Microsoft continues to try and transition its business into cloud computing and going mobile, hoping additional product announcements and partnerships should help. The Azure ExpressRoute gives users the chance to operate private connections between their Azure network and on-premise environments, along with increased mobility to integrate with Apple iOS and Google Android.
"Mobility and cloud are the future of business, and the future is now," said Brad Anderson, Microsoft Cloud & Enterprise Division Corporate VP. "Our differentiated cloud innovations, comprehensive mobile productivity solutions and developer tools help all of our customers realize the true potential of the cloud era."
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was largely unable to usher Microsoft into the future, with new CEO Satya Nadella trying to follow a more aggressive roadmap. The software giant will continue to push resellers to drum up interest among end-users, though will remain an uphill battle in increasingly competitive markets.
Google has just dropped the price on its cloud storage service, Drive, to ridiculous levels. Google provides 15GB of free storage through Drive, but now the company is making it much cheaper to throw more content onto the cloud. Here's the new pricing:
- 15GB - Free
- 100GB - $1.99 a month
- 1TB - $9.99 a month
- 10TB or more - $99.99 a month
Competitors Apple and Dropbox have just had their cloud storage businesses look a little worse today, with Dropbox offering 100GB of cloud storage for $9.99 per month, so Google is really dominating Dropbox here. Previously Google charged $4.99 for the 100GB of cloud storage, so the drop to just $1.99 is a significant one.
Apple charges annually for its iCloud service, at $100 per year for 50GB which means you're paying $8.30 per month. $8.30 per month for 50GB is a much higher price to pay than what Google was offering before its price cuts at 100GB for $4.99 per month, but now at $1.99 per month for 100GB of storage through Drive, Google has really dived out ahead of its competitors.
ASRock has announced that it has partnered up with Kloudian to unveil its own cloud storage service, ASRock Cloud. ASRock Cloud includes a three-year subscription to Orbweb.ME Professional, which is priced at $149.97.
This is a personal cloud storage service which is normally priced at $49.99 per year, as well as one-month upgrade to Orbweb.ME Ultimate, which gives consumers access to a Remote Desktop function. James Wei, the CEO of Kloudian, said: "It is very exciting to work with ASRock, one of the world's largest motherboard manufacturers. With the continued proliferation of mobile devices and the growing demand to 'stay connected', we are proud to provide a powerful and convenient solution to enable users the freedom of their portable device plus the power of their ASRock personal computer."
ASRock Cloud comes in both iOS and Android apps, or you can your web browser on your PC, where you can then remotely power on your PC, stream music, photos and video clips remotely through Orbweb.ME's file Xplorer, at anytime, anywhere. In order to jump in on this, you have to own an ASRock motherboard, and then visit this link for more info.
MWC 2014 - Enterprise management company CA Technologies launched the Management Cloud for Mobility platform, a new cloud service. There is specific interest in the advancing enterprise mobility management (EMM) technology aimed at keeping devices secure in an increasingly mobile workplace.
CA Technology hopes "Smart Containerization" will give companies the chance to address security, device performance and compliance while not interfering in day-to-day use.
"The growth of mobile devices and apps in the enterprise is blurring the lines between personal and corporate data and leading to new challenges for enterprises," said Chris Hazelton, Research Director for Mobile & Wireless solutions at 451 Research, in a statement. "The EMM space is evolving as companies are looking for more complete offerings that support customers and productive mobile employees."
The EMM market is on full display at both MWC in Spain and the 2014 RSA Conference currently underway in San Francisco - as businesses understand keeping mobile solutions secure is a major priority.
Its been a few months since I first reported on Microsoft being forced to rename SkyDrive, and just a few weeks ago we learned that the service would be transitioning to the moniker "OneDrive." The initial announcement said that it would take several weeks for the new branding to be fully implemented, and today Microsoft's cloud storage service is now officially named OneDrive.
