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The Open Cloud Mesh project is coordinated by GÉANT with contributions from CERN, National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), academic institutions and commercial partners.

Interconnected Private Clouds for Universities and Researchers

Open Cloud Mesh (OCM) is a joint international initiative under the umbrella of the GÉANT Association that is built on the open Federated Cloud Sharing application programming interface (API) - first initiated and implemented by ownCloud Inc. - taking Universal File Access beyond the borders of individual clouds and into a globally interconnected mesh of research clouds without sacrificing any of the advantages in privacy, control and security an on-premises cloud provides. OCM defines a vendor-neutral, common file access layer across an organization and/or across globally interconnected organizations, regardless of the user data locations and choice of clouds.

Concept document

The Open Cloud Mesh concept document was produced by Christian Schmitz at ownCloud Inc. and first distributed on 23 July 2015. The project has been established under the auspices of the GÉANT Association in order to ensure the vendor neutral design and development of the open protocol.

Download from here...


All leading partners of the Open Cloud Mesh project are fully committed to the open API design principle. This means that - from day one - the OCM sharing API should be discussed, designed and developed as a vendor neutral protocol to be adopted by any on-premise sync&share product vendor or service provider. We acknowledge the fact that the piloting of the first working interface prototype will be carried out in an ownCloud environment that should not effect the adoption of the open API in any other vendor and provider domain.

Community effort - open for participation

A collaborative project was established under the umbrella of GÉANT called the Open Cloud Mesh project on 22 October 2015. The kick-off meeting was held in Vienna, Austria.

The project is co-managed by Peter Szegedi (GÉANT), Jakub Moscicki (CERN) and Christian Schmitz (ownCloud). This combination of project management ensures that all the major stakeholders – GÉANT National Research and Education Networks, CERN research community and ownCloud Inc. as a commercial company with its open source developers community – are equally represented in the project and the technical, management and business aspects are well-covered.

The collaborative project is fully open to any participation and in-kind contributions. Interested parties can subscribe to the mailing list at:

GÉANT Project code P15_225



Key stakeholders



Interest / Involvement / Role


Stakeholder Comments

Organizations from the research and/or education space
Peter SzegediGÉANTProject managementA, RCommitted

Jakub Moscicki

Massimo Lamanna

CERNProject managementA, RCommitted
Ron TrompertSURFsaraContribute to the specifications and developmentR, CCommitted

Benedikt Wegmann

Ralph Krimmel

GWDGContribute to the specifications and developmentR, CCommitted
Woojin SeokKISTIInterest from South KoreaI 
Universities and Higher Educational Institutions

Holger Angenent

Sciebo / Uni Münster

Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


Andreas EckeyTechnische Universität BerlinContribute to the specifications and developmentR, C 
Christian KracherUniversity of ViennaContribute to the specifications and developmentR, CCommitted
National Research and Education Networks
Rogier SpoorSURFnetContribute to the specifications and developmentR, C 

Christoph Herzog

Simon Leinen


Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


Guido Aben

David Jericho


Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


David Antoš


Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


Frederik Orellana


Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


Kurt Bauer


Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


Jari Miettinen

CSC / Funet / EUDAT

Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


Hrachya Astsatryan

Andranik Hayrapetyan


ASNET-AMContribute to the specifications and development Committed
Commercial vendors
Christian SchmitzownCloudProject managementA, RCommitted

Charles du Jeu

David Gillard

PydioContribute to the specifications and developmentR, CCommitted
Christian SprajcPowerFolderInterestedI 
Russell AlbertZettaboxInterestedI 
Frank KarlitschekNextcloudContribute to the specifications and developmentR, CCommitted

The project will be delivered in phases.


Project plan (Phase III.)


June 2016 - January 2017

OCM - Phase II.

Phase II. aims at demonstrating the OCM protocol first implemented and working between two independent sync&share software vendors' domains. A live demonstration happened at TNC'16 in June 2016.

February 2016 - June 2016

1. Pre-project (preparation)


Pick up the results on Phase I.

See section 4.2 Deliverable of Phase I. below...

Create the new structure of two WGs:

  1. Strategic WG
  2. Technical WG

Assign mailing lists above


Peter Szegedi19 January 20165 February 2016


2. Initiation      
2.1Call for a kick-off video conference
What are the next steps for OCM?
Understanding current usage of Federated Sharing feature
- How many ownCloud sites in our community have this feature enabled? 
- How many admins know about this feature? 
- What prevents them from enabling it? 
- If enabled, how many users have already used this functionality.
  • [ACTION] Christian to send a questionnaire to all known ownCloud instance admins.

