Adding ownCloud 8 to Active Directory 2012 R2 – part 1: introduction

*** This howto also works for ownCloud 9 and Active Directory 2016 ***

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Installing Debian 8
Part 3: Installing ownCloud 8
Part 4: Connecting to Active Directory
Part 5: Security
Part 6: Miscellany
Part 7: Server maintenance

owncloud-logoThis article is a rewrite of the previous one on ownCloud 6. In this article I’ll describe how to install ownCloud 8 on a virtual machine and integrate it in your existing Active Directory 2012 R2. In addition to the procedures in the previous article I’m also providing information on how to enhance your installation’s security (including installing an ssl certificate) and how to create backups of your server.

I sincerly apologize for the watermarking in the screenshots. I appears necessary.

What is ownCloud?
OwnCloud is an open source cloud storage platform: access your files from a browser or a client on your computer, tablet or phone and securly share them with other users, or people without an account via a link. You could buy commercial hosting with ownCloud but where would be the fun in that? ;)

In this article series I’m using Oracle VirtualBox to set up a virtual machine in your network. OwnCloud offers an appliance for downloading. You can use this appliance instead of this howto. The difference is that if you use my documentation, afterwards you will understand what you did. You can use them in conjunction if you like. Personally I prefer my own appliance because it’s just more tailored to my wishes. In my opinion the appliance ownCloud offers is for testing, not production. You can certainly make it ready for production but then installing from scratch seems the better option: you’ll end up with a system you know well.

What following this article series will get you
If you follow this article you’ll end up with on-premises cloud storage for all your users or selected groups. The advantage of course is that no third parties will be able to go through your files and that you are in control of the whole thing.

We’ll be installing ownCloud on a virtual machine in your existing network. No big changes need to be made on your domain; the only thing you may want to add is a dedicated user account for ownCloud to connect to AD. You could use an existing account but it’s better to have a limited dedicated account for granular control over which service can do what.

Free of charge
OwnCloud, Debian and Oracle VirtualBox are free, open source software. VirtualBox’s extension pack is free for personal use; in Oracle’s words: β€œIt doesn’t matter whether you just use it for fun or run your multi-million euro business with it. Also, if you install it on your work PC at some large company, this is still personal use. However, if you are an administrator and want to deploy it to the 500 desktops in your company, this would no longer qualify as personal use. ”

OwnCloud no longer supports Windows servers
OwnCloud have decided running ownCloud on Windows is such a hassle they can no longer officially support it. They will try and help and you can probably get it to work if you kick it hard enough but they will no longer say their product will run on Windows.


Versions used
ownCloud 8.2.0
Windows Server 2012 R2
Debian 8.2
VirtualBox 5.0.6

Network and server layout

Active Directory Domain Controller:
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard

ownCloud Server:
Debian 8.2 64bit

Groups and users in AD
Our test environment has three users: Alice; Bob; and Charlie. Alice is a member of the Active Directory group called Owncloud, Bob is a member of Management and Charlie is not a member of either. The group called Management is a member of the Owncloud group, making Management a nested group and Bob an indirect member of Owncloud.


Username Member of
Alice owncloud
Bob management


Groupname Member of
management owncloud

AD Server Installation
I assume you already know how to install Windows Server 2012 R2 with Active Directory otherwise you wouldn’t be interested in this article, right?

Setting up VirtualBox
Download and install VirtualBox and its Extension Pack from If you can place the virtual hard drives on an ssd; it really increases the speed of the vm’s.

Next up: Installing Debian 8. Stay tuned.

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