OneDrive Files On Demand – Perfect for BYOD

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Credit: TechoFAQ

Over the last couple of years it has been evident that increasing numbers of BYOD laptops have transitioned to Solid State Disks (SSD) which is terrific since they are significantly faster than traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD), have lower failure rates and also improve battery life.

However, due to their higher price point, the actual available storage volume of SSD is often markedly lower than equivalently priced HDD.  This means students are faced with the difficult decision around what content do they store locally on the their device versus using selective sync in the OneDrive cloud and/or storing on an external USB drive.

Selective Sync effectively allows you to upload content into OneDrive that you don’t access frequently, and then download it when you do need it. Critically, however, this content will not appear in your local File Explorer browser so you can’t “see” it unless you log into OneDrive via a web browser and choose to sync it locally to your device.

OneDrive Files On Demand Coming In Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

This is why the announcement last Friday at the Build 2017 conference was so exciting. A new feature will allow you to see all of your content in OneDrive in your File Explorer, irrespective of whether it is stored locally on your device, or only in OneDrive in the Microsoft Cloud. Then, if you want to access any content that is only in OneDrive it will automatically be downloaded “on demand” when you click to open the file/folder.

You can optionally choose to then “always keep on this device” if you are going to be requiring regular or off-line access to this file.

Read the full blog post about this here.

Here are some images from the original blog post to show you how this works:

1

Note that the selected folder takes up 1.37TB of storage in the OneDrive cloud, but that locally in File Explorer it shows 0 bytes on the local device.

2

The various status of each file and folder is shown in the “Status” column, indicating whether it is in the OneDrive Cloud only or stored locally on the device. Right mouse clicking allows you to choose to “Always keep on this device”

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If a file is not stored locally, simply double clicking on it as you normally would to open a file will immediately trigger a download to open the requested file.

My Point of View:

I see this as being a massive aid for schools, helping both teachers and students maximize the performance of their devices. Getting more SSD into teacher and student devices will drive longer battery life, lower failure rates and faster accessing of content. However, by being able to seamlessly see what is in the Cloud and what is stored locally removes any barrier or confusion around the location of content for end users.

With many BYOD devices starting with 64GB of storage, this opens up the vast OneDrive storage capacity to students and teachers in an easier, more seamless way, meaning there is even less reason to use USB hard drives for storing content.

This feature will be available in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update as well as new OneDrive features for iOS/Android devices.

Are You Migrating To OneDrive For Business Or Not?

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I read an interesting blog post this morning entitled “No You Should Not Be Migrating to OneDrive for Business” and I encourage you to check it out, including the excellent infographic at the bottom of the article that helps understand what a potential migration might look like (unfortunately, I can’t include the image here as hosted versions of WordPress.com don’t allow iFrame embeds).

Whilst the title of the post is certainly attention grabbing, especially coming from a Sharepoint favouring website, it’s worth noting that the author DOES advocate the use of OneDrive For Business but goes into depth to explain it’s not just a simple sync tool. This is the key overview:

OneDrive for Business is a new “brand”, powered by SharePoint, that helps you work with your files, at work.

Here’s what this product or brand includes:

  • Personal Site
  • Personal Document Library
  • A Sync Tool for every Document Library so you can work Offline
  • Perspective on your working files (Shared with You, Followed by You, etc…)
  • Perspective on your Group Files

I am talking to more and more schools that are keen to abandon their local network shares in favour of using a combination of cloud storage in Office365 including:

  • OneDrive For Business
  • Sharepoint Online
  • Office365 Groups

It can become confusing and hard to know which tool to use and when. The above article, linked to again here, definitely provides some worthwhile insights for organisations looking to maximise the value of their Office365 cloud storage options.