back to article Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER

With cloud storage rapidly becoming a commodity, Microsoft has taken the next logical step in the file-syncing bunfight, doing away with storage quotas altogether for paying customers of its subscription Office 365 offerings. Redmond began opening up the data-hosting sluices in June, when it gave every Office 365 subscriber …

  1. TwoWolves

    Cheap System Image Backup

    Is this the off-site backup solution I was looking for?

    Only thing stopping me is upload time. Though somehow I have a feeling my server connections would keep "dropping".

  2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge


    I suspect one of the limiting factors for unlimited space usage is upload bandwidth.

    1. John Tserkezis

      Re: Uploads

      "I suspect one of the limiting factors for unlimited space usage is upload bandwidth."

      I don't think it's going to matter, that is, "all you can eat" deals are designed to give you more than you could possibly eat, with the attraction of "unlimited" being a mere drawcard, not an actual offer.

      I did some sums some time back when the backup to cloud issue came up with an aquaintance who thought it a great idea.

      I worked out, with my current ISP, it would take about a year to get what I have now up there. That's based on my actual speed upload bandwidth (about 14Kb/s), my actual allowed longer term upload bandwidth (half of the max speed they give me), and my total data (about 7.5Tb or so), and the fact, I will not have my full upload bandwidth capability available for general use for the next year (or, assuming I don't piss off my ISP in the meantime...),

      Sending them a few drives would be a better proposition. Many cloud storage services offer this as a service, I'm willing to bet one of them is not Microsoft for this particular product.

      Ergo, you'll never eat what they're "selling".

      1. HandleOfGod

        Re: Uploads

        Upload bandwidth is a restriction - but it isn't a reason not to do it, at least not from Microsoft's point of view. After all, there are massive variations in the quality of internet connections so there will be plenty of people with access to much faster speeds than you.

        My own connection is is around 1Mb up (so around 100KB/s in practical terms). At that rate it would take me 3 months of continuous streaming to get all my data up. Clearly I am not going to do that so I send it up in bits and pieces, targeting the most important stuff first. As this is a not a business connection the most important stuff are pictures and videos since these are my memories and the things I'd miss most if the house burnt down.

        Of course all of my stuff is backed up to external drives which live at friends' houses so I'd still be largely okay but keeping them up to date is quite a faff so the idea of a big fat cloud storage account definitely appeals.

  3. JMiles

    Just as bitcasa does the opposite

  4. dan1980

    Cloud storage is indeed a commodity. The thing that is still missing, however, is something that can replace a domain-joined file server, with the ability to apply granular permissions flexibly.

    There are services out there that allow a measure of this but they are stand-alone and therefore not integrated with, say, an e-mail offering.

    Onedrive is of course integrated with Office 365 but does not function in this way - it's separate pools of storage for each user that they can then share with other users. Unfortunately, it's not very manageable from a central perspective. The only way to stop a user synchronising the data, for example, is to make the files/folders read-only.

    Which is great, but not super-useful. What if you want people to be able to edit files but just not to synchronise the whole lot? Yes, I realise if you edit it, it downloads but there should be a happy medium here!

    Likewise, the only way to prevent users from sharing files OUTSIDE the organisation is to disable it across the board! Super helpful, thanks.

    It's these kind of issues that have prevented many companies I know from ditching their on site servers.

    Sheer quantity of storage is no longer the issue.

    1. Matto in AUS

      Not taking anything away from your "OneDrive isn't very manageable" comments (because you're dead true), but in my mind the concept of the dept/branch file server is being replaced by Sharepoint Online libraries. They DO give you the very granular permissions of which you seek, maintain governance and retention policies, and generally do a lot more than a basic file server offers. We've migrated a few dept shares into SP/SPO, and it's actually working really well - better than you'd expect.

