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Microsoft Enhancing OneDrive for Business, Starting with iOS Platform

Microsoft provided a few technical details today about its upcoming OneDrive for Business releases.

OneDrive for Business is Microsoft's business-grade document storage service that's based on SharePoint Online technology. OneDrive for Business typically gets purchased through various Office 365 subscription plans and works on various OS platforms, including Android, iOS and Windows. In addition to the business version, Microsoft offers a free cloud-based storage service for consumers called "OneDrive," accessible via a Web page or app. Both services were renamed from the earlier "SkyDrive" product name in the wake of a lawsuit.

Microsoft announced the release of OneDrive for consumers last week, although only the app for the iOS platform is currently available. Microsoft indicated that support for other platforms, including Windows, would be arriving "in the coming months" for its consumer OneDrive apps.

Similarly, Microsoft announced today that OneDrive for Business for iOS 1.2 "is one of the first [apps] out of the gate," implying that it is available today, although that wasn't clear at press time. OneDrive for Business for iOS 1.2 has been "fine tuned" to support the latest iOS 7 Apple operating system release, Microsoft indicated. In particular, the user interface has been redesigned to better reflect the iOS design.

Those organizations using other platforms, including Windows, will have to wait, as OneDrive for Business will be coming to those other platforms "soon," according to Microsoft's announcement. The company is also planning to launch a future "web interface in Office 365" as yet another way to access OneDrive for Business storage, although the details weren't explained.

There a few technical details to note with the release of OneDrive for Business iOS 1.2. Microsoft has now added support for organizations with "dedicated" SharePoint Online accounts. Office 365 services typically are "multitenant" offerings, meaning that organizations share the datacenter equipment that hosts SharePoint services. With the release of OneDrive for Business iOS 1.2, Microsoft also will support dedicated Office 365 accounts, which is a more expensive option for organizations because the services run on dedicated hardware.

Dedicated Office 365 accounts use certain technologies for authentication, Microsoft explained, including the Forms-Based Authentication (FBA) and the Windows NT LAN Manager (NTLM) protocols. If those protocols are used with SharePoint Server 2013 Service Pack 1 installed on the customer's premises, then it also will be possible to use the OneDrive for Business for iOS app in an in-house configuration, according to Microsoft's announcement. Further details weren't elaborated, but the announcement suggests perhaps that OneDrive for Business can be used by organizations wanting more in-house controls.

Microsoft plans to publish additional details on such infrastructure configurations requirements (FBA and NTLM) for OneDrive for Business in a future TechNet library post. It's also planning to talk more about OneDrive for Business at the next SharePoint Conference, which is happening next week in Las Vegas.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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