Visiting Skydrive.com redirects you to the OneDrive site as does OneDrive.com, but the official URL is OneDrive.live.com, something that may be confusing to some non-technical customers. Microsoft has only changed the service's name and all functionality appears to have remained the same. New users who sign up receive 7GB of free storage space and an additional 500MB for each additional user they invite to the service. Additionally, users who opt into auto backing up images from their smartphone receive an additional 3GB of free storage space.
"Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to get all of your favorite stuff in one place - one place that is accessible via all of the devices you use every day, at home and at work. Because let's face it, until now, cloud storage services have been pretty hard to use, and the vast majority of us still have our stuff spread out everywhere," said Microsoft's Chris Jones. "In fact, according to a recent poll, at least 77 percent of people who are familiar with the cloud still have content stored on a device that is not backed up elsewhere. We want to change that."
Microsoft has just made a big change to its cloud storage service, where it has changed its name from SkyDrive to OneDrive. This is something that has gone into effect today.
The software giant has also updated its Android app, which now features automatic camera backups that will see your precious moments automatically uploaded to your OneDrive account. Microsoft is also rolling out monthly storage plans, which start at $4.49 per month for 50GB, ranging up to $11.49 per month for 200GB.
Enterprise IT spending will mainly focus helping companies move forward with cloud computing and mobile-based services, while overall budgets are increasing. Mobile app development should see a strong boost in 2014, with decision makers hoping to keep users productive and customers happy.
"One of the learnings we had early last year when we were starting to play with cloud technologies was that there was always a risk of something like this happening," said Hugh Scott, Energy Plus CIO, when speaking of a recent Amazon Web Services outage. The downtime hit Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and countless other services that had to deal with upset customers.
Both Google and VMware recently announced a joint effort to accelerate development of corporate desktops, powered for the "Mobile Cloud Era." The service is designed to provide businesses and enterprises with access to a secure cloud on desktops, smartphones, and mobile devices.
New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella plans to spend a large portion of his early days at Microsoft moving the company forward in the mobile and cloud markets.
Cloud computing is predicted to reach $121.1 billion by 2015, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets, though other analysts guess the market will have a difficult time in 2014. Embracing the cloud gives users the chance to utilize a scalable and cost-effective way to access and share information from any Web-connected device.
For companies trying to sell cloud services to the consumer or B2B markets, it's quickly coming down to service quality. Any company trying to drive innovation in the cloud market must pay attention to good product support, customer support, and clear lines of communication with users.
Companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon tend to get a lot of headlines for their respective cloud efforts, though software providers like Red Hat and CA are expected to have a difficult time growing this year.
Following criticism accusing Microsoft of giving the National Security Agency (NSA) easy access to customer data, Microsoft is now allowing overseas customers to keep their information stored outside of the United States.
"People should have the ability to know whether their data are being subjected to the laws and access of governments in some other country, and should have the ability to make an informed choice of where their data resides," said Brad Smith, Microsoft General Counsel, in a statement to reporters.
If this happens, it will mark one of the more drastic moves by companies trying to limit concern over the access NSA has to documents, files, and personal information. Other companies prefer to keep information stored in the U.S., even with NSA snooping concerns, and will follow Microsoft's overseas effort carefully.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has continually denied that the NSA has a Microsoft-created backdoor to access information ranging from customer data to cloud access to browse files.
During the first half of last year, Microsoft found itself in a bit of hot water when the British Sky Broadcasting Group took Redmond to court over the SkyDrive name. Following the courts ruling, Microsoft agreed to change its cloud service's name to something else. Today, more than six months later, the new name has arrived.
Microsoft SkyDrive will now be known as Microsoft One Drive, and the company says that the re-branding will take place soon, and that no changes will be made to the service that affects your data. In a statement, Microsoft said: The Service "will continue to operate as you expect and all of your content will be available on OneDrive and OneDrive for Business respectively as the new name is rolled out across the portfolio."
"Changing the name of a product as loved as SkyDrive wasn't easy," admits Microsoft's Ryan Gavin. "We are excited about what is to come, and can't wait to share more." Gavin's statement leads us to believe that Microsoft is planning the launch of new features for OneDrive, but with the service already fully featured, I am not sure what else they could add.