Overnight Microsoft have confirmed some rumoured updates to their cloud storage offering – SkyDrive. Arriving with Windows 8, will be a Metro-style SkyDrive app, as well as deep integration into the OS. This means when choosing a file your choice is no longer just local and networked drives, but also you SkyDrive files.
While introduced during the Windows 7 timeframe, SkyDrive has never felt like a complete cloud-storage solution. With the upgrades detailed today, there’s some 3rd party tools that will be impacted. Currently Microsoft provides SkyDrive accounts to more than 17 million people, however this will grow substantially as every Windows user will have a SkyDrive account.
Naturally the transition to Redmond’s latest OS will take years, this announcement is an important one. Frustrating 100 megabyte file limitations and lack of Windows Explorer integration has prevented a number of potential uses for SkyDrive. With explorer integration being solved and the file size limitation being increased to 2GB, paired with the ability to pay for additional storage, these reasons are going away. So who does this effect ?
While the ramifications of SkyDrive’s evolution will touch a lot of companies, cloud storage services like Dropbox and online backup solutions like Carbonite immediately come to mind. Thankfully SkyDrive in Windows 8 will also put an end to the messy Windows Live Mesh syncing solution Microsoft previously offered to interact with SkyDrive from your PC.
Ultimately these changes will allow ‘normal-people’ to be treat machines as disposable. While those of us more tech-savy have enjoyed this freedom for some time now, most people store critical data on their single machine. With files synced across your SkyDrive storage, if something happens to one machine, just sign into the next and your files are all still available.
Naturally using SkyDrive for your online backup will likely require more than the default 25GB of free storage. The good news is it looks like Microsoft will also add the ability to purchase additional storage. Currently SkyDrive stores around 10 petabytes of data, which sounds like a lot until you compare it with 100 petabytes. All of these bits are stored on Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure running on datacentres around the world (not Australia).
Microsoft has produced a new video explaining the changes.
More information about the SkyDrive updates available at the Building Windows 8 blog.