Microsoft Starts Preview of OneDrive File On-Demand Storage Feature

Today’s topics include a preview of Microsoft's storage-saving OneDrive feature on Windows 10; Box's plan to disrupt the physical data storage market; a partnership between IBM Watson and BMW for connected cars; and how Mozilla is accelerating Firefox 54 with the Electrolysis multi-process engine.

Windows Insiders can now try out OneDrive Files On-Demand, a storage-sparing feature in the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Microsoft says OneDrive Files On-Demand is the top-requested feature at the company's OneDrive on UserVoice feedback hub.

OneDrive Files On-Demand makes it possible to access files uploaded to Microsoft's cloud storage service without keeping local copies, a boon for owners of ultralight Windows notebooks with limited hard drive storage capacity.

Previously, users were required to keep a copy of each file on both the OneDrive cloud and their PCs, which eats into a device's available storage. Starting this fall, Windows 10 users will have the option to skip their hard drives and keep their files on their OneDrive accounts.

Data storage disruptor Box is quietly on a quest to replace conventional physical storage systems. While it’s not exactly there yet, Box, a cloud storage and collaboration tool provider took a big step forward June 14 with the introduction of Box Drive, a new desktop-based application that runs the cloud storage service as if it were controlling a physical drive in a SAN (storage-area network) or NAS (network-attached storage).

The whole idea is to provide users with secure access to all files stored in Box through the familiar feel of traditional network-shared drives. Without Box Drive, users have to download files from Box storage individually.

IBM is continuing its efforts to expand the reach of its Watson cognitive computing technology in the fast-growing connected car market by partnering with high-end automaker BMW for its new CarData platform.

IBM will connect its Bluemix cloud platform with CarData, where data from the vehicles will be hosted and analyzed by Watson IoT and then sent to third parties of the owners choosing—such as insurance companies and auto shops.

The idea is that drivers will be able to use the telematics data generated by their cars to take advantage of new services that third parties will be able to create for improved customer experiences.

This is the latest move in the connected car market by IBM officials, who are hoping that the company's Bluemix and Watson IoT platforms will be recognized in the connected vehicles market as open, neutral resources that can securely manage and analyze their data.

Mozilla released a major update to its open-source browser on June 13 with the debut of Firefox 54 for Windows, macOS and Linux, providing users with improved performance and patches for 24 security issues.

Firefox 54 integrates the latest development from Mozilla's effort to improve web page content processing—a multiprocess technology it calls Electrolysis (E10S).

Mozilla has been publicly discussing E10S and bringing multiprocess web page rendering to Firefox since at least 2010 when Firefox 3.6 debuted.

The E10S effort was deferred and got a new start in February 2013, though for end users, it is the new Firefox 54 release that will show the first big benefits of the technology.