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Microsoft Cloud Data Storage

Microsoft Cuts OneDrive Storage Limits, Citing Abuse (onedrive.com) 330

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft previously offered Office 365 subscribers unlimited space on their OneDrive cloud storage platform. Now, the company has announced that it's reducing the limit to 1 TB, citing abuse from a small number of users, some of whom dropped 75 TB worth of data in Microsoft's cloud. In addition, Microsoft is cutting the size of their limited storage plans. They used to offer 100 GB for $2/month and 200 GB for 4$/month. Those plans are being replaced with 50 GB for $2/month (existing subscribers will get to keep their plans, for now). Microsoft is also decreasing the amount of space users get for free from 15 GB to 5 GB, and discontinuing the 15 GB camera roll bonus. These changes will roll out in "early 2016," and users will have up to a year to get down under the new caps.
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Microsoft Cuts OneDrive Storage Limits, Citing Abuse

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  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi@noSPAM.smokingcube.be> on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @02:51PM (#50857623) Homepage

    Don't advertise as unlimited if uploading 70TB of data is too much. It's called false advertising and is against the law in European countries. Sadly, the US doesn't have good consumer protection laws.

    • by Sowelu ( 713889 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @03:09PM (#50857811)

      I dunno, it's hardly false advertising to say "this policy isn't working for us, we're changing it going forward, but you can keep that extra storage for 12 months as compensation". Because that's what they're doing. Is it false advertising to ever change what plans you choose to offer?

      • It is false advertising to say it's unlimited and then institute limits on the existing contracts (accounts).

        You can't one sided make changes to agreed to terms and services.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It is false advertising to say it's unlimited and then institute limits on the existing contracts (accounts).

          You can't one sided make changes to agreed to terms and services.

          No, it's clearly in the terms and conditions "we can change anything we want anytime."....

        • by radiumsoup ( 741987 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @03:51PM (#50858249)

          It is false advertising to say it's unlimited and then institute limits on the existing contracts (accounts).

          Yes, but that's NOT what Microsoft is doing. They are letting people know, well in advance, that their terms are changing, and customers are given a year to either accept these new terms or find another service.

          You can't one sided make changes to agreed to terms and services.

          Of course you can, if the original agreed upon terms say that you can:

          "7. Updates to the Services or Software, and Changes to These Terms.
          a. We may change these Terms at any time, and we’ll tell you when we do. Using the Services after the changes become effective means you agree to the new terms. If you don’t agree to the new terms, you must stop using the Services, close your Microsoft account and/or Skype account and, if you are a parent or guardian, help your minor child close his or her Microsoft account or Skype account."

          And...

          "c. Additionally, there may be times when we need to remove or change features or functionality of the Service or stop providing a Service or access to Third-Party Apps and Services altogether. Except to the extent required by applicable law, we have no obligation to provide a re-download or replacement of any material, Digital Goods (defined in section 14(b)(v)), or applications previously purchased. We may release the Services or their features in a beta version, which may not work correctly or in the same way the final version may work."

          source: https://www.microsoft.com/en-u... [microsoft.com]

        • I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.
        • Of course you can. Businesses change their terms of service all the time. You're not entitled to endlessly exploit any business that has set unprofitable terms, so needs to change policies.
          • In the US you probably can. In the EU EULA's like that haven't been upheld. In the EU you can't one-sided change any contracts even if the contract says you can. If you want to change contracts, both parties have to agree and you can't discontinue a contract outside it's terms by forcing someone to agree to new terms before continuing service. Hence most EULA's have to be accepted again when terms change however some won't allow you to continue if you don't accept them which is illegal on both sides of the

          • Of course you can. Businesses change their terms of service all the time. You're not entitled to endlessly exploit any business that has set unprofitable terms, so needs to change policies.

            That is not in question. The question is should companies that knowingly advertise a product or service be obligated to pay a penalty for changing said product or service after the customer has paid for it. As I recall, Office 365 was a subscription up for up to four years. I am fine with Microsoft's terms of service allowing changes as long as they offer a full refund of any unused portion of the subscription. Offering to allow the customer to disagree with the changes and only giving them the option o

        • You can't one sided make changes to agreed to terms and services.

          Well, don't forget, in the US the EULA is magical.

          It basically says "we can change damned near anything, you can't, we can do anything with your data, if you don't like it piss off and stop using the service -- and if you really don't like it and won't piss off, you agree to an arbitration procedure of our own choosing which you definitely won't like".

