There is a growing demand at ETH for a “Dropbox”-similar storage medium.This stems from the rising need to simplify internal data exchange for all ETH members and the wish to avoid the use of ETH-external (uncontrollable) storage media.

Collaboration IT Services – ETH

ITS, in collaboration with representatives of the Departments of Mathematics and Physics, evaluated current market trends and chose the company “ownCloud” as their partner. Other department representatives have also been informed and received a detailed description of future collaboration.


The management at ownCloud grasped ETH requirements and developed a special version that will initially be used primarily in colleges and universities. The ETH is one of the world’s first universities to offer its members ownCloud service.

Service «polybox.ethz.ch»

ITS System Services (ID SD), as the internal service provider, will provide “polybox.ethz.ch” service with 5 GB of storage on the ETH storage facilities. The following simple formula describes the use case very well:

“polybox – Use it as a logical memory stick – store your data on the ETH campus”

polybox thus meets the requirement to store exchange data on ETH storage facilities.

Julian Senn and Tilo Steiger (ITS System Services, Storage): Responsible for polybox Service


polybox Launch

Starting May 2013, the service will be available to all ETH members free of charge. ETH-customized sync clients and mobile apps for iOS and Android will also be provided. The  ETH apps and sync clients inform ETH users that their data is stored at the ETH. polybox is based on the ETH Zurich Identity Management system. Authentication and authorization will be provided by nethz user management.

How to use polybox

Following testing phase and release anyone interested can use the service polybox. Starting May 2013, users can login to http://www.polybox.ethz.ch/ with their nethz login. A detailed guide and support contacts will shortly be available on the ITS service pages.

Sympa subscription for service information

Once the service is up and running, ETH members interested in obtaining service information will be able to subscribe to the “polybox-Info” mailing list. Log on to the Sympa-list (ETH Maillist-Server) https://sympa.ethz.ch  > SWITCHaai Federation >“Los” > nethz login. In the header click “List of lists” > select “polybox-info@sympa.ethz.ch”  from the mailing list > click on  “Abonnieren” from the sub-navigation on the left side. You are now on the mailing list and will receive an email confirmation.



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8 comments on «polybox.ethz.ch»

  1. We are currently using a dropbox for the Sensors group at the Inst. of Neuroinformatics of about 20GB, plus people have other dropbox folders shared with individuals. Will polybox support larger shared folders and OS clients with functionality like dropbox?
    Could we have an update on status? Would be good to get away from dropbox but so far nothing has equivalent functionality.

  2. Great program roll-out, thanks! Support for larger folders is a must in my opinion. My literature collection (excluding ebooks) alone is 11 GB, and use cases like wanting to have the literature accessible everywhere are the reason why dropbox is a good alternative, even for risk-aware scientists.
    By the way: the free storage one would get from other cloud service providers like for instance “copy”: https://www1.copy.com is about 15 GB.
    Thank you for this service and best regards!

  3. Hallo Tobi

    Bitte entschuldige meine späte Antwort. Dein Beitrag muss übersehen worden sein.
    Wir können die polybox Quota eines NETHZ Users leicht auf 100GB erhöhen. Die Informatikdienste behalten sich allerdings vor, die zus. GB in Zukunft zu verrechnen. Die Kosten, die die ID in Erwägung ziehen, werden sich an den Verrechnungskosten für den NAS Speicher orientieren. Somit wären diese für 20GB CHF 9.- pro Jahr und sind ebenfalls als Lenkungsabgabe zu verstehen.
    Der polybox Speicher wird aber nicht in ähnlicher Kapazität zur Verfügung stehen, wie der bekannte NAS Speicher.

    Den Service polybox werden wir weiter entwickeln, damit wir ähnlichen Funktionsumfang wie bei Dropbox bieten können. Bitte beachte, dass Daten, die an der ETH generiert wurden, auch an der ETH bleiben.

    Ich hoffe, dass meine Antwort weiter hilft. Bitte melde Dich einfach bei mir, wenn Du weitere Fragen evtl. auch zum NAS Service hast. Du kannst gerne auch anrufen. Ich bin überzeugt, dass wir Euch gut unterstützen können.

    Viele Grüsse

    Dr.-Ing. Tilo Steiger
    ETH Zuerich
    Tel.:+41 44 632 7175

  4. Hi Mark
    Does my response in German to Tobi answer your question?

    Please come back if there will be open questions.


  5. Hi Andreas

    IT Services can provide you more polybox quota if needed for your work. Please send me an email (steiger@id.ethz.ch) or call me.
    Please note that ETH IT Service reserves it’s right to charge you for more storage – this we can easily discuss within a call.


    polybox ist seit einem Jahr in Betreib und bleibt – die Quota pro Nutzer steigt: ab 1. July bieten die ID 50GB polybox Speicher für alle ETH Angehörigen. Wir haben alle bestehenden Quotierungen < 50GB auf 50GB angehoben. Wie findet Ihr das?
    Have fun

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