Microsoft Beefs Up Cloud SharePoint With More Storage, Better Management


SharePoint is one of Microsoft's 16 separate billion-dollar businesses, and it's also been lucrative for its channel partners. Now the software giant is making improvements to the cloud-based version of SharePoint.

Microsoft is increasing the maximum file size that can be uploaded to SkyDrive Pro, its cloud-based storage service for enterprises, from 250 MB to 2 GB per file. This means SharePoint Online customers can work with big files like CAD drawings, video files and project documents, Mark Kashman, senior product manager in Microsoft's SharePoint marketing team, said last week in a blog post.

Microsoft is also letting customers store .exe and .dll. files in SharePoint Online. They've been able to do this with the on-premise version for some time, and now the two versions can work together more smoothly.

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"This change will eliminate a number of sync failures customers have seen due to unsupported file types," Kashman said in the blog post.

Microsoft is also throwing a bone to customers who get SharePoint Online as part of the Office 365 Enterprise bundle, as opposed to buying the standalone edition. They'll now be able to do up to 10,000 "site collections" or groups of SharePoint websites organized into a hierarchy, per tenant. The previous limit was 3,000 per tenant.

"This increase will enable greater flexibility for how you govern and allocate your SharePoint Online investment across your company," Kashman said in the blog post.

Microsoft is also extending the time that files will remain available in the recycle bins of SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint sites from 30 to 90 days, so customers can retrieve accidentally deleted files, Kashman said in the blog post.

With all these changes, Microsoft is closing a gap between SharePoint Online and the on-premise version and opening up SharePoint Online to more users, Matt Scherocman, president of Interlink Cloud Advisors, a Cincinnati-based Microsoft, told CRN.

The expansion of SkyDrive Pro is especially important to SharePoint users, as it lets them access information on a variety of mobile devices, allows them share it with third parties with no additional licensing fees, and provides critical backup for files on individual hard drives, Scherocman said.

"Customers want to support BYOD, but don't want to have company data on third party sites which are frequently enabled with personal credentials instead of business accounts," Scherocman said in an email.

Christopher Hertz, founder and CEO of New Signature, a Washington, D.C.-based Microsoft partner, says the extra storage is a big deal for small businesses. With its E1 Office 365 plan, he said, Microsoft is giving customers 80 GB of storage that is highly available due to the clustering technology built into Microsoft's cloud.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 11, 2013