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Clearing Up Microsoft SkyDrive Pro Confusion

Jonathan Hassell | April 12, 2013
Microsoft SkyDrive Pro gives storage space to individual users in an organization with SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise. It's conceptually similar to, but not the same as, the free consumer SkyDrive cloud storage service. Here's what else you need to know about Microsoft's SkyDrive services.

Microsoft's SkyDrive service has gained a lot of traction over the past couple of years, given that it works well across numerous platforms (including Gmail and Xbox 360) and is easy to use. With Office 2013 and Office 365, Microsoft introduced a SkyDrive Pro service that is oriented toward businesses and enterprises.

There's a ton of confusion about exactly what SkyDrive Pro and SkyDrive really are, especially when you rate them against each other. (As usual, the Microsoft branding machine confuses perfectly good and functional software with names that are impossible to parse.) Let's take a few minutes to cover exactly what each service is and what their limitations are.

SkyDrive Pro: The Basics

SkyDrive Pro, put simply, is a business storage space for individual users. SkyDrive Pro is a feature and capability that comes from a SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise license--a license that you can buy either to run on servers in your own datacenter premises or access through a subscription to Office 365 on a monthly or annual basis.

SkyDrive Pro works and is available in both places, and it even functions the same way no matter where you run it, but the key part to remember is that it is a function of SharePoint and nothing else. It has absolutely no relationship to the free service of a very similar name that's discussed below.

Here are six key points to remember when thinking about SkyDrive Pro:

SkyDrive Pro is a user-focused solution. It's not a way to migrate a ton of documents and other data from file systems stored on your network to SharePoint to make those elements available to all. Rather, it's a place for users to store documents they care about that would be convenient to access from a variety of devices and places.

SkyDrive Pro is essentially a replacement to the old My Site feature that was available within SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013. It's a place for users to store files they might want to share with others in the future. For instance, you might be working on a budget spreadsheet that needs constant updating, so you could save a copy to your SkyDrive Pro location and invite other users to read, view and update that copy on their own.

With SkyDrive Pro on Office 365, each user gets 7 GB of space that is notcounted against the overall SharePoint storage quota that is part of the plan you pay for. For SharePoint Server 2013 on-premises installations, administrators can configure the SkyDrive Pro space quota on an individual basis. While you can purchase add-on space to pool more available gigabytes for your overall SharePoint sites and workspaces on Office 365, you can't currently buy more storage to extend SkyDrive Pro spaces. (This may well change in the future, though.)


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