Interconnected Private Clouds for Universities and Researchers

OpenCloudMesh is a joint international initiative under the umbrella of the GÉANT Association that is built on ownCloud’s open Federated Cloud sharing application programming interface (API) 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. OpenCloudMesh provides a common file access layer across an organization and across globally interconnected organizations, whether the data resides on internal servers, on object storage, in applications like SharePoint or Jive, other ownClouds, or even external cloud systems such as Dropbox and Google (syncing them to desktops or mobile apps, making them available offline).

Concept document

The OpenCloudMesh concept document was produced by ownCloud Inc. and first distributed on 23 July 2015

Download from here...


All leading partners of the OpenCloudMesh project - GÉANT, CERN and ownCloud Inc. - 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 OpenCloudMesh 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:

Key stakeholders



Interest / Involvement / Role


Stakeholder Comments

Peter SzegediGÉANTProject managementA, RCommitted

Jakub Moscicki

Massimo Lamanna


Project management

A, R


Christian Schmitz

ownCloud Inc.

Project management

A, R


Rogier Spoor


Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


Ron Trompert


Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


Christoph Herzog


Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


Guido Aben

David Jericho


Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


Holger Angenent

Sciebo / Uni Münster

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


Christian Kracher

University of ViennaContribute to the specifications and developmentR, CCommitted

Jari Miettinen


Contribute to the specifications and development

R, C


Andreas EckeyTechnische Universität BerlinContribute to the specifications and developmentR, C 
Woojin SeokKISTIInterest from South KoreaI 

The project will be delivered in phases.

Project plan (Phase II.)

The Phase II. objectives and project planning will be defined as we go. A demonstration is expected at TNC'16 in 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 conferencescheduledChristian Schmitz19 January 201611 February 2016

2.2Define objectives, key results and timelines Peter Szegedi11 February 201611 March 2016

3.  Subsequent stages (execution)      




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

Christian Schmitz

Peter Szegedi

 13 June 2016


5. Closing     

Project plan (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 2015
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!

Peter Szegedi

Christian Schmitz

Kuba Moscicki

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:

  1. Need @ a @ simple @ username @ structure
  2. Integration with Macaroons
  3. Cloud user lookup service
  4. Protocol negotiation handshake
  5. Security

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 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 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.

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, ownCloud initiated an idea (aka. OpenCloudMesh) 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.