Microsoft Adds Service Plan to Control Offline Synchronization of Lists

Nucleus Roll-Out Delayed

In June 2021, Microsoft published message center notification MC261538 to announce that the addition of Microsoft Nucleus to the OneDrive sync app. Nucleus is a sync engine for data-oriented information like Microsoft Lists and complements the differential synchronization that’s so effective for files. Users can add, remove, and update list items when working offline and Nucleus (or rather, Microsoft Nucleus.exe) synchronizes the changes with the cloud.

As often happens, Microsoft delayed the release of Nucleus. According to the latest update (July 9), roll-out starts sometime in August with a target completion in September 2021. At the time of writing, despite the presence of what seem to be required files on my PC, the update is not active in my tenant. At least, my lists do not display the syncing symbol. I’m sure things will start to work soon.

Microsoft Nucleus files on a PC
Figure 1: Microsoft Nucleus files on a PC

The Nucleus Service Plan

On August 11, Microsoft published MC277196 to announce the introduction of a Nucleus service plan to roll-out in September 2021 (Microsoft 365 roadmap item 68809). A service plan is a non-saleable license within a product (SKU) like Office 365 E3. The purpose of a service plan is to allow the licensing of specific features. In this case, the new service plan governs the ability of accounts to work with Lists offline and won’t cost anything additional for the plans Microsoft adds it to. Another recent example is the introduction of the Teams Pro service plan to enable Microsoft to restrict availability of certain high-end Teams features to enterprise SKUs.

When the Nucleus service plan is available, it will be listed in the set of features available to SKUs like Office 365 E3 and Office 365 E5. You will be able to disable access to Nucleus by removing the service plan from the set of features available to individual accounts. See this article for more information about how to remove a service plan from a set of target Microsoft 365 accounts using PowerShell.

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One Reply to “Microsoft Adds Service Plan to Control Offline Synchronization of Lists”

  1. FYI:
    There are also a couple of GPO settings to further restrict the sync capabilities of Microsoft Lists (Nucleus service), e.g. you can disallow syncing external lists. See message center notification MC261538 for further information.

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