Office 365

SharePoint Online simplifies storage management

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Mark Kashman (@mkashman) is a senior product manager on the SharePoint marketing team.

The journey to simplify the admin experience in Office 365 continues. Previously, we increased all OneDrive for Business users’ storage allotment to 1 TB. Along with this adjustment, we removed the OneDrive for Business quota management tab from the SharePoint Online admin center.

Today we are introducing a new storage model based on usage, making it easier to manage availability of storage across your SharePoint Online team sites. In addition, we increased the number of site collections limits to parallel and adjust the new usage model.

Let’s dive into the details.

The new usage model

The first thing administrators will notice is they reclaim a lot more SharePoint Online pooled storage. This is because the concept of reserved storage now only applies at the tenant level for SharePoint Online. For example, if you had a site collection’s storage quota set to 100 GB in the old model and were only using 20 GB, it now has a usage limit of 100 GB in the new model, and returns 80 GB back to the tenant storage pool. Site collections (other than OneDrive) no longer tie up blocks of reserved storage. Instead, only the actual storage used counts against total pooled storage.

How the new usage model applies to team sites and OneDrive for Business

How the new usage model applies to team sites and OneDrive for Business.

Auto versus Manual

The second thing admins will notice is the new Site Collection Storage Management toggle switch within the SharePoint Online admin center, under the settings tab. Auto enables hassle-free storage management, while Manual enables the admin to apply storage usage limits per site collection (excluding OneDrive).

Site Collection Storage Management toggle switch to select Auto or Manual highlighted

The Site Collection Storage Management toggle switch to select Auto or Manual.

New customers are set to Auto by default, with the ability to switch to Manual at any time. Auto enables you to auto-matically pull from your available SharePoint Online pooled storage for any and all of your site collections (more on pooled storage below). Your site collections only use what they need from the available pooled storage, automatically, up to whatever the current maximum system limit is per site collection—currently 1 TB.

Auto for Site Collection Storage Management highlighted

When you select Auto for Site Collection Storage Management, all site collections adhere to the auto-grow usage mode.

When the new usage-based storage model rolls out, all existing customers will be in “Manual” mode by default and can easily opt-in to Auto. Manual allows the admin to set usage limits per site collection. All previously configured storage quota values that existing tenants have in place prior to rollout will persist in the new model (under Manual), but be represented as storage usage caps.

manage storage for your site collections manually highlighted

If you manage storage for your site collections manually, site collections will adhere to individual usage cap limits.

Whether you select “Auto” or “Manual,” managing SharePoint Online quota is now worry free. You don’t have to worry about management overhead or “lost” storage that has been allocated but not used. Furthermore, this means you can create as many site collections as you want without being limited by whether there is storage available to allocate.

Site Collections limit, pooled storage and additional storage

Not only have we simplified storage management in SharePoint Online, but we increased the maximum number of site collections SharePoint Online supports per tenant. We’re announcing today that individual Office 365 tenants can now have up to 500,000 site collections (up from the previous limit of 10,000) and they all draw from the same pool of storage as described above.

I think I just heard a collective “500k, yay!” We’re excited, too.

Your total available tenant storage, which for every Office 365 business customer starts at 10 GB + 500 MB times the number of users,applies to storage available for your SharePoint Online team sites. This is separate from the default per-user OneDrive for Business storage space. And if you need more storage for your team sites, you can purchase unlimited additional storage right from within the SharePoint Online admin center at a cost per gigabyte (GB) per month.

To sum it all up …

You can now more easily manage storage quota for SharePoint Online team sites’ based on real usage, and forget about setting aside fixed amounts per site collection.

—Mark Kashman

Frequently asked questions

Q.  Which Office 365 plans have these SharePoint Online improvements?

A.  Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3, and E4; Office 365 Education A2, A3, and A4; Office 365 Government G1, G3, and G4; Office 365 Midsize Business will have this new storage model. The main caveats are that Office 365 Small Business comes with only one site collection and Office 365 Government plans currently have a 100 GB per site collection storage limit. 

