With all the attention paid to Google's rumored GDrive online storage service -- it popped back into the headlines today with yet another internal document leak -- many IT pros may be overlooking Microsoft's storage and file sharing plans. Not surprisingly, they are many and diffuse, but Redmond does have a couple of interesting ideas.
From an ease-of-use perspective, Microsoft's plans for a graphical interface that manages file sharing between Internet-connected systems sounds most promising. Sure, it's nothing that can't be accomplished with Terminal Services, but a friendly check in/check out metaphor (that's speculation on our part, but what else would you do?) is always a plus with users. And managing the transit of remote files, as opposed to storing them on its own servers, would help Microsoft dodge the security and privacy concerns that predictably met the first news of GDrive.
That's not to say Redmond will avoid the temptation of opening its Web mail servers up to file storage; there apparently are some plans to get IM in on the file-sharing act as well.
Of course, all these projects are in the early planning/rumor stages. So GDrive and its MS rivals are still years off. And nothing we've read makes us think the days of VPNs and in-house file servers are drawing to a close.