Thursday, April 11, 2013

Office 365 Exchange Public folders

One of the things that I have seen in my travels that prevents many businesses moving to Office 365 is the fact that it didn’t allow for Public Folders. With the upgrade to the latest version (Wave 15) that is now no longer the case I have posted about previously.

What I have wondered about was how much storage you received with Public Folders in Office 365? Well, my question has been answered by this excellent blog post on storage in Office 365:

http://community.office365.com/en-us/blogs/office_365_technical_blog/archive/2013/04/10/skydrive-pro-using-office-365-for-file-storage-in-sharepoint-online-grid-user-post.aspx

In there you will find the following information:

“In Exchange Online you now can create up to 100 public folders, each with a 25 GB storage limit.  Theoretically that's 2.5TB. Realistically, because it's not possible to fill each of the mailboxes perfectly, you should be able to store around 1TB total.”

So being conservative, that is 1GB of email storage for public folders that’s included with Exchange Online! If you also combine that with 7GB for each SharePoint Online user with SkyDrive Pro, you would have to admit that is extremely generous.

Let me put that into context. The biggest public folder hierarchy that I have ever seen was 600GB and growing at 300MB per month! Aside from the fact of getting that up to the cloud, Office 365 could EASILY accommodate even that capacity! If you could get it all up there you’d probably never have to worry about buying additional storage space (which I know the business struggles with daily on premise).

Most public folder arrangements I see are much less that the 600GB monster I mentioned above, so really (bandwidth aside) there is now no good reason not to consider moving public folders to the cloud with Exchange Online. It would probably also be a good opportunity to do some spring cleaning on them as well to reduce the bloat!

Finally, as I know most people won’t read to the bottom of the article, I’ll quote it for you (my emphasis added):

With all the storage options on Office 365 there's a solution for most situations, but don't retire your old file server just yet.  If you have applications on-premises that require local access to shared file storage... think Autocad or a document management system that ties in to a large format printer... you'll still want some network attached storage (NAS) or an actual file server.  You can supplement that file storage using these methods though and use a tiered storage plan.  Maybe you keep large binary files (ISOs, software install packages, etc.) on your file server, your documents on SharePoint and personal files on SkyDrive (instead of your network My Documents).

I point this out to highlight that Microsoft UNDERSTANDS that some stuff should stay on-premise. As the heading for that sections says – THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT JOB! I say this as I believe much of the Microsoft cloud message has been mis-represented and interpreted as the ‘Cloud or nothing’. That, in fact is the catch cry of many other cloud providers, irrespective of what actually works best for the user. The right approach for the moment is hybrid. Microsoft understands and, to my knowledge, is the only supplier that provides that option. If you think otherwise, the above quote illustrates that you maybe mistaken.