          Except for things which couldn't possibly be enforceable in a contract, corporations can do a

      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        I dunno, it's hardly false advertising to say "this policy isn't working for us, we're changing it going forward, but you can keep that extra storage for 12 months as compensation". Because that's what they're doing. Is it false advertising to ever change what plans you choose to offer?

        If they advertised unlimited storage with no restrictions or time limit, and someone spent considerable time (and internet bandwidth) to upload 75TB of data, then does indeed seem like false advertising to some back later and say "Oh, hey, you know when we said unlimited? Well, we meant "with limits", so you have to move your data somewhere else".

        Surely someone at Microsoft marketing has a dictionary and could have looked up the word "unlimited" before advertising that storage was "unlimited", and I'm cert

        • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @04:14PM (#50858451) Journal

          They advertised unlimited and provided unlimited, now they're warning everyone it's not unlimited, and in a year will stop providing unlimited. There's no way you can twist that to be false advertising.

          It's always annoying what a company changes a product in a way you don't like, or raises prices for the same thing, but that has nothing to do with false advertising. Companies that do that excessively are good to avoid, of course, but products do evolve over time.

          • It's definitely anti-competitive which MS is restricted of doing in the EU. You can't just offer unlimited until you get the market share or force competition out and then change terms.

            • Luckily for MS it is no longer a monopoly thanks to Google and Apple.

              Also there is no way that MS is anywhere close to being the market leader in the cloud storage market...

            • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

              The sad thing is that this aspect of the situation is the only part of it that could even potentially lead to punishment. Us peasants don't have any power to sue over Microsoft's fraud. Large corporations that were put at a disadvantage by Microsoft's lies still have standing to sue.

              Basically, suing for fraud and false advertising is reserved for "corporate competitors only".

      • I dunno, it's hardly false advertising to say "this policy isn't working for us, we're changing it going forward, but you can keep that extra storage for 12 months as compensation". Because that's what they're doing. Is it false advertising to ever change what plans you choose to offer?

        I kinda think it is unfair to advertise this platform as a backup and they severely limit it's abilities to be that backup. People will switch to one drive for that amount of space. that's some switchable space and then to reduce unlimited back up to 1TB with 12 months to find an alternative solution.. that's almost cruel. With the era of home videos getting bigger and bigger. More and more legitimate people are using that large amount of space. This isn't just a crew of nerds storing their DC++ porn on One

    • Slashdot is the one calling it abuse. Microsoft said that a small number of users using 75+TB have been impacting their ability to offer service to the vast majority of customers, so they are imposing a limit after a 1 year grace period, and offering a prorated refund to anybody who feels that 1TB is not enough to justify an Office 365 subscription.
    • Don't advertise as unlimited if uploading 70TB of data is too much.

      Exactly. The whole incident did give me a good laugh. They offered a service, then complain and call it "abuse" when a customer uses the service as it was advertised.

      Hopefully the "offenders" go to the trouble to get a refund from Microsoft.

    • Don't advertise as unlimited if uploading 70TB of data is too much. It's called false advertising and is against the law in European countries. Sadly, the US doesn't have good consumer protection laws.

      Actually the US generally does have good consumer protection laws, but it's not that simple here. First, someone would have sue and it would have to be someone who actually got impacted by the change. US courts don't like it at all when you sue and you're not someone who's been victimized, so you can't sue just because you don't like the changes if you weren't a user who "abused" the old lack of limits. Then literally anything at all can happen when it goes to court. If you get a jury trial all bets are

      • by xaxa ( 988988 )

        That's quite a long paragraph for a good system of consumer protection laws! Although the problem sounds like enforcement.

        EU countries tend to have an official regulator (either an industry group or the government). The regulator can handle complaints made to them, or perhaps act without a complaint.

        I know the UK best, so I'll give two examples.

        "Trading Standards" (local government) will challenge businesses with false measurements, inaccurate ingredients on food etc. This can end in court or jail for a wi

    • US consumer protection laws aren't much more than suggestions, unless the feds want to get to a particular company for whatever reason.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @02:52PM (#50857635)

    Claiming you are offering some very large resource, then pulling that away in short order is REAL abuse.

    If the number of people "abusing" the system (with only 75TB of data) then why couldn't Microsoft have just absorbed those users? That's only 75x the current limit, are the number of users of the system in the mere thousands?

    I almost signed up with them to upload a few TB of photos/video I've taken over the years as an online backup. Good thing I didn't go with Microsoft!

    • I ended up popping down some money to get 100gb of storage with Google. I'm at about 25gb at the moment, and it only costs me about $1 a month.

