Nextcloud Joins Up with Western Digital, Canonical to Drive Private Clouds

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 19, 2016

The extremely popular ownCloud open source file-sharing and storage platform for building private clouds has been much in the news lately. CTO and founder of ownCloud Frank Karlitschek resigned from the company a few months ago. His open letter announcing the move pointed to possible friction created as ownCloud moved forward as a commercial entity as opposed to a solely community focused, open source project.

Karlitschek had a plan, though. He came out with a fork of ownCloud called Nextcloud, and a new company organized around it. Nextcloud is based on core components of ownCloud, so it is basically proven technology. Now, Canonical and Western Digital have launched an Ubuntu Core Linux-based cloud storage and Internet of Things device called Nextcloud Box. It bundles the open source Nextcloud service and can be driven by a Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi 3 devices. This is essentially a turnkey and easy way to roll your own private cloud and manage it.

“Nextcloud Box makes hosting a personal cloud simple and cost effective whilst maintaining a secure private environment that can be expanded with additional features via apps,” notes Canonical, in a post. The post adds:

“The Nextcloud Box consists of a hard drive and a case, complemented by a Raspberry Pi 2 or a similar credit-card sized computer. The pre-configured, easy-to-use platform handles file storage and syncing, communication and more, requires no maintenance and enables users to install more functionality through apps like Spreed, OpenHab and Collabora Online. The box offers 1TB of storage. For information on where to buy please visit”

“WDLabs is very fortunate to have connected with our Nextcloud and Canonical teammates, and have found it to be a perfect fit of complementary capabilities coupled with high-speed co-development,” said Dave Chew, Chief Engineer, WDLabs. “We’ve combined our latest technologies to create an integrated hardware/software platform for the Nextcloud community focused on ease of use, extensibility and affordability.”

“We have always believed that collaboration brings out the best in communities and companies alike,” said Jane Silber, CEO at Canonical. “Together with WDLabs and Nextcloud we are able to bring the first Ubuntu Core-enabled device, as an app-enabled IoT gateway, to the market and to people’s homes.”

“It has been a great co-operation with amazingly agile teams at Canonical and WDLabs,” said Frank Karlitschek, Founder and Managing Director at Nextcloud. “Empowering home users to sync and share their data with a secure, privacy preserving solution built on a combination of cutting edge software and hardware platforms is no panacea and we’re proud to have delivered together!”

“The base with Ubuntu Core enables the device to act as an extensible IoT gateway at home, adding functionality and controlling other devices and connecting them with their owner while keeping the user secure through automatic, unattended updates,” Canonical added.

According to his Karlitschek's original letter announcing his departure from ownCloud:

"I founded the ownCloud project a little over 6 years ago with the goal to enable home users, companies, universities and big enterprises to host their own cloud services and files. In a world with growing threats around security, surveillance and espionage, this idea is becoming more important every day. 4.5 years ago I co-founded ownCloud Inc, a company that supports enterprise use of ownCloud and drives the development of ownCloud forward."

"...The company could have done a better job recognizing the achievements of the community. It sometimes has a tendency to control the work too closely and discuss things internally. But overall, the balance was not too bad."

 It looks like he has found a worthy new venture and some notable partners.