SkyDrive and Windows 8: Files, apps and devices integration in the Cloud

With a few days left before the much awaited Consumer Preview release, Microsoft, on their latest Windows 8 blog, showcase another feature on how our apps, files and documents can be accessed across Windows 8 PCs and phones. The software giant has made a big leap in improving its Cloud service we know as SkyDrive. This service exists as part of the Windows Live. With Windows 8, SkyDrive team will be focusing on the personal needs of the people using the service. The Windows Team has detailed major goals in developing the SkyDrive for Windows 8:

  • SkyDrive Metro style app on Windows 8
  • SkyDrive files integrated into Windows Explorer on the desktop, and
  • The ability to fetch remote files through SkyDrive.com

SkyDrive as a Metro-style app for Windows 8

SkyDrive will now be having a dedicated app in Windows 8, which according to Microsoft, will be included (as an early version) in the Consumer Preview. The Metro-style app of SkyDrive will serve as a file/photo picker across all Metro-style apps that requires the service and this will also be available via access in Share Charm and contracts.

SkyDrive Metro-style app

SkyDrive app will also be available via Share Charm and Contracts

SkyDrive on the desktop

The service will also be available on the desktop through Windows Explorer. Files and photos can be easily manage using the desktop app. Like the other apps on the desktop, users can easily drag and drop chosen files to their desired locations even offline.

SkyDrive on the desktop

SkyDrive can be easily accessed through Windows Explorer

Directly from Skydrive.com

With the SkyDrive website, user can create his own private cloud. Files uploaded from and to SkyDrive Metro and desktop apps, can be accessed in the SkyDrive website. Most users are hesitant to use the cloud service for some security reasons. The team carefully considered this that’s why they introduce another layer of protection to make sure that files shared in the cloud will be safe and secure.

SkyDrive.com

Here is the video from the Windows 8 Blog. You can read the full article here.

ReFS: The Next Generation File System for Windows

Operating systems rely on a file system to organize the clustered storage space. The file system maintains a database that records the status of each cluster. In essence, the file system shows the operating system in which cluster(s) a file is stored and where space is available to store new data. A file system can be thought of as an index or database containing the physical location of every piece of data on a hard drive. Today, NTFS (New Technology File System) is the most commonly used file system for hard drives in Windows. And as Microsoft continuous to improved Windows 8, they introduced the new file system, ReFS which stands for Resilient File System. The new file system was built in NTFS foundation and so compatibility will not be an issue. ReFS will be piloted  on Windows Server 8.

Windows 8 Blog detailed the key features of ReFS:

  • Metadata integrity with checksums
  • Integrity streams providing optional user data integrity
  • Allocate on write transactional model for robust disk updates (also known as copy on write)
  • Large volume, file and directory sizes
  • Storage pooling and virtualization makes file system creation and management easy
  • Data striping for performance (bandwidth can be managed) and redundancy for fault tolerance
  • Disk scrubbing for protection against latent disk errors
  • Resiliency to corruptions with “salvage” for maximum volume availability in all cases
  • Shared storage pools across machines for additional failure tolerance and load balancing

The new file system will not replace the existing file system we know today at least for the time being. But as Surendra Verma explained in the post:

“With this in mind, we will implement ReFS in a staged evolution of the feature: first as a storage system for Windows Server, then as storage for clients, and then ultimately as a boot volume. This is the same approach we have used with new file systems in the past.”