The second half of 2013 has kicked off with a bang for Office 365. Microsoft recently increased storage quotas for both Exchange Online mailboxes and SkyDrive Pro storage. Some of these new limits are a welcome change. Others leave me – well – meh!
User mailboxes in Exchange Online have doubled in size from a 25GB storage limit to 50GB. Shared Mailboxes and Resource Mailboxes have also doubled in size from 5GB to 10GB. This is most likely a result of Microsoft having completed the majority of Office 365 tenant upgrades to the Wave 15 version of the product suites.
As any Exchange administrator knows from experience – the more storage you have, the more performance requirements you have. Exchange 2013 (part of Wave 15) has significantly improved storage performance over Exchange 2010. With most tenants now on Wave 15 technology, Microsoft can begin offering larger storage quotas without the extra processing power overhead and expense to support it.
This is in contrast to Google Apps which gives users 30GB of storage shared across Gmail, Google Docs and Picasa Web Albums.
And this is where I’m left with that ‘meh’ feeling.
My own mailbox rarely gets over 2 GB in size. This is because I manage my storage by saving attachments to SharePoint or SkyDrive or a hard drive somewhere instead of using my mailbox as a file storeage management system. I suspect most other users are the same way. So this offer to have 50GB of mailbox storage will – in my mind – go mostly unused. It’s a great marketing tool for competing against Google.
The table below shows the various new Exchange Online storage limits based on license plan. More detailed info can be found here.
SkyDrive Pro storage quotas have been a sticking point with users for quite a while. When first released back in February 2013, SkyDrive Pro quotas were set at 7GB and could not be increased. Considering a consumer SkyDrive account offered the ability to purchase additional storage above the default 7GB, this didn’t make much sense and many users who needed the additonal storage were forced to find it elsewhere.
Now, SkyDrive Pro users get 25GB storage limits by default, and this limit can be increased to either 50GB or 100GB. This makes using SkyDrive Pro much more realistic for many users – myself included.
Microsoft also introducted a new feature in SkyDrive Pro called “Shared with me”. Users will now see a new link in their SkyDrive Pro account in the browser that when clicked, summarizes all the documents that users have shared with them in one place. This will make collaboration and organization of documents much easier for users.