Back to the future, with SkyDrive

Microsoft has been making great efforts to make SkyDrive more feature rich and available on virtual every platform – mobile, tablet, PC, Mac, and tightly integrated into Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

The 7GB provided by free is greater than most other free equivalents, so when you factor that in it’s a fairly amazing solution.

However this is not a blog piece or comparison about SkyDrive or its competitors.

Only a few days ago Microsoft announced the general availability of Office 365 for Education – replacing the former Live@Edu service which was built on a combination of the Windows Live platform, Exchange Server 2010, and a variety of other components.

Key among the Live@Edu attractions for educational institutions was the SkyDrive component – as it gave them a way to finally be rid of network home drives and ultimately being responsible for student files.

Unfortunately the SkyDrive portion is no longer available in the updated offering, being replaced with a 500MB My Site as part of SharePoint Online. This is a far cry from the 7GB that SkyDrive offers – so what are schools and universities to do given that common student home drives are usually 1-2GB in size.

Along comes the latest offering from my company Xstran DirSync for SkyDrive.

In simple terms – it brings back a key feature of the Live@Edu offering: the ability to connect SkyDrive accounts to Active Directory.

Currently in beta, Xstran is currently taking expressions of interest as I expect the tool to hit general availability in early July.

Any schools or universities taking up Office 365 but wanting to provide students with their own cloud storage using the same identity – this is the tool for you!

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