OneDrive for Business: those pesky limits and how you overcome them

March 17, 2016

Whether it’s down to time and place, educational opportunities or rotten bad luck, we often come up against limits to what we can do and when we can do it. On the face of it, that doesn’t sound like a particularly positive notion to publicise. However, we often only discover our limits when we attempt to go beyond them. And it is this ambition and motivation to continually go beyond our limits that keeps us progressing and innovating.

Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business is as wide spread as any sync ‘n’ share solution that you’re likely to find in the world of corporate collaboration today. The product is a good example of something that has continuously looked to improve.

However, it has some glaring OneDrive for Business limits. So in today’s post we’ll take a look at what makes OneDrive for Business a popular choice for many, while also highlighting those rather infuriating limits associated with the platform, and various solutions that’ll help you take it further and overcome the pesky OneDrive for Business limits.

Omnipresent and powerful

OneDrive for Business is founded on the idea of providing individuals a secure place to save and locate their documents so that they can be worked on – individually or collaboratively – from anywhere, synced across networks and on a full range of mobile devices. Microsoft pitch OneDrive for Business very much as the modern incarnation of ‘My Documents’, but with the added abilities to share content as needed.

OneDrive for Business limits

Are you sitting comfortably? Now I’ll begin…

You may not know this but there are actually two different OneDrive for Business variations: OneDrive for Business and OneDrive for Business Next Generation (NG). They are essentially two different sync clients (the software that runs on your PC). OneDrive for Business ‘old generation’ syncs both the online component of OneDrive for Business (accessed through the browser) and SharePoint Team Sites. However, the OneDrive for Business Next Generation sync client only does the first part of that equation.

This distinction is important. Microsoft recommends Team Sites for large scale sharing of documents. Think the Sales department, or any big project with hundreds if not thousands of files. OneDrive for Business storage space is intended as a more personal solution. Files can be shared with others, but Microsoft recommends this is done on more of a case by case basis. Find more on their advice here.

So to sync Teams Sites you need the old client software. To sync OneDrive for Business files, with the latest features, you need the Next Gen client. Microsoft explains all here.  

OneDrive for Business Limits as opportunities

In practice though, OneDrive for Business has some pretty big limitations. Despite its muscle, there can be issues related to the operational flow of the platform. Namely:

  • File storage space limits
  • Syncing issues
  • Non-compatibility with SharePoint 2007 or 2010
  • Team Sites vs. OneDrive for Business

File storage space

In the previous OneDrive for Business sync client space was set at 2GB space and 5000 file limit after which no more new files could be added. That has since changed: OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client has a new limit for files set at 10GB with a 20,000 file limit. This may seem like a lot, but remember, this is all in your personal space.  This improvement doesn’t apply to the Company Team Sites. They are still locked down at 2GB/5000 files.

Syncing issues & Team Site file barriers

This can be the most infuriating issue related to OneDrive for Business, the way it syncs offline. The reasons for syncing problems are difficult to understand and sometimes impossible to predict, but as is ‘Sod’s Law’ they usually happen why you can least afford them (we’ve previously written about this – read the full post here). OneDrive for Business Next Generation sync client doesn’t let you select team site files to synchronise. The previous generation sync client does, but running both at the same time is counter-intuitive. What is likely to happen—if we believe Sod’s Law—is you’ll be running the wrong sync client at the most inconvenient time!

Non-compatible with SharePoint 2007 or 2010

If you are still using these previous versions of SharePoint, OneDrive for Business won’t work. Hey don’t feel sensitive about this issue, or think that you are alone. Again, Microsoft have another website outlining and identifying this as an issue.

Some alternatives that bear thinking about

There are ways to overcome the OneDrive for Business limits, with internal and external solutions. If you’ve been dealing with disgruntled colleagues moaning about the confines of the current platform, these fixes should help.

Internal solutions

Retrain staff

Keeping staff in the loop is generally a pretty good idea whenever new systems or tools are being implemented – as well as ensuring everybody is ‘on the same page’. For optimal use of OneDrive for Business, training staff to overcome the aforementioned limits is advisable. For example, making sure everyone knows the file names that are not supported can help solve syncing problems down the line.

External solutions

Alternative sync ‘n’ shares

Box and Dropbox are both useful alternatives as far as sync and share platforms go; however, by using them you are moving your users at least one step outside the Microsoft universe, which is counter-intuitive from a productivity and collaboration point of view – nor is it cost effective to purchase extra solutions that add to your monthly outgoings. One of the main benefits of having OneDrive for Business within the Office 365 family is that everything you need for optimal productivity is right in front of you. If you go with Box or Dropbox, you will be forced to buy storage space with them when you already have that included in your Microsoft package.

There must be an easier way?

This is where Easier 365 can ‘change the game’ and overcome OneDrive for Business limits and live up to it’s potential. Fitting perfectly with Office 365 and SharePoint (including the older 2007 and 2010 versions), it enhances your SharePoint/ Office365 experience by allowing full offline sync without restrictions or limits.

Using Easier 365 you won’t have to worry about crashes or other mishaps even with extremely high volumes of data. What’s more, there are no file space limits, or related syncing issues. Easier 365 is multi-threaded and has the power to work easily with the largest databases, while giving you fine grained control and local versioning), so you can sync, share, and work together on the same documents without confusion or frustration.

Sounds like it could help you? Start your free trial today or get in touch and we’ll answer any questions you may have.


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