Limiting SharePoint Storage for Teams

A Profusion of Teams Can Consume Storage

When Teams creates a new team, it provisions a SharePoint Online team site along with other resources like a shared notebook and wiki. All of this is goodness, unless you like managing SharePoint storage manually.

SharePoint Site Storage Management

By default, SharePoint Online uses a central pool of storage that all sites draw upon on an as-needed automatic basis up to a maximum of 25 TB per site. Sounds good, because who wants to keep a close eye on site storage quotas to adjust them whenever sites need more space to allow users to store documents and do other useful work. But the downside is that if you allow free creation of Office 365 groups and teams, the central pool can be absorbed quicker than you anticipate and force the tenant to buy more storage from Microsoft just to keep operations running.

Enterprise tenants get 1 TB of SharePoint storage plus 10 GB per licensed Office 365 account. The new SharePoint Online Admin Center makes it easy to see how much storage the tenant has and what sites are consuming most storage. You can also export details of sites to a CSV file to dice and slice the data as you want.

Tracking storage usage with the (new) SharePoint Admin Center
Tracking storage usage with the (new) SharePoint Admin Center

If you use Office 365 retention policies to make sure that documents are kept for specific periods, you’ll discover that more storage is consumed because SharePoint must keep copies of deleted files. In any case, most tenants are happy to leave SharePoint to manage site storage automatically, which is the default management setting for Office 365 tenants. You only need to change the Site storage limits setting to Manual in the SharePoint Admin Center if you want to control the storage allocation for individual sites.

SharePoint Online site storage management settings
SharePoint Online site storage management settings

Controlling Individual Site Storage

One reason why you might want to control storage for individual sites is when a tenant makes extensive use of Teams and you don’t want the sites created for teams to be able to grow to 25 TB. In this scenario, you can switch the Site storage limit setting to Manual and then:

  • Edit the storage quota for each site through the SharePoint Admin Center, or
  • Use PowerShell to set a storage quota for every site associated with Teams and then adjust the quota upwards as necessary for individual sites.

Given the number of sites that you might need to process, the second option (PowerShell) is best.

Setting Storage Quotas for SharePoint Sites with PowerShell

The only complication we face is that the cmdlets needed for the job are spread across three modules: Teams, Exchange Online, and SharePoint Online. Once you’ve loaded the modules and connected to the three endpoints with a tenant administrator account, the code to update sites is pretty simple:

  • Find all teams.
  • Find the SharePoint site URL for each time (already covered in a previous post).
  • Update the storage quota for the site.

Here’s some code to do the work. In this example, we set a 20 GB quota for each site with a warning limit at 98% of quota:

# SetTeamsSitesStorage.PS1
# Set the storage for the SharePoint sites belonging to Teams to a certain storage value
# Find Teams
Write-Host "Finding Teams in the Tenant..."
$Teams = (Get-Team -Visibility Public | Select DisplayName, GroupId)
ForEach ($T in $Teams) {
    $SPOUrl = (Get-UnifiedGroup -Identity $T.GroupId | Select -ExpandProperty SharePointSiteURL)
    If ($SPOUrl -ne $Null) {
       Write-Host "Setting SharePoint Site quota to 20 GB for" $T.DisplayName
       # Set storage value for SharePoint site
       Set-SPOSite -Identity $SPOUrl -StorageQuota 20480 -StorageQuotaWarningLevel 20070 }
    Else {Write-Host "Can't Process storage update for" $T.DisplayName "- Please check SharePoint site" -ForegroundColor Red}}}

After you’ve set the storage quotas for the sites owned by Teams, you can set the Site storage limits setting back to Automatic to allow SharePoint to manage storage for the sites that don’t belong to Teams.

Of course, the problem with any procedure like this is that you need to periodically rerun the code to deal with newly-created sites. To avoid reprocessing sites, you could update one of the 15 customized attributes available for Office 365 groups when you set the storage for a site and check if the attribute is set the next time the script runs.


For more on managing Teams with PowerShell, read Chapter 14 of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.

2 Replies to “Limiting SharePoint Storage for Teams”

  1. Back when the upload limit for files was 2gb the calculation for storage was 1TB + 1GB per purchased license. Then Microsoft changed the upload limit to 15gb and graciously changed the calculation to 1TB + 10GB per purchased license. We went from 7TB of Space to 77TB of Space. Fast forward to this month and with everyone moving to the cloud, more people using Teams, and anyone can create a team we are at about 55TB used and we no longer have the same amount of space. It’s more like 66TB. We are looking to buy more space but I was hoping Microsoft was going to change it’s calculation once they upped the upload limit to 100gb per file like they did in the past.

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