Seafile Open Cloud Mesh testing and review

Since server version 8 Seafile is introducing Open Cloud Mesh. Firstly we are going to take a look back at what the Seafile is and what it has already introduced. Secondly we are going see what Open Cloud Mesh is and why it matters. Finally we will see what Seafile Open Cloud Mesh is and how it is implemented.

About Seafile

Seafile is an open source enterprise file sync and share platform with high reliability and performance. And provides similar feature set to Dropbox, Google Drive and Office 365, while it allows users to host the server on their own hardware.

The core feature of Seafile is file sync and share. Besides taht it provides client apps for most operating systems like Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS and Android. Also it provides a user-friendly web interface for accessing files in a web browser.

Seafile features :

Fast and reliable file syncing capability

Seafile has amazingly fast and reliable file syncing capability. Because of that it’s one of the most popular on-premises file sync&share solutions.

Drive client

Seafile has provided users access to files on the cloud without syncing them to local disk. In order to do that it maps Seafile cloud storage as a virtual drive on Windows, Mac and Linux computers. Similarly these features were released by leading cloud storage services including Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.

Online document collaboration

Seafile server can be extended by Microsoft Office Online Server, OnlyOffice and Collabora Office. Because of that Seafile users can edit and collaborate on documents online. Similarly to the software like Google Docs, Microsoft Office 365 and Dropbox Paper.

Knowlage management

Users can save Wiki documents in Markdown format directly inside a library. Besides that users can save other types of files alongside Wiki documents in a library. Consequently such organic combination of Wiki and Cloud Storage removes the limitation on attachment size in traditional Wiki systems. Also users can conveniently edit Wiki documents in web browser with a WYSIWYG Markdown editor. Besides that Full-text search, file tagging, related documents, document review features are also a part of Seafile to make knowledge management very efficient.

Seafile Open Cloud Mesh

In its last server version Seafile introduced Open Cloud Mesh. What it is and how it matters we describe later.

Seafile clients

Seafile has over 2,000,000 users worldwide. It is also used in large organizations and commercial companies like University of Mainz and Kaspersky Lab.

About Open Cloud Mesh

Open Cloud Mesh (OCM) is a joint international initiative under the umbrella of the GÉANT Association.

Interconnected Private Clouds for Universities and Researchers

Open Cloud Mesh is built on the open Federated Cloud Sharing application programming interface (API). Therefore it is taking Universal File Access beyond the borders of individual clouds and into a globally interconnected mesh of research clouds. Significantly it is not 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.

Open Cloud Mesh provides a common file access layer across an organization and across globally interconnected organizations. Even if the data resides on internal servers, on object storage, in applications like SharePoint or Jive, private clouds like OwnCloud, NextCloud and Seafile or even external cloud systems such as Dropbox and Google (syncing them to desktops or mobile apps, making them available offline).

Seafile Open Cloud Mesh

From 8.0.0, Seafile supports OCM protocol. Consequently user can share library to the user on other server which has OCM enabled.

Seafile currently supports connecting to other Seafile servers with sever version greater than 8.0.

How to configure Seafile Open Cloud Mesh

The following configuration is an example of what you should add to the seahub_settings.py file:

# Enable OCM
ENABLE_OCM = True
OCM_PROVIDER_ID = '71687320-6219-47af-82f3-32012707a5ae' # the unique id of this server
OCM_REMOTE_SERVERS = [
    {
        "server_name": "dev",
        "server_url": "https://seafile-domain-1/", # should ends with '/'
    },
    {
        "server_name": "download",
        "server_url": "https://seafile-domain-2/", # should ends with '/'
    },
]

OCM_REMOTE_SERVERS variable represents the list of servers that you want your users to share libraries with.

How to use

Share library to other server

In the library sharing dialog, click on the “Share to other server”, you can share this library to user of other server with “Read-Only” or “Read-Write” permission. Also you can view shared records and cancel sharing.

View be shared libraries

To see the libraries shared with you from remote server click on the “Shared from other server”.

And enter the library to view, download or upload files.

Our test of the Seafile Open Cloud Mesh

We have created two servers Seafile1 and Seafile2. Then we have enabled Seafile open cloud mesh on both servers. After that we have created example libraries on both servers. Then we shared the libraries between servers. The user1 from the seafile1 server has shared a test library to the user1 on the seafile2. In the same way user1 on the seafile2 server has shared a library to the user1 on the seafile1 server. Both users have shared their libraries succesfully and both got their shared libraries in there “Shared from the other server” section. Both of our servers are in our local network so the file transfer was perfect.

We still need to test for

  • what happens when connection drops between servers.
  • adding files
  • deleting files
  • editing files
  • syncing
  • turning off the server in the middle of work and so on

Summary

Seafile a file as an open source enterprise file sync and share platform has over the years implemented many inovative new features. Such as Drive client, Online document collaboration and Knowledge management. At the same time GÉANT Association has been developing Open Cloud Mesh project. In such way that it provides a common file access layer across an organization and across globally interconnected organizations.

Seafile has implemented Open Cloud Mesh in its version 8 of the server. We have created two servers and installed latest the Seafile Server 8. Our test users could share files between them without issues. In our opinion Seafile Open Cloud Mesh is a reliable solution for sharing files between two Seafile servers.

Resources

https://wiki.geant.org/display/OCM/Open+Cloud+Mesh

https://www.seafile.com/en/home/