      Now, it's not a fully-baked solution. Not by a long shot. You've still got the sync issues, etc. And let's face it - the Onedrive For Business sync client is a pile of rubbish. Ask how someone with a 256Gb Surface Pro tablet likes their current 1Tb storage allocation (let alone unlimited), when the only sync option is "Sync Everything!!!". Imagine what that would do when there's an office desk re-org and 30 people come in on a Monday morning and all log into a different PC for the first time...

      I'm a big fan of all this stuff - I really am. But I just wish that instead of chasing sensationalist headlines ("UNLIMITED STORAGE!!!!!"), someone would take on the un-sexy job of fixing the sync client. Then we'd all be able to use the storage we've got, and the solution would be pretty awesome.

      1. dan1980

        @Matto in Aus

        Quite true and I have helped some clients move to this. But, that is not OneDrive and this news does not relate to SharePoint online, which provides 10GB + 500MB per user to be used in the manner - and with the benefits - you describe.

        This removal of the 1TB limit for OneDrive is nice and all but far less impressive than the news I want to hear, which is that OneDrive for Business has been 'fixed' so that it can now be used as a replacement for an on-site file server.

        SharePoint has it's benefits but it is NOT a direct replacement for a file server. Some people might say that it is better but that is completely subjective. It has extra features which are good if you use them but make the service more complicated than it needs to be if you don't.

        But, again, this announcement is about OneDrive and, as you say, better to "be able to use the storage we've got" than adding more.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You can select what folders to sync (go to OneDrive settings, unluckily it can't be done in the folder properties where it should be...), but the folders you decided not to sync "disappear" from your local system (you can access them through the web interface, though).

        It would be nice to have folders which gets synced, and folders for which documents are downloaded, modified, and the synced back "on demand", deleting the local copy - if you can't really modify then remotely.

        The problems are not only the 256/512GB Surfaces, but also phones which have even less storage - even SD cards may not solve storage space.

        But maybe this is just a way to allow you 1TB+ space, and ensure you'll never use it really.

  5. Talic


    So, have they also done away with the 20,000 file limit, where the app then silently stops syncing? How about the invalid filenames, which are valid in windows.. MS have a tool that let's you scan a folder to be sure it will sync ok. Why not build that into OneDrive? Why not use the same limits as their own OS?

    1. HandleOfGod

      Re: Unlimited...

      I'd be astonished if I don't have more than 20,000 files. And I looked elsewhere on the internet and there are people claiming to have 40,000-60,000 files and others claiming even more. I don't think a limit on file numbers is an issue.

  6. falconman

    If you can use it....

    I've tried to use my 1TB allowance and could never get anywhere near it, upload speeds are awful. Barely using 1/1000GB. I fear my disks will die of old age before I can finish backing them up.

  7. falconman

    So close and yet so far.......

    Using the all new 1,000GB onedrive reminds me of the days when 'Jetstart' was the flavour of broadband in New Zealand. Sure, you've got a Terabyte available but your disks will die of old age before they can upload their data to the cloud.

  8. HandleOfGod

    After lots of thinking I finally opted for an Office365 Home subscription. My other half had a very outdated copy of Office (2000) and her habit of carrying important work around on a flash drive was doing my head in. For my part the convenience of a large amount of cloud storage appealed hugely, simplifying or removing the need to keep offsite backups (stored at friends) up to date. I liked Dropbox and had used it for some time but the balance was tipped in favour of OneDrive by the Office option and the superior app for Android tablets (the Dropbox one is awful).

    However having bought the subs, installed the sync app on my PC and started uploading large amounts of files I discovered that actually the sync abilities of OneDrive are still pretty clunky and basic. Firstly, the client only scans for changes periodically so if you make changes away from your sync'd PC (e.g. phone, tablet, website etc) the changes don't sync locally until the client runs a scan, which can be 10 mins upwards. So no use if you've got multiple people working off the same file store. Contrast this to Dropbox, for example, where I can create a new folder through the web interface and in less than 1 sec I can witness the changes taking place on my local computer through Explorer. It's pretty much real time, and very fast. OneDrive can be 10 mins plus before it notices there is a change and is then very slow to apply it (another 2-3 mins just to make a folder or move some files).

