Microsoft Tweaks SharePoint Online Storage Management

The guessing games are over. New SharePoint Online features are aimed at helping administrators free up capacity and better manage their cloud storage resources.

Microsoft SharePoint Online

Microsoft is making it easier for administrators to manage their SharePoint Online storage capacity with new automated controls and features that lend increased visibility into their environments.

Mark Kashman, a SharePoint senior product manager, detailed the changes in an Aug. 18 Office Blogs post. The additions are part of "a new storage model based on usage, making it easier to manage availability of storage across your SharePoint Online team sites," he said.

The SharePoint Online updates enable organizations to reclaim and repurpose more of the service's pooled storage capacity. In a break from the past, "the concept of reserved storage now only applies at the tenant level for SharePoint Online" instead of at the site collection level, he said.

Kashman explained that if a customer "had a site collection's storage quota set to 100GB in the old model and were only using 20GB, it now has a usage limit of 100GB in the new model, and returns 80GB back to the tenant storage pool." Individual site collections remain capped at 1TB, a big increase from the 100GB limit the company previously imposed.

Microsoft also lifted the cap on SharePoint Online site collections for individual Office 365 tenants from 10,000 to 500,000.

The new storage management model provides SharePoint Online with more flexibility and simplified administration, according to Kashman. "Site collections (other than OneDrive) no longer tie up blocks of reserved storage. Instead, only the actual storage used counts against total pooled storage," he added.

Along with the changes come new Site Collection Storage Management options in the SharePoint Online admin center.

Users can toggle between new Auto and Manual modes. "Auto enables hassle-free storage management, while Manual enables the admin to apply storage usage limits per site collection (excluding OneDrive)," said Kashman. When set to Auto, "collections only use what they need from the available pooled storage, automatically, up to whatever the current maximum system limit is per site collection—currently 1TB."

New SharePoint Online customers will default to auto mode while current customers are set to manual. "All previously configured storage quota values that existing tenants have in place prior to rollout will persist in the new model (under Manual), but be represented as storage usage caps," stated Kashman. Customers can switch between both modes at any time.

In either scenario, customers "don't have to worry about management overhead or 'lost' storage that has been allocated but not used," Kashman said. "Furthermore, this means you can create as many site collections as you want without being limited by whether there is storage available to allocate."

The updates are part of an ongoing effort to make Office 365 a more welcoming, low-stress environment for harried administrators.

"With all the new features and functionality offered by Office 365, managing the service can become more complex," said Lawrence Chiu, an Office 365 senior product marketing manager, in a May 21 statement. "To ensure that admins at all organizations, big and small, get the most from Office 365, we've started on a journey to simplify the Office 365 admin experience."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...