10 years ago I was in a meeting with many MS executives including Mr. Bill Gates, and as a group we were discussing the confusion of personal storage in the enterprise. Not much has changed over that time… disk drives still dominate the personal storage space… the desktop and servers… until now! The demands have grown, the complexity has grown. Much higher demands for mobile devices that are becoming first class citizens in the enterprise and really the device of choice for meetings. If anything the consumer world has blurred the division between consumer and corporate.
The technology of the day was My Documents redirection. As well, the third party app of choice for Bill was Groove. He loved that app, he’d use it to share documents with his friends and the idea of business documents vs. personal documents was very gray.
He wants what we all want. We want a single place where we can manage our files, sharing, and synchronization between all our devices.
My Documents Redirection brought offline cache, but it was missing the cloud sync options
UNC mapping and mapping a drive to SharePoint never really took off, it was a very sketchy proposition that just wasn’t reliable enough for adoption or as an enterprise strategy
The acquisition of Groove brought sync to the enterprise with primary sync to SharePoint. Peer to peer became less of an emphasis, and lost the most hard core of the groove folks. It gained a new audience of synchronizing files from SharePoint to the desktop, but didn’t go far enough to reach the Macintosh. The first SharePoint workspace for Windows Phone came with the previous launch.
Live Mesh and Skydrive changed the landscape in the consumer space for being able to both synchronize our files from our desktops to online storage now.
In the meantime Dropbox and Box.net started gobbling up the business by selling the idea of bring your own device to the file sync story. It was no longer about the pc, but about the agnostic device story. It’s also a very strong message about making it simple.
Now the consumer space with Skydrive has really nailed it. I do believe I am convinced that Microsoft really has a strategy that I’m ready to get behind with personal storage.
A few of the key features:
- When you install SkyDrive, a SkyDrive folder is created on your PC.
- Everything you put in this folder is automatically kept in sync between your computers (PC or Mac) and SkyDrive.com
- Get to your latest files from virtually anywhere.
- Whenever you add, change, or delete files in one location, all the other locations will be updated.
- If you forgot to put something in your SkyDrive folder, you can still get back to your PC to access all its files and folders from SkyDrive.com.
- Access your SkyDrive right from Windows Explorer—photos, documents, and all your other important files.
- Drag and Drop – Quickly add new files to SkyDrive by dragging them to the SkyDrive folder.
- Easily organize your files and folders in SkyDrive, just like any other folder.
Now you can get sync between your Windows pcs and other devices and your macs.
Mobile and Tablet Devices
- Windows Phone
- iPhone and iPad
SkyDrive Pro in my opinion is not finished. I know it’s in beta 2 or public preview, but we haven’t seen the latest for what this will provide. The name SkyDrive Pro really does align the product with the greater strategy of aligning it with the consumer and Office 365 strategy. While there have been a few posts the service is still yet to be fully announced. Much of what have been written are scenarios and not providing the full scope. I see that the consumer SkyDrive is helping drive the strategy. We know Microsoft wants it to be the one place. I’ll share more on this blog as I learn more. Internally we’ll be doing some piloting of the new Office 365 based on SharePoint 2013 as well as SharePoint 2013 on premise My Sites and Sky Drive Pro.
"SkyDrive Pro, a service optimized for business and managed by your company or organization. It’s your hub for work documents: the one place to find, store, and share the files you care about for work."
Here are a few of the things I’ve gathered, but I’m still digging and looking for more answers as it relates to MAC, iPhone, iPad, and more…
- Create documents natively in Office Web Applications Online
- Work online with multiple people on files
- Save directly to SkyDrive Pro from Office (you don’t have to open your browser)
- Drag and Drop from many different browsers (Doesn’t require IE)
- Document Preview with simple Mouseover (requires Office Web Apps)
- Share with your team or an individual and manage it easily
- Version history, recycle bin, recovery,
- Follow documents, sites and people from any site
- Centralized document sharing and following dashboard
- Centralized task management
- Sync files locally for offline access
- Mobile access (still much to be announced here!)
- Share to the newsfeed
- Newsfeed management
- Office 2013 native integration in Save Dialogs
- With SkyDrive Pro your company controls storage requirements, fault tolerance and encryption levels
- Rich Search integration
- Recent Document panel integration in Office 2013
The potential is there and I know that the Windows 8 desktop, Windows Phone 8, and Microsoft’s broader strategy to bring office and storage integration to Android and iPhone & iPad as evidenced with the SkyDrive apps provide some real promise. Let’s not dismiss something that can revolutionize our personal storage and file sync and the "One Place" strategies that can make a big difference.
I’ll tell you my storage plans for SharePoint 2013 and how I look at Shredded Storage – differential storage and optimized network transport puts this strategy as one of the big ones that we will make with our SharePoint 2013 upgrade and rollout. I’ll be working very closely with the desktop team and mobile team.