    The second issue, and it's a biggie, is no block level sync. So if I made some minor changes to a 100MB spreadsheet (if I had one) OneDrive will then spend the next 20 mins uploading the whole thing again. Dropbox just syncs the changes and is done in a few seconds. Or to use a more real world example, updates to my Lightroom catalogue which then require the 220MB catalogue to upload again.

    Microsoft still have a long way to go refine OneDrive even to catch Dropbox, much less beat it. However I've made my choice and spent weeks uploading stuff now so I'll stick with it for now.

    1. Andy P 2

      Agree. OneDrive also has some issues with non-microsoft files e.g. can't cope with certain characters in filenames that UNIX / Mac can (a good example is that it can't backup a Mac Address book archive because of this). Doesn't support Mac OX X tagging (tags aren't synced). Doesn't support local LAN sync. Dropbox supports all these.

      In reality - I have both and use each one accordingly.

  9. Fihart

    Microsoft's whole business model.


    "However I've made my choice and spent weeks uploading stuff now so I'll stick with it for now."

    Mainly inertia which keeps us using their products.

    1. HandleOfGod

      Re: Microsoft's whole business model.

      "Mainly inertia which keeps us using their products."

      Maybe in some instances but not in my case. I've uploaded several hundred GB via a 1Mb upload to OneDrive now. It's taken weeks and required quite a lot of planning and hands on work to fit it into chunks of time when the connection is not needed for other things. The idea of binning it all and starting again is not one that grabs me.

      Then there's the money - I've already paid for a year of it, not to mention the electricity leaving systems running uploading stuff whilst I'm away, bandwidth chalked up on my DSL connection etc. The relative advantages of Dropbox are insufficient inducement to walk away now.

      I am signed up for a year with OneDrive and much will have changed by the time I have to make the choice to renew. For one, I know from the OneDrive forums that block level sync is part of the development path and may have arrived by then so the playing field may be more level but if it's not another game changer is the imminent arrival of fibre internet, making the process of uploading it all again somewhat less painful.

  10. tempemeaty

    Quick everyone give up you're non-cloud office software

    No? Okay. We'll use bribery. Here have infinite storage. Now will you? LOL.

    Personally I wouldn't use it. When Microsoft rebranded Hotmail to "Live" email service. It came with 20Gb storage and the promise those who got it that way could keep it if it changed. I then got it early on when it came out that way. At a later date I suddenly I found it reduced to 5Gb when it was only supposed to be new users sign ups getting it with that reduced storage size. Nope, I don't trust their fluidly adjusting storage limits.

    1. Neil B

      Re: Quick everyone give up you're non-cloud office software

      It is amazing how long some people will hold a grudge.

    2. Test Man

      Re: Quick everyone give up you're non-cloud office software

      Well here's an alternative view:

      I got SkyDrive way back when, with 25GB. I STILL have this, even when they reduced it. In fact, now I have 40GB. Microsoft have never reduced any storage size for me.

      So there.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    upload cost

    I don't get why people get so excited about cloud storage, "unlimited" or not, for home use. To upload a substantial chunk of data, even a few GB, takes me a night (yes, a _night_, because that's the traffic shaping and whatever other policies of broadband suppliers). Not to mention (oh, to mention), the cost of electricity to run a rig to upload the staff... over - what? - a month? By which time you'd want to upload updated data... Obviously, business line comes with different ratios and upload speed, but then, they probably also want much more data uploaded too....

  12. phuzz Silver badge

    I realise we're probably the only entity on earth that would care, but is there a linux client for OneDrive yet?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      None officially supported, AFAIK - you can still use the web interface.

      There's this one but it's still in development - of course like with any open source project feel free to contribute with code, tests, documentation, etc. etc.... or fork it and make your own....

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