      • https://aws.amazon.com/glacier... [amazon.com]

        Amazon Glacier comes out pretty cheap for backups too.

        I'm running 600GB+ for $4.50 a month.

        • That's probably what I'm going with now (it's what I was thinking of originally) now that they have the Data Suitcase to load it up. Wasn't relishing the thought of transmitting several terabytes over my cable connection.

    • with only 75TB of data

      Only 75TB? That seems like an awful lot for a home user. A stack of 75 1TB hard drives would be taller than you.

      • with only 75TB of data

        Only 75TB? That seems like an awful lot for a home user. A stack of 75 1TB hard drives would be taller than you.

        Yes, but a stack of 75TB Libraries of Congress would be shorter - since we're stating useless observations.

      • 75Tb is a $4,000 array for the house.

        I know, because we have 10Tb filled and I am looking at putting one together.

        It's not really as much as you think, a few dozen good TV series in HD, a few hundred HD movies, add in music and storage for 4 people. I can easily see us using 30Tb. If we were using Micro$oft cloud for storage of backups we could easily exceed 75Tb of backup data.

        Personally, I dont trust there OS or there cloud.

        • by mjm1231 ( 751545 )

          It's not really as much as you think, a few dozen good TV series in HD...

          Sure, but at the rate they are produced, it will be decades before you have to worry about that.

      • by RatBastard ( 949 )

        Who the hell has 75TB of data, anyway? What are these people doing, torrenting every movie they see?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @03:29PM (#50857989)

      If the number of people "abusing" the system (with only 75TB of data) then why couldn't Microsoft have just absorbed those users? That's only 75x the current limit, are the number of users of the system in the mere thousands?

      They probably could have, but the FAQ linked from TFA indicates that they're making these changes because they're not in the backup business, they want people to use OneDrive for collaboration and such.

      From the FAQ [onedrive.com] (emphasis mine)

      Why are we making changes?

      Since starting to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average. Instead of focusing on extreme backup scenarios, we want to remain focused on delivering high-value productivity and collaboration experiences that benefit the majority of OneDrive users.

      So, the service was being used in ways that they didn't anticipate and that they don't want to support, so they're changing it, and giving you a year to make other arrangements. There are a lot of reasons to hate Microsoft, but that seems perfectly reasonable to me.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        Mod up AC - very informative.

        It also points out the technical flaw in MS's decision. If the "abusers" are filling up that space with multiple backups, just handle that case. Backups are almost never read again. Facebook deals with very-infrequently accessed data by storing it in drives that are powered off. When the data is needed the drive is spun up (access to photos that no one has accessed in quite some time will simply fail to display them, but try again in 5 minutes and they're there). MS could j

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If a service offers something, and use make use of that feature... how is that abuse?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @02:53PM (#50857645)

    How would they know about "entire movie collections" being stored?
    So very comforting!

    • by Higaran ( 835598 )
      What else would add up to 75TB? That is a shit load of personal data.
  • by itsme1234 ( 199680 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @02:55PM (#50857683)

    They are citing abuse over 1TB but are cutting those having 15GB. Go figure...

    Remember when Skydrive had 25GB free?

    Half the space of Gdrive for the 1.99 plan ... that will go well.

    Users will have up to a year to get under the new caps? Like how, once January 2016 comes you will only be able to delete stuff. Sure, they won't nuke your whopping 15GB of data but still you won't be able store/share/change anything once you are over the top...

  • If not, sorry Microsoft, you don't get to whine if someone uploads 75 Tb to your unlimited free storage service. In fact, in some countries this would qualify as false advertising and deemed illegal.

    • I don't see any whining anywhere.

      Microsoft tried something and it didn't work as they expected.

      At no point did they limit the people uploading 75TB of data and they are giving everyone plenty of time to adjust to the changes in pricing.

      Worst case is you can call it a "bait and switch" move.... but really, its not like you are locked in to using OneDrive to store you stuff.... There is a LOT of competition in this area.

      I too am affected by this. I have 200GB of OneDrive storage and my cost will likely go up

  • "We recently noticed a huge spike in cloud usage and got real excited. With pecker-in-hand we began perusing what we expected to be millions of nudes and selfies, but instead found full-blown DVD collections and other crap we're not interested in. As punishment for not providing us with sexy nudes, we have decided to just lower the cap down. Too bad, so sad."
  • When the cost of storage is going down they put the prices up. Maybe instead of OneDrive they should call it HalfDrive. Thanks MS but I think I'll stick with my Dropbox.

