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What’s the point of Live Mesh? Microsoft explains

by Scott Bicheno on 29 April 2008, 10:31

Tags: Live Mesh, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Live and unleashed

Nothing panics a journalist more than encountering a new term in their field that they’re not familiar with and the same must surely be true of any professional in a similar position.

Having got my head around SaaS, virtualisation and cloud computing, I was alarmed, when Microsoft announced its shiny, new Live Mesh…thing, to realise I didn’t have a clue what it was.

Thankfully Microsoft has appointed one of its most web-savvy execs to the position of software plus services project lead and it was to him that the job of explaining Live Mesh was entrusted.

Steve Clayton may be a familiar name to the UK channel as he previously held a senior channel position at Microsoft and it was in that guise that I, also in a previous life, first met him.

I commented at the time that he was surprisingly normal and relaxed compared to the common assumptions made about Microsoft execs and was no less so when we spoke again.

We started with his job title; how does software plus services differ from software as a service? ‘SaaS is a well-used term generally used to refer to companies like salesforce.com, who deliver applications across the internet,’ said Clayton.

‘We use a different term because we’re bringing together services that live out in the cloud [the web] with some client-side applications.’

So it’s fair to assume that Live Mesh involves both online and client-side applications, but rather than speculate I asked for a definition of it.

‘Live Mesh is about accessing your information in multiple places and with multiple devices without having to worry about syncing’

‘Live Mesh is about accessing your information in multiple places and with multiple devices without having to worry about syncing,’ said Clayton.

I mentioned that sometimes, when I want to transfer a file between my desktop and laptop, I save it as an attachment in a draft email in Outlook and Exchange ensures that it is available to both PCs. I asked Clayton if this was the sort of thing Live Mesh is for.

‘That is definitely a good model, but with Mesh it all happens automatically and with everything,’ said Clayton. ‘Live Mesh maintains what you could call a ‘cloud store’ of data and the local store – i.e. the device, periodically synchronises with it.’

Clayton also commented that in the couple of months that he’s been using Live Mesh he doesn’t think he’s used a flash drive once and that he is very confident about the security measures built into it.