There's new evidence to back up speculation that the next version of Windows may feature cloud-based backup. The idea is based on two recent Microsoft job posts which discuss a possible connection between Windows Azure, web-based services and Windows 8.
The first job posting is looking for a Software Development Engineer to help with work "on a Windows Azure-based service and integrating with certain Microsoft online services and Windows 8 client backup." The second job posting seeks a Windows System Engineer to "play a pivotal role as we integrate our online services with Windows 8."
The job listings follow a set of slides leaked over the summer that suggest cloud-based computing would play a vital role in Windows 8. The deck of slides listed features supposedly under consideration including ultra-fast booting, a "Microsoft Store" for downloading apps, fuller cloud integration, and the use of facial recognition for logins.
According to one of the slides, Windows accounts would be connected to the cloud. Roaming settings and preferences would also be associated with a user between PCs and devices. Ultimately this may actually help Microsoft fight piracy both locally and overseas, authorizing users on Microsoft’s end rather than locally on the machine.
Additionally, a possible scenario could require customers to set up a Live account (or use an existing one), purchase an access key (or register if Windows 8 came pre-installed on a new PC), and download the OS when needed later, similar to purchasing games from Steam. There would be no need for discs or permanently storing installation files on the HDD.
But if Windows 8 will indeed support cloud-based backup, it will be interesting to see how it works. Backing up to an internal HDD or an external 2 TB HDD is one thing--backing up the contents of a hard drive across the Internet is an entirely different beast. Cloud-based backup will likely just keep track of the core OS so that users can perform a recovery process.
With a clear connection between Windows 8 client backup and Windows Azure-based service listed in the job posting, there's no question that cloud-based computing will play a major role in the next OS. How it will be implemented will be anyone’s guess over the next few years.