If you aren’t familiar with Owncloud, it is a very cool open-source software package that runs on Linux Apache (or Nginx) that provides “dropbox like” functionality that you can host yourself.

This is a big deal for the tech-savvy average-Joe that is worried about keeping private data private (i.e. he doesn’t want all of his personal documents stored by Microsoft, or Dropbox, or Google, etc.) but still wants the “cloud-like” functionality of being able to securely access and sync files across multiple devices.

It is also a big deal for any enterprise that wants to use “cloud storage” but has to worry about all of the above due to data security requirements. It is self-hosted, so you know exactly where all of the data is and you have control over the security components protecting it. Citrix, Dropbox, and others have realized a growing need for this and have “enterprise” products that are in the same vein. They just cost a good bit of money, don’t always meet all of the stringent security requirements imposed on some types of data, and tend to be complex/cumbersome systems.

Owncloud also has an enterprise version of their software offering which runs upwards of $10k/year. When I did a comparison of the “enterprise” vs. “open-source” the only value I could see in going enterprise was support, and one additional module that does granular file-activity-logging (i.e. user jdoe, shared this file, on this date). Obviously support is support, you aren’t going to get enterprise support without paying an enterprise price. Writing that off, that just leaves the enhanced logging.

I don’t have the requisite skill-set to build my own logging module. But Owncloud is ultimately just a web application running on Apache, so why not track it like we would any other web application? Namely, using a site analytics tool and the Apache access log. (more…)