Thursday, April 10, 2014

eDiscovery is part of OneDrive for Business stand alone plans

I have been looking at the OneDrive for Business Stand Alone plan recently to try and understand what it is all about. If you haven’t read my initial blog on this have a look at:

First look at the OneDrive for business stand alone plan

Upon reviewing what OneDrive for Business Stand Alone offered at:

https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/business/

I noted the fact that it includes eDiscovery as you can see below.

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Now, the eDiscovery features is actually a part of SharePoint Online Plan 2 as you can see below:

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The conclusion that I came to in my initial blog post on OneDrive for Business Stand Alone was that it was that it had the equivalent feature set of SharePoint Online Plan 1. Clearly, with the ability to have eDiscovery (which is an advanced SharePoint Online feature) that assumption is no longer correct it would seem.

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So to test out the eDiscovery feature I logged into the OneDrive for Business Stand Alone Plan and went to the SharePoint admin center and created a new site collection.

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When you create a new site collection you can select which template you wish that site based on. As you can see from the above screen shot, one of the options under the Enterprise tab is eDiscovery Center.

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Once you have created the site and it has been provisioned you will see it appear in the list of site as shown above.

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You can of course navigate to that site, as seen above, and start using the eDiscovery functionality of the OneDrive for Business Stand Alone plan.

This is interesting to me. Why? Because clearly OneDrive for Business Stand Alone is based on a SharePoint Plan 1 (as deduced in the previous blog post) but as you can see now it includes the advanced eDiscovery feature from SharePoint Online Plan 2. So that means what we effectively have here is another SharePoint Online plan here with a different feature set.

Those additional advanced features are great, don’t get me wrong, but they make understanding what each SharePoint Online plan offers far more confusing for people. For example, OneDrive for Business Stand Alone doesn’t include advanced features like form services but does include other advanced features like eDiscovery.

Having eDiscovery as part of OneDrive for Business Stand Alone is a huge bonus and real differentiator with other cloud storage products, however it also means that it is a lot more complicated than competing products. OneDrive for Business Stand Alone is clearly not aimed at end users as are other cloud storage products BUT is does means that people that use and implement OneDrive for Business Stand Alone are going to have to spend some time learning about the product (and specifically SharePoint Online) if they are going to get the most from it.

The great thing about OneDrive for Business Stand Alone is that has much more functionality and power than you expect. However, that could also be its disadvantage if all you are looking to do is save files to the cloud. I personally think the market is moving more to a product like OneDrive for Business Stand Alone for compliance reasons but we are not there yet for most smaller customers who want simplicity over just about everything else.