Q. Does this announcement apply to Office 365 dedicated subscribers?

A. No. The Office 365 dedicated plans will not receive this same update because they are managed in a unique, isolated infrastructure.

Q. How and when will these new SharePoint Online admin features roll out worldwide?

A.  As with previous SharePoint Online features, these new changes will take a few weeks to completely roll out worldwide. Office 365 tenant admins will receive a message center post as we begin roll out. We are planning to begin roll out within the next two weeks. We, too, will update the Office 365 roadmap to move this feature from “In Development” through “Rolling Out” during roll out to “Launched” once all tenants have received the update.

Q. Can I move any of my users’ OneDrive for Business storage into pooled storage for my SharePoint Online environment?

A. No. OneDrive for Business storage is separate and cannot be combined for use with team sites.

Q. Do all user types contribute to the overall pooled storage calculation?

A. No. Kiosk and external users do not contribute to the overall tenant storage pool.

  1. I don’t this enabled in our tenant. What is the expectation around how long this should take to roll out to all tenants? Will there be a notification in the Message Center when this is enabled?

    I really wish those expectations would be set appropriately in the original post.

    • Hi Kevin,

      That was an intended FAQ that I’ll work on and add officially to above post FAQ section. Thanks for the call out.

      As with previous SharePoint Online features, this new change to the SPO admin center will take a few weeks to roll out worldwide completely.

      We are working with the message center team to trigger a mail to your tenant admin once your tenant has been enabled – in essence informing you with a link back to this post for more information about the feature. This is a part of the process that is improving as we move from Public Roadmap update to roll out.

      Mark (@mkashman) Kashman

  2. Will there be any notification system if we are enrolled in the Auto Increment of site collections? It would be nice if we would receive an email when site collections storage is being increased.

    • Hi Justin,

      Checking to see if I understand it correctly: you’d like to receive an email when storage is being increased while your SharePoint Online admin storage setting is set to “Auto.” Do I have that right? If so, when would you want to be notified? As documents and data are added to a site collection, it will automatically grow to that amount per what is needed – as users upload, create, etc..

      Just may need more info to answer best.

      Mark (@mkashman) Kashman

  3. Will I be able to see this if I cam using the simple admin setting?

    • Yes. The change exists within the ‘site collections’ tab of the SharePoint Online admin center – which persists even when you are in the simple UI mode. If you do not yet see the change, know that it takes a few weeks to roll out worldwide. See the answer I provided Kevin above for more details.

      Mark (@mkashman) Kashman

  4. Hi,

    I’m not quite clear on the Midsize plan increase. Has this increased to 500k as well?


    • No, midsized plans did not adjust. They can create up to 20 site collections. – Mark.

  5. You’ve increased the number of site collections which is great, but when can we see an increase from the 5,000 item limit within the site collection? Also increase OneDrive from the 20,000 limit please.

    • Hi RStyles,

      Which 5,000 item limit are you referring to? Might you be referring to the 5,000 item ‘view’ limit on a list? Can you review the “boundaries and limits” article for SPO: & the one for SP on-prem which describes some of the limits of the product that also apply to SPO:, and then let me know if you still have any questions?

      And the #OneDriveforBusiness team is working hard on numerous updates specific to the sync client, one item being able to sync > 20k files. Keep an eye out on this blog and the main OneDrive blog:

      Mark Kashman

      • Hi Mark,

        I believe RStyles is referring more to how that 5k limit stops you from syncing libraries down. Is that being worked so it can be removed or at least increased to the 20 like OFB?


        • Yes, both are being worked on. Currently there is a 20K sync limit for ODB and using the same sync client, there is a 5k item limit if syncing SharePoint document libraries. Once the client is updated, both ODB and Document Library sync limits will be raised.

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