Press Release 2/2018 from July 10, 2018

Lower Saxony’s Universities Build Up Their own Cloud Infrastructure

Secure File Sharing in Education and Research

(ownCloud GmbH / GWDG) 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, today announced the official launch of their joint collaboration platform " Academic Cloud". The service offers students and employees of Lower Saxony’s universities the opportunity to store up to 50 GB of data in their personal cloud as well as to share and collaborate with other users. 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. In contrast to most commercial sync and share services, ownCloud allows you to run your own servers without compromising collaboration functions comparable to those of large public cloud vendors like Dropbox.

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.

The idea behind the Academic Cloud was to support students and employees of universities in Lower Saxony with a growing digital service portfolio by offering collaborative services for study and research. Through a central platform, students and researchers are able to their share data with other people, groups or projects in a controlled manner.

Open Source in Education and Research - a Model for Success

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 ( or synchronized via an installed client or mobile application. The software is available for all common operating systems or platforms (Android, iOS, desktop apps for Windows, macOS and Linux).

Science needs collaboration: With the Academic Cloud, Lower Saxony is building an intelligent and secure collaboration environment for education and research

Photo: //CC0 adapted by ownCloud GmbH