  • [ACTION] Holger to prepare simple admin instructions on how to check usage and status.
General feeling is that we do not have enough understanding of this technology
Tilo proposed to setup a test bed where we could check various technical aspects (ref: and get confidence.
  • [ACTION] Kuba to send preliminary test plan.
Involvement of pioneer users
Tilo proposed to involve pioneer users early on to get real user feedback. The extent of exposure of the users should be function of progress in point (2). 
  • [ACTION] All participants of the call are asked to look for potential users that would be willing to try out this functionality. There should be a real use-case for it e.g. members of the same research group sitting in different locations and using private clouds in their institutes already.
Possible candidate users identified already: 
  - Physicists from ETH and CERN.
  - Others...

Christian Schmitz19 January 201611 February 2016


2.2Define objectives, key results and timelines
  • Repeat the Zurich demo but with more domains and more interesting use cases.
  • Demonstrate the interest and if possible the active participation of vendors other than ownCloud Inc.
Peter Szegedi11 February 201611 March 2016


3.  Subsequent stages (execution)      
3.1Build the OCM community

ownCloud v.8.2 or higher: Uni Münster, Uni Vienna, AARnet, SWITCH, CESNET, GWDG

Others very close: SURFnet, CERN

Pydio v.6.4: ASNET-AM, University of Lausanne (TBC)

Peter Szegedi19 January 2016 


3.2KEY - Involvement of other vendors...

Locate other vendors and identify user cases, universities with two products and cross-sharing needs.


News from Christian:

Pydio will most likely join OCM. They are actually aiming for test implementation by end of March.


Charles du Jeu and David Gillard from Pydio ( joined the OCM project.

Charles, the CEO/CTO of Pydio, confirmed that that are preparing the release of an important dev version, that actually contains the Federated Sharing API implementation. See for more info. Pydio is making its best to have this release transformed to a stable one by the end of this month.

Press release


Russell Albert from Zettabox signaled his interest in OCM. Discussion is on-going...


Christian Sprajc from PowerFolder signaled his interest in the OCM project and reported this

PowerFolder Federated Clouds feature now available: Testers needed!

We just finished the first version of PowerFolder including federated cloud sharing:
PowerFolder in willing to open up their API and comply with the OCM protocol at a later phase.


Frank Karlitschek from Nextcloud (ownCloud fork) joined the OCM project.


Christian Schmitz

Peter Szegedi

19 January 201616 March 2016


3.3Demonstrate inter-vendor OCM functionality

29-03-2016 OCM call at 2pm CET

1) Charles (Pydio) demonstrated via screen-share the OCM functionality that has been implemented by Pydio in their software. Federated sharing of files was shown between two local independent instances of Pydio v.6.4.0.(to be released on 30 March) running locally.


  • Server name and user name must be defined separately. Should work with username@domain@servername (TBC)
  • Shared files are kept in a tree separate from the local file tree (this topic is also being discussed by the OCM community)

2) Charles (Pydio) and Frank (ownCloud) also tested the interoperability (technical feasibility) of the OCM protocol implementations between Pydio v.6.4 and ownCloud v.9.0 offline. It was reported successful but yet to be seen...

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 14.20.37.png


Charles du Jeu

David Gillard

Frank and Lukas

16 March 201629 March 2016



Multi-vendor OCM validation by the Community

ownCloud - Pydio

1) AARNet (Guido) initiated some initial testing with ASNET-AM (Hrachya)

AARNet (Australia) uses ownCloud and ASNET-AM (Armenia) uses Pydio.

  • Some initial issues out of the box. Pydio developers are involved...
  • Results to be seen...


2) More Pydio users and test scenarios to be defined (see 3.1)

  • RENATER and University of Lausanne to be contacted...

Guido Aben

Hrachya Astsatryan

Andranik Hayrapetyan




4. Delivery      
4.1Demonstration at the TNC'16 Conference in Prague, Czech Republic

DEMONSTRATION ownCloud, Pydio: Interoperability demo at GÉANT booth

Lightning talk by Guido Aben: submitted and approved

Presented by Christian Schmitz, ownCloud.

Christian Schmitz

Guido Aben

Charles du Jeu

19 January 201613 June 2016


4.2Demo feedback

This vision is that the OCM spec should be:

  • compliant: with standard practices of the http world (error codes, conventions,…)
  • described: using industry-strength documentation/testing system (e.g.
  • neutral: should not have any artifacts or assumptions stemming directly from particular implementation or implementation language
  • modular: allow providers to implement minimal functionality and add optional components of the spec as they please (or not)
  • minimal: offload as much as possible of additional functionality to existing mechanisms in the network, especially for optional modules (e.g. lookup)
  • secure: compliant with modern security frameworks (e.g. OAuth2, JWT, …) For the modules, I would consider at first: - auth/autz negotiation - sharing of files - synchronization of files - user discovery (optional)
  • robust: implementations should continue to deliver their  service even when interacting with a failed implementation/service or malicious intended attempts at federation as attack vector


  • auth/autz negotiation
  • sharing of files
  • synchronization of files
  • user discovery (optional)
  30 June 2016


5. ClosingPublish results and define next phase

Latest OCM protocol implementation on GitHub:

News item about the OCM demo at TNC'16:

Next steps:

  • We'll find a professional protocol designer who will describe OCM in a more formalized way (using Swagger Framework or similar). 
  • We'll establish a reference infrastructure and test environment where the implementations can be validated against. 
  30 June 2016


OCM - Phase I.

