The Windows Live suite of online services has recently added the SkyDrive storage product to anyone for free; the only requirement is to have a free Windows Live ID. Since its initial launch, SkyDrive has increased the 500 MB storage limit to a generous 25 GB.
For Windows Server administrators, this is quite the double-edged sword. There is the argument that any storage for your organization's IT activities should be stored and secured locally, yet Web-based services like SkyDrive are incredibly convenient, and 25 GB is a lot of storage. In the Network Administrator blog, I wrote about the place of Internet-based file exchange services and started quite a conversation. It simply comes down to compliance and the size of the organization. Some smaller organizations can't live without these services. Simply by size, SkyDrive is among the leading free service sites in the field.While the SkyDrive service does not offer native drive mapping functionality to make file exchange a breeze, it does have a nifty rich file interface that allows an easy drag and drop of files to the SkyDrive site. Figure A shows the upload interface. Figure A
Click image to enlarge.
In regards to security, the SkyDrive service is configured by permissions set by each account holder and all content is marked as public by default. Functionality is not present that would allow a specific computer to access a SkyDrive site, regardless of who logs in without a password exchange. For the naysayers, the SkyDrive service is not bandwidth optimized from the client perspective, unless a network solution is in place to administer quality of service on the network for large uploads or downloads as this service will consume bandwidth. If, by chance, you want to block the service, a key Web domain that it uses is skydrive.live.com.
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Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.