Here’s some good news for students and employees of Lower Saxony’s universities! They can now store up to 50 GB of data in their personal cloud as well as share and collaborate with other users.

ownCloud, the open platform for better productivity and security within digital collaboration, and the “Landesarbeitskreis Niedersachsen für Informationstechnik / Hochschulrechenzentren (LANIT),” the association of the central IT of the universities of Lower Saxony, have launched their joint collaboration platform called Academic Cloud.

The Academic Cloud is designed for up to 210,000 users and has been funded by the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony. The technical implementation is carried out by the Gesellschaft für wissenschaftliche Datenverarbeitung mbH Göttingen (GWDG).

The Academic Cloud was developed specifically for use in education and research, where significantly higher requirements exist regarding security and data protection.

The Academic Cloud is already available at several universities in Lower Saxony. Pilot participants are the Technical University Clausthal, the University of Emden/Leer, the University of Hannover, the Hannover Medical School, the University of Hildesheim and the University of Vechta. Additional universities will follow suit during the second phase of the project.

While the Academic Cloud is based on the technology of ownCloud, its functionalities can be extended by additional services through a standardized authentication structure. “Data exchange is the basis for further collaboration functions to be added in 2018, such as office functionalities and other software applications,” says project manager Ralph Krimmel, responsible for technical implementation at the GWDG.

Open Source in Education and Research

With the implementation of the Academic Cloud, Lower Saxony is now the second German federal state to rely on ownCloud as a central file sharing solution for universities. “Sciebo,” the first education and research cloud, was launched in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2015. With over 100,000 active users, it has developed into one of ownCloud’s most successful projects.

“We are pleased that more and more universities are relying on open cloud solutions. Education and research live by the exchange of ideas. With ownCloud, we hope to bring this basic scientific principle to life with the help of open source,” says Holger Dyroff, Managing Director and COO of ownCloud.

To access the Academic Cloud, students and university staff need a valid user ID (user name and password) from their university. The registration takes place at the participant’s university without a transfer of passwords, which additionally increases security.

The platform is hosted at three of the university’s data center locations of the GWDG in Göttingen and is designed for up to 210,000 users from the onset. The total storage space is about 1 petabyte.

The Academic Cloud can either be used directly in the browser (https://academiccloud.de) or synchronized via an installed client or mobile application.