AppSuite:OX Drive

Revision as of 12:47, 4 February 2014 by Tobias.friedrich (talk | contribs)

IN PRODUCTION: OX Drive for Clients


OX Drive provides file and folder synchronization across devices. It does this in the simple way possible for the end user and is fully optimized for each device type.

Open-Xchange wants to enable end customers to synchronize data. In OX App Suite, Open-Xchange provides a cloud storage called OX Drive. End customers should be able to synchronize Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS devices.

This article explains how to set up the server-side components for OX Drive, as well as details about the client setup.


OX Drive is a combination of two components:

  • OX Drive in OX App Suite
  • OX Drive Clients (optional native client components for synchronization)

OX Drive is available for the following native clients:

  • OX Drive for Windows
  • OX Drive for Mac OS
  • OX Drive for iOS
  • OX Drive for Android


Requirement System / Plaform
OX App Suite OX App Suite v7.4.2
OX Drive for Windows Latest Versions of Windows 7, Windows 8 (no support of Mac OS X clients with emulators and Windows RT)
OX Drive for Mac OS Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)
OX Drive for iOS Apple iPhone on iOS 6 / iOS 7, Apple iPad on iOS 6 / iOS 7
OX Drive for Android Smartphone on Android Jelly Bean (4.1 - 4.2), Tablets on Android Jelly Bean (4.1 - 4.2)

The key features of OX Drive for Clients

  • Native Apps for Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android
  • Easy and attractive upsell properties (e.g. Upsell based on Quota limitations)
  • Clients are specially designed for the devices they run on taking into account limitations such as battery life, screen limitations, bandwidth etc.
  • Controlled synchronization of files across devices
  • Storage management (e.g. quota control, upload limits)
  • Connection type recognition and adaptation (e.g. Wi-Fi, cell network)

Server-side Installation and Configuration

This chapter describes how the backend components of OX Drive are installed and configured on the server.


  • Open-Xchange Server v7.4.2 and above (open-xchange-core)
  • Grizzly HTTP connector (open-xchange-grizzly), see AppSuite:Grizzly for details, with Comet support enabled in
  • Valid Push-Certificates / API keys for cloud-based notifications, see configuration below
  • Enabled Hazelcast for inter-OX-communication, see AppSuite:Running_a_cluster for details


Open-Xchange Drive is available with the following backend packages:

  • open-xchange-drive - The main server components for OX Drive
  • open-xchange-drive-comet - Provides the Push interface via long-polling for the desktop clients
  • open-xchange-updater-drive - Adds the OX Drive application to the Windows desktop auto-updater
  • open-xchange-appsuite-help-drive-* - Online help in various languages for the OX Drive applications

Install the above packages as usual.


The following gives an overview about the most important settings to enable file synchronization via OX Drive, especially when it comes to real-time Push notifications for the client applications.


All settings regarding the OX Drive backend component are located in the configuration file The default configuration should be sufficient for a basic "up-and-running" setup (with the exception of defining the Push certificates and API keys for cloud-based client notifications, see next chapters). Please refer to the inline documentation of the configuration file for more advanced options.

Push via Google Cloud Messaging (GCM)

The OX Drive application for Android devices is able to receive Push notifications from the Open-Xchange Server via Google Cloud Messaging (GCM). To issue those Push messages, the backend needs to be provided with a suitable API key for the corresponding Android client application. This API key (a String) is specified in the file:

# Specifies the API key of the server application. Required.

Doing so, Push via GCM can be enabled via:

# Enables or disables push event notifications to clients using the Google
# Cloud Messaging (GCM) service. This requires a valid configuration for the 
# GCM API key, see options below. Defaults to "false".

Depending on the used Android client application ("vanilla" or customized versions), different API keys are needed. Please refer to your Open-Xchange contact for details.

Push via Apple Push Notification service (APNs)

The OX Drive application for iOS and Mac OS devices is able to receive Push notifications from the Open-Xchange Server via Push via Apple Push Notification service (APNs). To issue those Push messages, the backend needs to be provided with a suitable keystore container file (PKCS #12) containing the APNs certificate and keys. Note that the Mac OS desktop client and the iOS mobile client are served with separately with different certificates, so that both needs to be configured independantly in the configuration file. The following only shows the setup for iOS. First, the path to the PKCS #12 container file needs to be specified at:

# Specifies the path to the local keystore file (PKCS #12) containing the APNS 
# certificate and keys for the iOS application, e.g. 
# "/opt/open-xchange/etc/drive-apns.p12". Required if 
# "" is "true".

