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Cloud storage

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We are a new startup with 4 users, and are trying to be a cloud-only company, with just laptops and phones for our users. But we currently have a big problem. Where do we put our ~500GB and growing data archive?


As far as I have understood, SharePoint Online is meant to be the document archive (or the "file server") for Office 365. Is this a misunderstanding?


1. There is only ~11 GB of space shared among all users. Even my free SkyDrive has 25 GB.

But okay, let's say I purchase 500 GB of more storage for 665 NOK or 110 USD per month:


2. Synchronization is difficult. Online I can only upload 100 files at a time. Trying to upload a few GB of files with SharePoint Workspace causes it to work overload for hours. Using Windows Explorer and simply copy files online seems to work best. And there is the 250MB file size limitation.


3. The transfer speed is only 50-100 KB/s! It would take me months just to upload our data. And collaboration would be near impossible.


What is the solution for "file server" with Office 365?

Thank you!

All Replies
  • Hi Aleksander,

    >> As far as I have understood, SharePoint Online is meant to be the document archive (or the "file server") for Office 365. Is this a misunderstanding?

    SharePoint Online is more document management than file server. For each document you store in SharePoint you get a lot of value add such as versioning, multilevel recycle bin and full text search. While SharePoint Online can store all manner of documents and files you will find that certain files that are considered a security threat will be blocked.

    >> and there is the 250MB file size limitation

    That's correct, there is a hard limit file size of 250MB.

    >> 3. The transfer speed is only 50-100 KB/s! It would take me months just to upload our data. And collaboration would be near impossible.

    That depends on your connection speed. If you have the bandwidth then you can upload data much faster than that. Still, 500GB would take some time to migrate.

    >> What is the solution for "file server" with Office 365?

    For business documents SharePoint Online is an excellent solution. It can also be used as a file server replacement if you are willing to work around its restrictions on max file size and file types. For example, large files could be stored in a different cloud storage server like Azure, blocked file types can be zipped and stored in SharePoint, for example.

  • Hello, thanks for your answer.

    I have double checked that the maximum transfer speed to SharePoint Online is ~100 KB/s while our internet has 100 MBit upspeed. This means it will take approx 2 months to upload our data.

    Thank you for your suggestion of Azure. I'm trying to understand what it is, and (as is also the case with SharePoint Online) it seems quite complex. As far as I understand, the solution for "file server" would be the Binary Large Object or BLOB storage, which can be mounted as a network drive with Windows Azure Drive.

    The cost for this is 62,5 $ per month for 500 GB, which is cheaper than the SharePoint storage, so that's good. The only negative as far as I can see, is the complexity of it: "The Windows Azure Managed Library provides the CloudDrive class for mounting and managing Windows Azure drives. The CloudDrive class is part of the Microsoft.WindowsAzure.StorageClient namespace."

    Am I supposed to understand what this means? Is this an easy cloud storage solution to set up for my 4 users?


  • Hello,

    This is Justin with Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support.  Thanks for posting your response Myles.

    @Aleksander-  Thanks for your interest in SharePoint Online.  Myles has provided a bunch of good information.  There should be no upload speed restrictions to moving your files to SharePoint Online.  There may be some connection or bandwidth issues between the datacenters and your office, or maybe other factors like uploading large files or compressed files, which will need to be unpacked and scanned before posting to the site collection.  For the full list of features available with using SharePoint Online, check out the service descriptions, linked below.

    As far as Windows Azure goes, if the community does not provide you an answer, consider checking out the support page, also listed below.  Here you can ask a question on the forums for Azure or get help with billing, subscriptions, or quotas with the product.

    Thanks and Regards,

    Justin Ronan
    Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support

  • Hi,

    Well thanks for the replies. It seems clear to me that with SharePoint Onlines limitations and Windows Azure Blob Storage being aimed at an entirely different user scenario, Microsoft simply doesn't have a "file server" service to accompany Office 365.

    Perhaps Microsoft will rectify this during the autumn with the plethora of new services / applications being launched, but for now one is best served by using a third party.

    Thanks again.

  • Hello,

    As you recommended Windows Azure as a solution for our storage needs, I signed up to the free trial of Windows Azure to try it out. I couldn't use the Office 365 account, but had to use a private hotmail account which is a bit strange.

    Any way, I have created a storage account in the Azure management portal, which seems to create a BLOB url and access keys with which one can connect. After this I am stuck trying to find out how to mount the BLOB and using Windows Azure Drive. But it seems to me that access to this cloud storage area is generally only done programmatically and through complex coding only.

    So I give this up, concluding that Windows Azure Blob Storage is obviously not an actual normal solution for cloud storage needs.


  • Hi Aleksander. Try Cloudberry Azure storage explorer. They have a free version

  • Hello,

    Thank you for the hint about Cloudberry Explorer. However I have also discovered Gladinet Cloud, and their Team Edition seems to enable use of Windows Azure Blob Storage in a good way for a small team such as ours. Especially this function: "Publish any local or cloud folder as a team folder with access control". I believe this will transform Windows Azure Blob Storage into the "file server in the cloud" that Office 365 is missing.

    Prices, according to my calculations:

    500 GB BLOB storage = $ 60 / month

    4 users Gladinet Team = $ 32 / month

    Total: $ 92 / month


    Does this seem like a good solution to you guys?