Sunday, May 26, 2013

Some perspective on SkyDrive storage

I’m starting to see people get a little agitated about SkyDrive Pro storage so I thought I’d answer some of the most common queries to provide a little balance to what seems to be a bit of unfair ‘Microsoft bashing’ in my opinion.
1. Some seem to think that SkyDrive consumer (i.e. http://live.skydrive.com) is 25GB of storage. If you sign up today it is actually 7GB, just like SkyDrive Pro. Those that current have 25GB where probably grandfathered when SkyDrive consumer was upgraded a number of years ago. However, if you sign up for SkyDrive consumer today you will only receive 7GB for free.
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-au/skydrive/compare
2. Unlike SkyDrive consumer, SkyDrive Pro does not allow you to purchase additional storage. However, you can purchase additional shared storage for all SharePoint Online plans which you never used to be able to. For example, in in the previous version of Office 365 P plans you couldn’t add storage to SharePoint Online but now you can. Again, and improvement Microsoft has enabled after feedback. I will however point out that although you CAN purchase additional storage for all plans now on some plans it still remains unavailable as I detailed in an earlier blog post:
http://blog.ciaops.com/2013/04/additional-sharepoint-space-for-m-and-p.html
However, I am sure it isn’t far away for those plans.
3. When Microsoft upgraded SkyDrive consumer they looked at how much storage existing users were using and found that 99.94% used less than 7GB:

You’ll find information about the reasoning on this blog post:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/04/23/the-next-chapter-for-skydrive-personal-cloud-storage-for-windows-available-anywhere.aspx
It is therefore totally reasonable in my mind that SkyDrive Pro should initially be set at the same free limit (i.e. 7GB), given they are also looking to make then consistent under the same brand.
4. In the previous version of SharePoint Online users had 500MB (yes MB!) of personal storage for only the Enterprise plans. The version of Office 365 increased that to 7GB for EVERY user on EVERY plan. That is and increase of 1,400% in one upgrade!
5. Microsoft is still in the process of upgrading existing users from the previous version of Office 365. This a HUGE under taking across large numbers of users in large numbers of countries. I am sure they are going to offer the ability to upgrade storage capacity for SkyDrive Pro but please allow them to at least get everyone on the same platform!
6. It is hard for me to understand how multiple users in an organization can have > 7GB of personal files unless they are large images or videos. In that case I would be saying that should that information REALLY be saved into SkyDrive Pro? if such users REALLY needed to have everything in the cloud I would be suggesting using SkyDrive consumer for things like large static images and videos and SkyDrive Pro for Office documents. You can run both quite happily together on a desktop and have information syncing to both locations if desired.
7. To me the biggest limitation of SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint Online is the current 250MB maximum file size rather than the 7GB SkyDrive Pro limit. SkyDrive Pro consumer is 2GB per file in comparison, however I expect Microsoft to raise the limit for SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint Online in the very near future.
Again, remember, if needed you can generally add to SharePoint Online shared storage so if you REALLY wanted those large files in SharePoint Online, and users already have 7GB in SkyDrive Pro, simply purchase additional shared storage and secure it with standard SharePoint security so only required users can access.
Conclusion
So in summary, yes having the option for additional SkyDrive Pro storage, beyond 7GB, would be nice but I’m sure it isn’t too far away. However, this is not really a limiting factor when looking at SharePoint Online as there are alternatives and work-arounds.