ownCloud Deployment Recommendations

What is the best way to install and maintain ownCloud? The answer to that is “it depends” because every ownCloud customer has their own particular needs and IT infrastructure. ownCloud and the LAMP stack are highly-configurable, so we will present three typical scenarios and make best-practice recommendations for both software and hardware.

General Recommendations


Whatever the size of your organization, always keep one thing in mind: the amount of data stored in ownCloud will only grow. Plan ahead.

Consider setting up a scale-out deployment, or using Federated Cloud Sharing to keep individual ownCloud instances to a manageable size.

  • Operating system: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
  • Web server: Apache 2.4.
  • Database: MySQL/MariaDB with InnoDB storage engine (MyISAM is not supported, see: db-storage-engine-label)
  • PHP 7.

Small Workgroups or Departments

  • Number of users
    Up to 150 users.
  • High availability level
    Zero-downtime backups via filesystem snapshots, component failure leads to interruption of service. Alternative backup scheme: nightly backups with service interruption.

Mid-sized Enterprises

  • Number of users
    150 to 1,000 users.
  • High availability level
    Every component is fully redundant and can fail without service interruption. Backups without service interruption

Large Enterprises and Service Providers

  • Number of users
    5,000 to >100,000 users.
  • High availabily level
    Every component is fully redundant and can fail without service interruption. Backups without service interruption

Recommended System Requirements

More than 4 application/web servers.

A cluster of two or more database servers.

Storage on an NFS server, or an object store that is S3 compatible.

Cloud federation for a distributed setup over several data centers.

Authentication via an existing LDAP or Active Directory server, or SAML.

Network diagram for large enterprise.
  • Components
    • more than 4 application servers with 4 sockets and 64GB RAM.
    • 4 DB servers with 4 sockets and 64GB RAM
    • 2 Hardware load balancer, for example BIG IP from F5
    • NFS storage server as needed.
  • Operating system
    Enterprise-grade Linux distribution with full support from OS vendor. We recommend Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Other distributions are also supported (e.g. RedHat or SuSE) but they may not ship all the required dependencies in their official repositories and therefore it may be necessary to enable third party repositories for modules like APCu and Redis.
  • SSL Configuration
    The SSL termination is done in the load balancer. A standard SSL certificate is needed, installed according to the specific load balancer’s documentation.
  • Load Balancer
    A redundant hardware load-balancer with heartbeat, for example F5 Big-IP. This runs two load balancers in front of the application servers.
  • Database
    We recommend MySQL/MariaDB, either as a Galera cluster with master-master replication or as a master-slave setup with automatic failover. (InnoDB storage engine, MyISAM is not supported, see: db-storage-engine-label)
  • Authentication
    User authentication via one or several LDAP or Active Directory servers, or SAML/Shibboleth. (See User Authentication with LDAP and Shibboleth Integration.)
  • LDAP
    Read-only slaves should be deployed on every application server for optimal scalability.
  • Session Management
    Redis should be used for the session management storage.
  • Caching
    We recommend: - APC/APCu for local caching. - Redis for Transactional File Locking and distributed caching, running on a dedicated server. A memcache speeds up server performance, and ownCloud supports four memcaches; refer to Configuring Memory Caching for information on selecting and configuring a memcache.
  • Storage
    An off-the-shelf NFS solution should be used. Examples are IBM Elastic Storage or RedHat Ceph. Optionally, an S3 compatible object store can also be used.

Hardware Considerations

  • Solid-state drives (SSDs) are mandatory for optimum I/O performance.
  • Separate hard disks for storage and database, SSDs for databases.
  • Multiple network interfaces to distribute server synchronisation and backend traffic across multiple subnets.

Single Machine / Scale-Up Deployment

The single-machine deployment is widely used in the community.


  • Easy setup: no session storage daemon, use tmpfs and memory caching to enhance performance, local storage.
  • No network latency to consider.
  • To scale buy a bigger CPU, more memory, larger hard drive, or additional hard drives.


  • No high availability options.
  • The amount of data in ownCloud tends to grow continually. Eventually, a single machine will not scale; I/O performance decreases and becomes a bottleneck with multiple up- and downloads, even with solid-state drives.

Scale-Out Deployment

Provider setup:

  • DNS round robin to HAProxy servers (2-n, SSL offloading, static resource caching)
  • Distribution of traffic among web servers means less load per server (2-n)
  • Redis for shared session storage (2-n)
  • Database cluster with single Master, multiple slaves and proxy to split requests accordingly (2-n)
  • GPFS or Ceph via phprados (2-n, 3 to be safe, Ceph 10+ nodes to see speed benefits under load)


  • Components can be scaled as needed.
  • High availability.
  • Test upgrades can be performed more easily.


  • More complicated to setup.
  • Network becomes the bottleneck (10GB Ethernet recommended).
  • Currently DB filecache table will grow rapidly, making migrations painful in case the table is altered.

What About Nginx?

Could be used instead of HAproxy as the load balancer.

Software Considerations

Operating System

ownCloud is dependent on distributions that offer an easy way to install the various components in up-to-date versions. From our experience, we strongly recommend to use Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, since all the required dependencies are included out of the box. Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu Linux, also offers enterprise service and support.

ownCloud has a partnership with RedHat and SUSE for customers who need commercial support. CentOS is the community-supported free-of-cost Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone. openSUSE is community-supported, and includes many of the same system administration tools as SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Web server

Taking Apache and Nginx as the contenders, Apache with mod_php is currently the best option, as Nginx does not support all features necessary for enterprise deployments. Mod_php is recommended instead of PHP_FPM, because in scale-out deployments separate PHP pools are simply not necessary.

Relational Database

More often than not the customer already has an opinion on what database to use. In general, the recommendation is to use what their database administrator is most familiar with. Taking into account what we are seeing at customer deployments, we recommend MySQL/MariaDB in a master-slave deployment with a MySQL proxy in front of them to send updates to master, and selects to the slave(s).

What about the other DBMS?

  • PostgreSQL is a good alternative to MySQL/MariaDB (alter table does not lock table, which makes migration less painful), although master-slave setup are very uncommon.
  • Sqlite is adequate for simple testing, and for low-load single-user deployments. It is not adequate for production systems.
  • Microsoft SQL Server is not a supported option.
  • Oracle DB is the de facto standard at large enterprises and is fully supported with ownCloud Enterprise Edition only.


A Single Master DB is a single point of failure, because it does not scale

When the master fails a slave can become a new master. However, the increased complexity carries some risks: Multi-master has the risk of split brain, and deadlocks. ownCloud tries to solve the problem of deadlocks with high-level transactional file locking.

File Storage

While many customers are starting with NFS, sooner or later that requires scale-out storage. Currently the options are DRBD, GPFS or GlusterFS, or an object store protocol like S3 (supported in Enterprise Edition only) or Swift. S3 also allows access to Ceph Storage.

Session Storage

  • Redis: provides persistence, nice graphical inspection tools available, supports ownCloud high-level file locking.
  • If Shibboleth is a requirement you must use Memcached, and it can also be used to scale-out shibd session storage (see Memcache StorageService).
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