Monday, September 1, 2014

SharePoint Online Storage Calculation Updates


There have been new modifications to SharePoint Online storage. All for the better. If you have been following SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, there has been some truly exciting things going on as of late with the announcement for the ability to support 1 TB site collections and 1 TB OneDrive for Business sites.

I have literally seen this as a complete game changer for enterprise organizations to get rid of expensive legacy file drives and move all user data to the cloud. This allows end users to have access to their data where ever they go across devices. It literally changes the way people work.

So What Is Changing?

In this new blog there are some new announcements -

Updated Usage Model

SharePoint Online Site Collection storage will now only calculates on actual storage utilized. They give an example:

  • Old Model - If you had set the SharePoint Online Site Collection quota at 100 GB, but was only using 20 GB, SharePoint Online would still calculate as if you are using 100 GB from the pooled storage.
  • New Model – If you set a SharePoint Online Site Collection quota to 100, but are only using 20 GB in that specific site collection, SharePoint Online will only count the 20 GB that is actually being used. Meaning you still have 80 GB available in pooled storage.

This is great thing given that direction of:

  1. 1 TB site collection.
  2. No cap on the amount of additional storage you can purchase for SharePoint Online pooled storage.

Remember nothing has changed from how your pooled storage is calculated. It is 10 GB + 500 MB per user. You can purchase as much storage beyond that as you want. OneDrive for Business storage is in no way associated to the calculation for SharePoint Online Pooled storage. Details are located here -

Auto versus Manual

Along with the changes above there is a change in how Site Collections sizes are managed.

  • Old Model – In SharePoint Online, every site collection requires a quota to be set for the Site Collection.
  • New Model – There is a new setting in SharePoint Online called Site Collection Storage Management. This setting can be set to Auto or Manual.
  • New Model Manual - If set to Manual, the SharePoint Online administrator will continue to set quotas to each site collectoin. When set to Manual, the site collection will use the new storage utilization model described above. If the site collection reaches its quota, the administrator will have to allocate more quota. If the site collection does not utilize all the quota but all the SharePoint Online pooled storage, the administrator will either need to free up space or purchase more pool storage on a per GB per month basis.
  • New Model Auto - If set to Auto, none of the Site Collections have a quota set. The site collections will grow to the current system maximum which is 1 TB per site collection. Do not worry, the site collections can only use the SharePoint Online pooled storage that is available to them. An administrator will have to purchase more SharePoint Online pooled storage when it gets maxed out. The SharePoint Online Admin Center has several new reports that will show how much storage you still have available.

I can see some pros/cons for both Auto and Manual. For Auto, the big benefit is if you want to keep it simple, Auto is the perfect choice. There are still some reason why you may want to use Manual over Auto; especially if you are a large organization with a lot of new content being created or acquired. What if there are specific site collections that are consuming large amounts of pooled storage? With Manual you will be able to continue to stop the growth by using quotas. For instance:

  • Check if there are automation processes building up too much data, should something be changed?
  • Determine if the retention policies for content need to be changed.
  • Determine if there is a reason to logically partition data into a new site collections because you see even more long-term growth.
  • Etc.

I still see good reasons why Manual would be needed.

Site Collection Limits

To go along with this, the number of Site Collections is now being increased from 10,000 to 500,000 Site Collections. That is a lot. This was a needed change to support this. You now have the ability to spin up tons of site collections to support this new storage model.

SharePoint Online DLP

I have to say I have been waiting awhile for the new SharePoint Online DLP solution to be released. It is super exciting because we now see this DLP capability being applied to both Exchange Online and SharePoint Online with a strategy to centrally manage both. Here is a brand new blog discussing the new SharePoint Online DLP capability - In this blog I will talk about the solution, important facts, plus talk about the future statements made in the Microsoft blog.

As of this posting, according to the Office 365 Public Roadmap, the feature is in Rolling Out phase - If you are an Office 365 for Enterprises customer, you have signed up for the First Release program, you will have the ability to get early access.

The Solution
The new solution provides the ability to discover sensitive data that may be in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. The solution looks very similar to the eDiscovery Center. What this solution is initially providing the ability to use 51 built-in sensitive security types. For instance SSN, Passport number, credit card numbers, etc. You will be able to identify the SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business locations to search. When items are found you can:
  • Preview the results.
  • Refine with complex query.
  • Export the results with a report and then remediate. Remediation would be anything from deleting the data, changing permissions around the data, check for false positives, etc.
  • Ability to save and re-execute the query.

The Details for Implementing the DLP Policy
Additionally here is a TechNet Article that explains the actual steps to use the new SharePoint Online DLP capability - As you see, the steps are same for using the eDiscovery Center. The great thing about this is the compliance officers do not need to be trained on a new solution, they will use what they already know to perform DLP operation.

Important Facts
Here are some important facts found out while reading this blog:
The Future
In the blog, the referred to the future. The important fact is this is not the only release. If you have been an Office 365 customer for a while now, you know that Microsoft is releasing new enterprise features and capabilities quickly. This is reflected in public roadmap. In regards to futures on SharePoint DLP:
  • They mention that they are building a capability to create policies that can automatically detect sensitive data along with taking an action once discovered, like quarantining or delete the data. I absolutely love this. SharePoint Online DLP will then have the same concepts that are built into Exchange Online DLP as data is going through transport rules.
  • They also mention they plan to create a unified policy experience for DLP across all of Office 365. This will allow a compliance officer to define a DLP policy that would apply to Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.