in the cloud: instead, ownCloud lets you make your own. In other words, ownCloud lets you become your own cloud service provider for your business, with full control over where and how the data is stored.
And when it comes to storage, you're not limited by just what's on your network. ownCloud can amalgamate multiple storage sources into one shared cloud that appears as a single service to users. Sources are divided into primary and secondary sources, and can consist of everything from local network drives, SAN, NAS, virtual or direct-attached storage to FTP servers, SharePoint, managed services like Amazon S3, and even other cloud storage services like Dropbox. Windows home directories can also be directly integrated, utilising attributes from Active Directory/LDAP.
One excellent feature this allows is to allocate, for example, sensitive business data locally where you have full control of the servers, while using secondary sources like cloud storage for less critical data, and managed through a single interface.
The structure can also be extended to include multiple ownCloud instances, for example having offices in two different countries using their own locally managed ownCloud, while still allowing the two clouds to share data together, and by extension with employees at each location.
Collaboratively folders can be shared among groups, password protected files and expiration times can be set, and an application plugin allows shared editing of files, though it's limited to those based on the Open Document Format. Social collaboration software Jive is also directly supported, extending its teamwork tools with ownCloud's share and sync abilities.
Other features including custom company-branding, reporting and auditing including activity logs and file tracking, Active Directory and LDAP support, and an API to make it easier to write apps. Indeed, there is an ownCloud app store equivalent with hundreds of ready-made plugins to extend its functionality.
Like other services we look at here, ownCloud has apps for iOS and Android, as well as desktop clients for Windows, MacOS X, and Linux allowing files to be shared and accessed across a variety of platforms. Given its more malleable open source nature, you're free to build your own extensions or customisations. Typically, the standard GPL license with open source software requires that you also make your changes open source (you are, after all, building on the work of others for free) however the
Enterprise edition uses its own license from ownCloud that doesn't require this stipulation. In terms of pricing the Community edition is free but lacks many of the features of the Enterprise version, including SQL server support, Jive integration, logging and reporting, and more flexible storage sources like support for Amazon S3. And, of course, installation and on-going 24/7 support. The Enterprise edition is sold as an annual subscription for a minimum of 50 users.