Phase I. aims at demonstrating the first working prototype of the OCM protocol (API v1.0 BETA) functionally working between two separate administrative ownCloud domains (i.e. between two NRENs).

October 2015 - February 2016

1. Pre-project (preparation)

Start collecting organizations and people interested in joining the initiative.

Mailing list to be created. Announcements to be made.

Peter Szegedi

Christian Schmitz

8 February 201515 June 2015COMPLETE
2. Initiation      

ownCloud to release the first version of the API code and documentation.


Code v.0.002 has been released on 27 July 2015 by ownCloud Inc.

Comments have been provided by CERN.

Christian Schmitz8 February 201527 July 2015


   2.2Create a project team, estimate budget and organize a kick-off meeting.

VC for coordination on 24 August 2015.

  • Concluded in the Communique GSec(15)015.

Pre-launch meeting organized by ownCloud on 28 August 2015 in Berlin. Peter (GÉANT), Guido (AARnet) and Kuba (CERN) and others.

  • Code v.0.002 released and commented
  • Christian as an interim leader
  • GÉANT to provide the project framework
    • Find the neutral project lead, co-chairs from the community.
    • Approach other vendors: PowerFolder, W3C, Pydio, Cozy
    • Put it in the GÉANT procurement requirements (the support for the API)

NIF/PID to be submitted and mailing list migration to be done.

Kick-off meeting: 22 October, 2015 in Vienna, Austria

The slides of the event can be found here.
password edu221015

Peter Szegedi

Christian Schmitz

8 February 201522 October 2015




3.  Subsequent stages (execution)       
3.1Get the API v.0.004 code and documentation, define the participating domains, initiate the first tests.

DRAFT protocol definition v.0.004 released

OpenCloudMesh = ownCloudMesh

Christian Schmitz15 June 201528 Augustus 2015


Demonstrate the first working prototype

Uni Münster server-to-server sharing (i.e. federated cloud sharing) feature has been demonstrated by Holger to Kuba and Peter.

There was an agreement to

  • plan for a new demonstration between two administrative domains, say SURFnet or CERN and Uni Münster.
  • collect a list of feature requests related to the function (to be discussed with ownCloud)
  • think about trust policies and quality assurances in the context of federated cloud sharing.

Comments from Kuba:

  • quality of service: in the current owncloud implementation a remote share enters into the discovery process for synchronization - unstable or poorly-performing remote instance may impact users of the local instance
  • authorization: a service manager should be in some control of which cloud instances can issue external shares requests for their users [there is plenty of room for abuse there, in addition this is amplified by the synchronisation of such injected shares on the user’s devices]
  • security: it is not clear how secure the federated sharing mechanism currently is under-the-hood
  • open protocol: is there a bottom-up interest in OCM being embraced by other sync/share software stacks?
Holger Angenent22 October 201518 November 2015


Prepare for a demonstration of the federated cloud sharing feature between two administrative domains, say SURFsara and Uni Münster

We are looking for volunteers with ownCloud server version v.8 or above to test the feature.

Ron, SURFsara pointed out the the Federated Cloud Sharing feature does not work together with SAML/Shibboleth based authentication. This is a showstopper for a planned SURFdrive - Uni Münster demonstration.

Ticket has been created:

ownCloud is working on a quick work-around. FCS just needs a user name.

Partners to demonstrate Federated Cloud Sharing on 19 January 2016:

  • Uni Münster (local users)

Holger Angenent

Andreas Wilmer

Ron Trompert

David Jericho

Guido Aben

Christian Kracher

Simon Leinen

18 November 2015

19 January 2016


3.4Initiate discussions about policies, metadata release, directories, legal issues, etc.

Two main topics have been identified (18 November 2015)

  1. Trust policy: What level of trusted relationship is needed to be established and maintained between two administrative cloud domains in order to share files and folders among their users.
  2. Quality assurance: What service level assurances are needed to be agreed and verified between two server operators in order to maintain the integrity and scalability of shared files and folder inside or outside of the users' file system.