This file is opened by the backend using the password as supplied via:

# Specifies the password used when creating the referenced keystore containing
# the certificate of the iOS application. Note that blank or null passwords 
# are in violation of the PKCS #12 specifications. Required if 
# "" is "true".

Configuration also allows to swith between development and production environments, however, this setting should be true normally:

# Indicates which APNS service is used when sending push notifications to iOS
# devices. A value of "true" will use the production service, a value of 
# "false" the sandbox service. Defaults to "true".

The OX backend contacts the APNs servers from time to time to get informed about clients no longer reachable clients where the applications was uninstalled. The interval can be defined with the following setting:

# Configures the interval between queries to the APN feedback service for the
# subscribed iOS devices. The value can be defined using units of measurement: 
# "D" (=days), "W" (=weeks) and "H" (=hours). Defaults to "1D" (one day). 
# Leaving this parameter empty disables the feedback queries on this node. 
# Since each received feedback is processed cluster-wide, only one node in the 
# cluster should be enabled here.

Please note that if you have multiple backend nodes in the cluster, it's recommended that only one node is configured to contact the feedback query service. Finally, Push notifications via APN for iOS can be enabled via:

# Enables or disables push event notifications to clients using the Apple Push
# Notification service (APNS) for iOS devices. This requires a valid 
# configuration for the APNS certificate and keys, see options below. 
# Defaults to "false".

As stated above, configuration for Push notifications via APN for the Mac OS desktop application is configured similarly, the relevant options are prefixed with Depending on the used iOS and Mac OS client applications for your Server ("vanilla" or customized versions), different PKCS #12 container files and passwords are needed. Please refer to your Open-Xchange contact for details.

Enabling OX Drive for Users

OX Drive is enabled for all users that have the capability You can enable or disable this cabaility globally with the following setting in the configuration file:

# Enables or disables the "drive" module capability globally.

More details about capabilities can be found at AppSuite:Capabilities. Furthermore, this capability can be defined in a more granular way using the Config Cascade as described at ConfigCascade.

Installation of the Clients

Installation of Desktop Clients

The OX Drive for Windows will be provided direct at the OX App Suite via the OX Updater. The OX Drive for Mac OS X will be provided via the Apple App Store.

After the download of the package, you can start the installation by double-clicking on the package. On the first screen, you will see some information about the OX Drive. Please follow the installation steps in the wizard. Please carefully read the license agreement for Open-Xchange.

Installation on Mobile Clients

The OX Drive App is available via the different App Stores.

Client Configuration and Deployment

The user defines a folder on the client that should be used for the future synchronization. Within this folder, the application creates a subfolder (e.g. per device) to prevent a heavy amount of data being transferred during the initial synchronization if e.g., a “wrong” directory (like C:\) has been selected. This folder is called Client Sync Folder. We might consider to relax this rule for the power user and allow to manually select the Client Sync Folder.

Optionally, the user can select a private (user must be Admin of the folder) Server Sync Folder as source/target folder. If there is no folder selected a client specific folder can automatically be created and configured. If the Server Sync Folder is not selected, a device specific subfolder is created and configured as Server Sync Folder which of course is also created if not already existing.

Assumption: The Client Sync Folder as well as the Server Sync Folder can not be changed after the configuration.

  • If the Client Sync Folder is not available, the synchronization will not be started.
  • If the Server Sync Folder is not available, the sync process will be aborted.

As a default procedure, new sync folders should be created on the server as well as on the client. This ensures that objects are only synchronized as soon as this is done and the user has full control.

Sync Procedure

  • The client creates a list of the Client Sync Folder and - together with extended attributes (e.g. md5sums, file name, and path) - sends it to the server. Also, the last sync state (if existing) is sent to the server.
  • The server creates a list of the Server Sync Folder together with the extended attributes, compares them and creates an action list
  • The client saves the last sync state (either calculated by the server or created by the client)