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We are certainly living in a time that has seen many technological changes in such a short period.

There was a time not long ago when computers were at speeds well under 500MHz, a cell phone and PDA were two separate devices, and even storing 5-10MB of information on the Internet was a big deal.

Now we live in a time of multi-core processors, smartphones that have more function than many PCs did just a decade ago, and new cloud-based storage solutions that allow massive amounts of data to easily be stored online.

There are many major players in the cloud-based storage business today such as Apple’s iCloud, Amazon’s Cloud Drive, and even Microsoft’s own solution, the Skydrive. The Skydrive isn’t anything new, existing since 2007.

What has changed is how large a role Microsoft’s cloud system plays, and with Windows 8 (and beyond) we will continue to see Skydrive and other cloud solutions play a larger role.

Windows 8 offers an opportunity for Microsoft to push their storage solution and hopefully many upcoming programs like Office 15 and even the OS itself will offer easy and smoother integration into the cloud as well.

Essentially when it comes to the cloud we have two distinct types of cloud storage, direct file storage and app storage that fully embraces the cloud and can enable new ways to collaborate, organize, and share such as Google Docs.

Cloud technology is only growing and even without Windows 8, the Skydrive seems to be doing fairly well. Right now Skydrive usage numbers indicate 17 million users use Skydrive to store content monthly, 360MB of files are being uploaded and shared every month by users, and over 5 million devices content to the Skydrive every month.

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So how does the Skydrive compare to other solutions? The Skydrive offers 25GB of free personal storage and a limit of 100MB per individual files. This is a lot more than iCloud’s 5GB free storage, of course the 5GB on the iCloud doesn’t include photors or purchased music, apps, books, and shows.

Skydrive also allows something called Windows Live Mesh which syncs files between devices. It is already integrated into Windows Phone and expect even tighter integration for Windows 8 when it goes to either Beta or final commercial release.

The cloud is an interesting opportunity as it stands but expect the future of the Cloud to increase its significance even further. As Internet speeds continually increase it will be more likely that cloud solutions like Skydrive offer full hard-drive backups and even the possibility to run from the cloud.

Imagine Windows 9 or 10 having full startup integration where you can choose to install the full OS onto your hard-drive or only necessary boot-up files to connect to the cloud, where your entire OS starts from there. In such a scenario you could even create a flash drive that contains these boot-up files for connecting to your entire OS through the Cloud on ANY PC, laptop, or even possibly tablets and phones.

The future is changing and the cloud is certainly part of it. Personally, I am still a little old-fashioned when it comes to file storage and like to keep my more important files on permanent storage. How does everyone else feel about Cloud storage and its role in the future?

Do you like the idea of running your entire OS through the Cloud? I personally use SkyDrive for photos and other minor files but there are many great storage choices out there. Do you use SkyDrive or have a preference for Cloud storage? Share your thoughts below!

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  1. I will never relies on cloud for my O.S and my files. And with Microsoft tries to force me to go in such direction, then i will welcome back a Linux distribution as the O.S of all my PC.

  2. I am personally mixed about it, as I indicated in the actual article. There is just something reassuring about having physical storage. Cloud is fine for some basic files and pictures, but my important work? I keep on my HDD and back to a flash drive.

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