Mind map (15 January 2016):

Kuba at CERN talked about the open issues and Simon at SWITCH talked about the standardization aspects

(19 January 2016)



Jakub Moscicki

Simon Leinen


18 November 201519 January 2016


4. Delivery      
4.1 Workshop

Open API v.1.0 documented and released at least in BETA version with the intention to come up v.2.0 vendor agnostic version (IETF WG)

Cloud Services for Synchronization and Sharing (CS3) Workshop

ETH Zürich, Switzerland; January 18-19 2016

Slides and presentation/demo materials are available!

              Praying for OCM to work...

Peter Szegedi

Christian Schmitz

Kuba Moscicki

Simon Leinen

15 November 201519 January 2016


4.2 DeliverableCome up with recommendations for the development of the API towards a new v.1.0 according to the requirements of an open standard.

Set of recommendations:

Integration with Macaroons

Cloud user lookup service

  • Need @ a @ simple @ username @ structure
  • endpoint discovery: DNS


  • Rather than trying to implement a meta-data or negotiation server, why don't we just use the NAPTR/SRV DNS RR method I proposed late last year? Multiple records, one for each protocol, makes discovery and announcement very easy, and allows the sites to use different endpoints for different protocols as suited.
    Something akin to: SRV 0 0 5009     SRV 0 0 5009      SRV 0 0 5011

    ...and so on. Discovery and compatibility is known by simple DNS query, and dynamically configurable using existing standards and tools. Supporting new protocols becomes a server side issue, rather than having to make any additional software aware.

Protocol negotiation handshake


  • What would you think of a signaling mechanism, comparable to the handshake when handling the method for an encrypted connection? We think of something like: Server A asks server B for a connection and offers WebDAV and CMIS and asks server B which of these it likes. Server B speaks only WebDAV so they agree to use this. Of course it is clear that now it could happen that both servers do not offer a matching method. But the acceptance threshold to participate at OCM could be lowered since only the signaling would be mandatory.


  • At least if the mandate was WebDAV for the most basic method, that would be the lowest barrier to entry. WebDAV has been around since 1996, and it really doesn't extend existing HTTP that far, there's no real excuse for not implementing it. A technical person is able to talk to a service using telnet/netcat/socat and do sharing functions manually, as well as making it simple to do these things programmatically using curl. Metadata against the query is also trivial, because HTTP/(1.1|2) support headers that can be used to carry all the relevant information.
  • Caching should be a secondary consideration, because it's a non-trivial activity to get right (consider HTTP caching and HTTP 304 return codes). Our primary concern is fast transfer, reliable transfer, and having people join in. In the case of many small files, many alternate protocols allow streaming, batching or the like, akin to the old days of asking a ftp server for a tar of a directory.

Security and Trust

  • Trusted curcle of servers vs. open internet policy
  • Verification of architectures and deployments up to a community standard. DeiC's Smashbox idea
  • More admin features are in 9.0 also better addressing and web popup. Shibboteh ticket.
Data path for federated shares
  • pass-through: data is pumped from server B to the client A via server A (as currently available)
  • server-cache: as mentioned by Holger (comes with potential consistency&refresh mechanism issues to be addressed)
  • client redirect: as mentioned by Paul Millar (would affect the current usability model of ownCloud)

Pick a preferred home for standardization

  • IETF??? - Simon to give a thought


All the recommendations have been fed into the Phase II initiation phase.

All19 January 201605 February 2016


5. Closing Summary

The OCM team agreed to continue and split into two working groups (WGs):

  1. Strategic policy and standardization oversee WG
  2. Technical protocol definition and implementation WG

The key objective of the Strategic WG will be to reach the ultimate "Open Cloud Mesh standard" and to oversee (not overdrive) the Technical WG making sure that the open API design principles are properly addressed. The key objective of the Technical WG will be to deliver one or more working prototypes of OCM and to provide (not force) input to the Strategic WG making sure that their assumptions are realistic.

The detailed objectives and key results of the Phase II will be determined in the initiation phase.

Phase I is considered to be CLOSED.

News item:

Peter Szegedi19 January 201605 February 2016



  • Around early 2012, TF-Storage participants started to actively look into data storage software platforms in order to provide on-premise file-based sync&share (aka. Dropbox-like) services to their constituencies.
    • Some NRENs even ventured into the development of a proof-of-concept tool called the Trusted Cloud Drive (TCD) under TERENA
  • By mid 2013, ownCloud appeared to be the most promising one with a growing open-source development community behind.
  • In December 2013, the GÉANT Association (formerly known as TERENA) and ownCloud Inc. made an agreement that serves to facilitate the desire of various National Research and Education Networking organisations (NRENs) to introduce services based on ownCloud technology and/or to offer the technology to their constituencies.
  • As part of this collaboration effort, in January 2015, Christian Schmitz from ownCloud initiated an idea (aka. Open Cloud Mesh) to interconnect the individual on-premise private cloud domains at the server side in order to provide federated sharing and syncing functionality between the different administrative domains.


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