When Microsoft officially introduced its coming version of Office on July 17, one of the quickly mentioned features that generated the most questions was something called SkyDrive Pro.
SkyDrive is Microsoft's cloud storage mechanism for consumers. So will SkyDrive Pro be its complement for business users? Will SkyDrive and SkyDrive Proffer users two different cloud storage locales? Does SkyDrive Pro basically kill off Groove and/or SharePoint Workspace? LiveSide.Net has a good rundown of some of the many unknowns around SkyDrive Pro. Microsoft mentioned SkyDrive Pro a couple of times, very briefly, in its downloadable reviewers' guide for the new Office. On July 17, officials offered a few more tidbits about the mysterious new version of SkyDrive. SkyDrive Pro is considered to be both part of SharePoint Online in Office 365 and of SharePoint Server 2013. This is how Microsoft Corporate Vice President of SharePoint Jeff Teper defined SkyDrive Pro in a July 17 post on the new SharePoint: "SkyDrive Pro makes it easy it to work with your documents in SharePoint - save, sync, share and collaborate are all drop-dead simple. The name conveys the simplicity and increased consistency with our SkyDrive consumer cloud service while reinforcing the 'Pro' features of SharePoint like social networking, collaboration, search, metadata, workflow and compliance. Click 'Sync' on a SharePoint library and you will get the documents offline in the Windows Explorer, Office applications and more. SkyDrive Pro is part of both the SharePoint service in Office 365 and server." A Microsoft spokesperson said that Microsoft does not consider SkyDrive Pro to be a replacement for SharePoint Workspace. The spokesperson also said users could opt to have two SkyDrives: One for work (SkyDrive Pro) and one personal (SkyDrive). It's not clear to me whether the two would simply sync, or if users could opt to merge these into one. Hopefully things will become clearer as testers start weighing in about the Customer Preview of SharePoint 2013 and the new Office 365 bundles. Meanwhile, what else is new in the coming SharePoint Server 2013/SharePoint Online service? There were a number of leaks, based on the private technical preview of SharePoint 2013, which Microsoft made available to select testers earlier this year. This week, Microsoft officials and partners shared more details, including the more pervasive social-networking capabilities; the integration of FAST Search technology; and a new SharePoint Sites hub. There's also a new feature called Shredded Storage, which removes file duplicates and reduces the amount of content sent across the wire.