One of the greatest things about being a Microsoft partner is being a part of the latest tech conversation, and recently the buzz is all about the consumerization of IT. More specifically, as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trends gain momentum, companies face the difficult task of finding tech solutions that enable them to embrace BYOD policy while still operating at enterprise standards. This is a challenge Windows 8 tackles head-on– the new operating system provides all of the consumer-centric appeal of personal tablets while maintaining enterprise-level function in the office.

 
But being part of the MPN means that we aren’t just left appreciating these innovations from the sideline. As a partner we’ve gained access to knowledge and resources that have allowed our software engineering firm to scale the ledge between consumer and enterprise as well.  Our current product, AetherStore, is a perfect example of that collaboration.
 
AetherStore is a software-only storage solution that pools latent hard drive space on existing machines in a network. It eliminates the need for expensive and clunky storage servers, freeing SMBs from relying on big-name server providers to store their data. And it’s simple; the consumer-centric design means anyone can install it. But there was one aspect of AetherStore’s design that prevented it from being fully in step with BYOD trends: our storage system was originally only a local solution.
 
While AetherStore users would enjoy efficiency, speed, and reliability from their storage solution in-office, we didn’t yet offer the same to employees who were accessing data from elsewhere on their own devices. With BYOD rapidly becoming the norm, this was an issue we couldn’t ignore. Microsoft was able to provide a resource that could help us address this – access to the cloud.
 
Microsoft Azure offers an avenue through which we can attach a cloud storage option to our local storage, meaning AetherStore clients can now choose to access their data from anywhere and on any device. The addition of cloud storage also ensures that their data can truly never be lost. Through Azure we’ve not only been able to expand the scope of what our storage solution is capable of, we’re able to bring Microsoft’s cloud to SMBs that may not have had such easy access to it otherwise. The collaboration is one that everyone can benefit from.
 
I think that kind of exchange highlights how helpful the Microsoft Partner Network can be for those who participate. The MPN really is a community that values sharing resources and ideas, and here at AetherWorks we’re glad to be a part of it!
 
–Shannon ​