File sharing is perhaps one of the most common cloud services. Many popular services are available, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and Microsoft OneDrive. However, an enterprise often needs file sharing services that are strictly-controlled internally. This tutorial will outline how to use the ownCloud universal file access platform to deploy private cloud file sharing by using CenturyLink Cloud Object Storage.

Tools Used

ownCloud Community Edition is the Open Source version of ownCloud. It provides users with seamless access to files on many different devices and services, all from a centralized location that is under the control of your enterprise. It uses an open, modular architecture to provide extensibility and expansive federated cloud sharing capabilities.

You can store and manage your files in a highly available repository with CenturyLink Cloud Object Storage. The product is designed for the enterprise. That means high availability with automatic replication. Our cloud servers store and manage your files in a highly-scalable, fault-tolerant, distributed data store. For large-scale cloud applications, object storage is far more efficient than hierarchical file systems.

CenturyLink Cloud Compute servers are high-performance cloud servers. These enterprise-grade virtual machines are easy to deploy and manage from the CenturyLink Cloud Control Portal and via powerful API calls.

CenturyLink Cloud Blueprints offer deployable configurations that can bring a new environment online in a matter of minutes. Custom apps and pre-packaged software are always deployed to their ideal settings, thus eliminating problems related to misconfiguration and mismanagement.

Before We Start

If you don’t have a CenturyLink Cloud account yet, head over to our website and activate an account. You’ll need it to access CenturyLink Cloud Blueprints and Object Storage.

Adding Object Storage to Your Account

Follow the steps below to use the CenturyLink Cloud Console to add an Object Storage bucket and user to your account.

Creating Object Storage Users

To create a new Object Storage user, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the CenturyLink Cloud Control Portal and log in.
  2. From the Nav Menu on the left, click Services > Object Storage. wl-owncloud-server-1.png
  3. On the Object Storage page, click the Users tab.
  4. Click the create user button and enter user information. Note that the email address for the user must be unique across the Object Storage platform and cannot be reused. wl-owncloud-server-2.png
  5. Click save.
  6. Click the newly-created user record to view the access key id and secret access key values, which act as the username and password for this Object Storage user. wl-owncloud-server-3.png
  7. Save these values for later use.

Creating Object Storage Buckets

To create a new Object Storage bucket for storing digital assets, follow the steps below:

  1. From the Nav Menu on the left, click Services > Object Storage.
  2. On the "Object Storage" page, click the Buckets tab.
  3. Click the create bucket button.
  4. Fill out the "Create Bucket" form. The bucket name has to start and end with lowercase letters or numbers, and can only contain lowercase letters, numbers, dashes, and dots. This value must be unique globally across the system. wl-owncloud-server-4.png
  5. Click the save button to create the bucket.

Additional Object Storage Operations

For more information on managing Object Storage buckets and users from the Control Portal, check out this Knowledge Base article.

Endpoints, Regions, and Buckets

If you have never used Object Storage or other S3-compatible systems, some of the terminology might be unfamiliar.

  • A bucket is a resource for holding objects. Buckets have simple names consisting of letters, numbers, and some punctuation. Any characters that are valid in a DNS hostname should be valid in a bucket name.
  • An endpoint is a hostname that serves the Object Storage API for a region. Each region has one or more endpoints, and each endpoint belongs to a region. When selecting a library to access the Object Storage endpoint, it is critical to find one that is not only S3-compatible, but allows the developer to specify a custom endpoint.
  • An object is an individual digital asset or file. This can be any sort of data, from text to video to images.
  • A region is a data center or cloud service area that hosts Object Storage buckets. One region contains any number of buckets.

Throughout this article, we will use the "Canada" region in the examples. However, if you choose to use US-East as the data center for your buckets, you will need to change all references from "" to "". wl-owncloud-server-5.png

Deploy the ownCloud Blueprint

In this tutorial, we will deploy ownCloud using a CenturyLink Cloud Blueprint. To start the deployment process, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Control Portal and log in.
  2. From the Nav Menu on the left, click Orchestration > Blueprints Library.
  3. Enter "ownCloud" into the Refine Results search box and click go. wl-owncloud-server-6.png
  4. Click Install ownCloud on Linux x64.
  5. When the Blueprint summary and estimate are displayed, click deploy blueprint.

Customizing the Blueprint

The ownCloud Blueprint customization only requires that you fill out a form and wait for provisioning and deployment to complete. Follow the steps below to complete the process.

  1. Fill out the "Deploy Install ownCloud on Linux x64 Blueprint" form. wl-owncloud-server-7.png
    • The values in the Login and Password fields will be used for your ownCloud administrator account. Make sure you remember them!
    • Pay particular attention to the Password field in the Build Server(s) section, which needs your CenturyLink Cloud account password.
  2. Click next: step 2.
  3. After reviewing your settings, click deploy blueprint.
  4. You will now see the Deploy Blueprint screen with a progress indicator. Wait for the progress indicator to indicate that your deployment has finished.

Configuring ownCloud for Object Storage

Once your ownCloud Blueprint has finished deploying, we can move on to configuring it for Object Storage. Note that the Blueprint uses ownCloud Community Edition. With this free version of ownCloud, we can only add a shared directory that is Object Storage backed. However, ownCloud Enterprise Edition, a commercial product, allows Object Storage to be its primary storage method.

To configure ownCloud, follow the directions below:

  1. Go to the Control Portal and log in.
  2. From the Nav Menu on the left, click Infrastructure > Servers.
  3. Navigate to your new ownCloud server.
  4. Look for the "IP ADDRESS(ES)" section on the SERVER INFO panel on the right. The IP address in public address space is your ownCloud server's public IP address. wl-owncloud-server-8.png
  5. In your web browser, visit the server's IP and click Access ownCloud. wl-owncloud-server-9.png
  6. Enter the Login and Password values from "Customizing the Blueprint" in the Username and Password fields on the ownCloud login form.
  7. In the upper lefthand corner, click Files and then Apps. wl-owncloud-server-10.png
  8. On the Apps screen, click Not Enabled and then scroll down the list of apps until you find "External storage support".
  9. Click Enable under the "External storage support" app. wl-owncloud-server-11.png
  10. Click your username in the upper righthand corner, and then click Admin.
  11. On the Admin screen, click External Storage.
  12. Click Add Storage. Then select Amazon S3 from the drop-down menu.
  13. Fill out the External Storage form. Select a folder name, and then fill out the Configuration section with the information you saved from the Creating Object Storage Buckets section. Make sure you use your bucket's endpoint for the "Hostname" entry. wl-owncloud-server-12.png
  14. When a green circle shows up left of the folder name, you've configured it correctly.

Using ownCloud Storage

Just like other popular cloud file sharing services, ownCloud has a fully-featured desktop client available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. The desktop client gives you the ability to sync folders across machines, with everything backed by CenturyLink Cloud Object Storage. Clients are also available for iOS and Android.

ownCloud has a number of powerful features. Among them are user and group-based access control, cross-server federated file sharing, and server-side encryption. All of these can serve to enrich your file sharing experience while taking full advantage of Object Storage capabilities.


CenturyLink Cloud Object Storage is already a powerful tool for storing and delivering digital assets. Its capabilities can be used to power a fully-featured secure enterprise file sharing solution with ownCloud.

The CenturyLink Cloud Blueprints library has many helpful self-hosted, automatically deployed software packages. Explore them today and find a solution that meets the challenges you face.

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