How To: Access cloud storage from a scientific environment


Cloud storage data can be mounted directly as a folder or synced on your computer or on a cloud environment. This can be achieved, for example, using Rclone (

Installing Rclone

Installing rclone on you computer is easy on linux systems:

curl | sudo bash

The Rclone site has full instruction describing different approaches for installing Rclone on different operating systems (

Configuring Rclone

Once Rclone is installed, you need to configure it to access your cloud data. One way is to set the following variables:

export RCLONE_CONFIG_MYDATA_URL=my_owncloud_url
export RCLONE_CONFIG_MYDATA_USER=my_username
export RCLONE_CONFIG_MYDATA_PASS=`rclone obscure “my_password”`

In this case MYDATA is the uppercase name of ther Rclone remote storage you are creating. The cloud storage url (my_owncloud_url) can be obtained by clicking on the “Settings” button on the bottom left on the ownCloud web page and copying the value of the “WEBDav” field

Fig 1: Obtaining the cloud storage url, step 1
Fig 2: Obtaining the cloud storage url, step 2

If you do not want to leave your cloud storage password in a file or in an environment variable, you can obtain an app password from ownCloud itself

Fig 3: Obtaining an app password, step 1
Fig 4: Obtaining an app password, step 2
Fig 5: Obtaining an app password, step 3

Mounting Rclone folders

With the said variables set, mounting an OwnCloud folder is as easy as:

$ mkdir my_owncloud_data
$ rclone mount mydata:Documents my_owncloud_data/

The content of the Documents folder in OwnCloud is now available on your laptop or on your cloud instance under my_owncloud_data/.

Syncing Rclone folders

If you want to just sync one ownCloud folder to your laptop it is enough to

$ mkdir my_owncloud_data
$ rclone sync mydata:Documents my_owncloud_data/

After your work is done you may want to copy the new files to the cloud storage:

$ rclone sync my_owncloud_data mydata:Documents


The previous are just two basic examples of what rclone can do for you, just go to if you want to learn more. Also, Rclone is only one of many tools you can integrate with your cloud storage.