OneDrive for Business and its Unlimited Storage

OneDrive Storage for All

The OneDrive for Business service description (13 May 2020) lays out how much OneDrive storage Microsoft makes available to users based on their license type. In a nutshell:

  • Frontline users (Office 365 F3):2 GB
  • Small to medium plans (like Microsoft 365 Business Premium): 1 TB
  • SharePoint Online Plan 1 and OneDrive for Business Plan 1: 1 TB
  • Enterprise E1: 1 TB.
  • Other enterprise plans and SharePoint Online Plan 2: “Beyond 1 TB, to unlimited

The “unlimited” tag is interesting because it implies that Microsoft will allow a properly licensed user to consume as much OneDrive for Business storage as they want, with the caveats that OneDrive “is designed to serve the needs of individual users” and “storage of data other than an individual user’s work files, including system back-ups and departmental and organizational level data, is not supported, nor is the assignment of a per user license to a bot, department, or other non-human entity.

Setting a Default Storage Quota for OneDrive

Documents, files, and photos can certainly occupy a lot of storage, but “unlimited” really doesn’t mean what normal human beings might think. It’s more like an all-you-can-eat buffet where the physical capacity of the human stomach will eventually impose a practical limit. OneDrive’s unlimited quota is practically limited by being doled out in chunks as users need storage.

When someone’s Office 365 account is provisioned and the account has a OneDrive license, the account is assigned the default storage quota set by the tenant. The quota can be set in the OneDrive admin center (Figure 1) or PowerShell.

Setting a tenant default for OneDrive for Business storage quota
Figure 1: Setting a tenant default for OneDrive for Business storage quota

The minimum default storage quota is 1024 GB (1 TB). As Figure 1 shows, you can increase it to 5120 GB (5 TB). You can go higher, but rather bizarrely, the OneDrive admin center doesn’t confirm that a new value is set, nor does it signal an error if you insert a higher value (like 10240 GB). Instead, perhaps because it doesn’t want to offend, OneDrive simply ignores the attempt to set a new storage quota and reverts to the highest possible value for the default (5 TB).

One thing to be careful about is that the OneDrive admin center uses gigabytes to set storage quotas while the Set-SPOTenant cmdlet uses megabytes. To set a 5 TB default storage limit in PowerShell, we run:

Don’t bother trying to go past 5 TB. OneDrive will blithely ignore your request and the limit will stay at 5 TB.

Assigning New Quotas to Existing Accounts

The default storage quota is assigned to new accounts. If the account doesn’t have a license which supports the assigned quota, OneDrive will automatically downgrade the available quota to the maximum allowed by the license. With that in mind, we can assign the new 5 TB storage quota to accounts like this:

To report on the current OneDrive storage use and quota, you could use a modified version of our Report SharePoint Site Storage script:

Moving Past Towards Unlimited

Five terabytes are nice, but it’s not unlimited. Possibly because of the bad experience of when OneDrive consumer supported unlimited storage (think of large movie libraries being uploaded), Microsoft forces tenants to go through support to have their storage boosted. You’ll have to:

  • Have at least one account in the tenant get within 10% of the 5 TB limit (being at 90% of quota is explicitly mentioned in the OneDrive service description).
  • Create a support request for OneDrive for Business through the Microsoft 365 admin center.
  • Tell the support agent that you want the quota increased from 5 TB to 25 TB.
  • Expect some backwards and forwards while Microsoft support digests the request. Point to the “unlimited” statement in the OneDrive service description and be politely insistent if necessary.

Eventually Microsoft will enable a storage quota increase behind the scenes. The increase enables a new 25 TB limit for all accounts, and you will be able to set the new limit by running Set-SPOSite to set a quota of 26214400 (25 TB).

If someone reaches 90% of 25 TB, a further support request will result in single-user SharePoint Online team sites with 25 TB quota.

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One Reply to “OneDrive for Business and its Unlimited Storage”

  1. I’ve been through this pain myself Tony. I’ve noticed that when MS Support put you to 25TB, the OneDrive Sync Client (Account tab) updates to show 25,600GB.

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