    Yet another failed attempt to find a home in the post Gates era. Epic fail.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @03:14PM (#50857857) Homepage
    ive worked for several companies that do this shit to keep up with, usually, Google. They unveil unlimited email, and then 2 years later accounting shoots through the roof with the amount it costs them. upper management is baffled as to why this is so expensive, and ops then spend 6 months carving away at spam accounts until things return to normal/affordable.

    What microsoft doesnt understand is that Google does not operate in the traditional weasle-word sense of "enterprise grade." while youre purchasing shiny new netapps, theyre using off the shelf commodity hard drives modelled by their own statisticians to predict failure. they dont repair arrays or disks, they dont have to worry about memory failures. anything that dies gets chucked, replaced, reprovisioned, and brought back into the fold as if nothing ever happened. this free storage model works for them because the very same ecosystem microsoft fostered and is now constrained by, is not part of what Google has intentionally designed.
  • Well, there goes my onedrive subscription.

    I personally wasn't using 75TB, but I was up around 4TB - I got the OneDrive subscription to keep an updated mirror of my large storage RAID which has about that much space.

    With a limited of 1TB I no longer have need of their services. Newsflash: if you advertise unlimited, people will use the feature as such. Nobody expects infinity, but what is considered extreme usage by you may well be considered normal by some of your users.

  • My GF's phone provider advertised "unlimited" and in the same ad mentioned "1 GB data". IMHO, it should be illegal to advertise "unlimited", since there's no such thing.

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @03:22PM (#50857927) Journal

    This has been going on for years. Companies offer unlimited service, and then a hand full of customers try to see how far they can take it. You would think that they would have some standard boilerplate specifying something to the effect that while there is no specific limit, they reserve the right to cap accounts that are at or near the top of usage. I imagine these things are a typical bell curve with a long tail. I think clipping the crazy long tail of users who are using 100,000 more resources than average is perfectly legit. The lawyers need to put their heads together and come up with a commercial definition of "unlimited" that 99.9% of us can live with. The 0.1% who think they have a right to store 70TB for nothing are just as much dick-heads as anybody else.

    • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @03:45PM (#50858175) Journal

      Unlimited, as a word, has a meaning. That meaning becomes meaningless if you change the definition simply because someone fully tests the the terminology.

      The point being, "Unlimited" is a great marketing term, but will cause issues in practicality. Do not use it if you can't fathom people pushing the limit towards infinity.

      The lawyers need to put their heads together and come up with a commercial definition of "unlimited" that 99.9% of us can live with.

      No, they don't. Marketing droids can say "We offer 'nearly unlimited*' storage" and then define what "nearly unlimited" actually means. e.g. "*Nearly Unlimited = 25 TB" (or whatever they want to define it as)

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        Exactly words need to have meaning. Unlimited means exactly that and should. Therefor no business should really be offering anything unlimited ever. Generally 'unlimited' and basic economics are at odds.

        There no good reason why Microsoft could not have just said 'up to 100TB of storage - more than most will ever need!' I suspect that would have been just fine for them too. I would be Microsoft is correct in that most of the 75+ TB users are probably morons who just wanted to see if there was an upper l

      • Everybody knows there are limits to how literally you should take things. :)

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @03:23PM (#50857943)
    Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will be free with no monthly or yearly charges. Is Microsoft going to renege on that also?

    .
    Why should anyone believe them when they say "no"?

    • Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will be free with no monthly or yearly charges. Is Microsoft going to renege on that also?

      Actually they only said Windows 10 would be free for existing Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 machines for up to a year. Users that don't already have Windows (or a recent enough version) will have to buy retail copies.

  • I would really like to see the option to purchase more than 1TB of storage.

    I get that they can't offer it for free, that's fine. But we store the videos that we take with our phones on OneDrive, and that adds up quickly.

    The phones even auto-upload all photos and videos taken. Right now, our video folder is about 700GB. This is not movies, or DVR content, or porn, this is home videos taken with a camera or cell phone.

    That number will pass 1TB by the end of next year.

    If I could pay some reasonable amount,

  • I posted this back when Wuala shut down. Seems relevant again just a few months later.

    I've been using Sync.com [sync.com] for the past year. They've been sort of in beta but releasing features. 5GB free.

    SpiderOak [spideroak.com] is decent but they recently dropped their free plan, so not sure what's going on there.

    MEGA [mega.co.nz] was great but Kim.com said last week in Wired [wired.co.uk] that the company is run by criminals

    Tresorit [tresorit.com] is good but expensive. Maybe that's why they've been around so long.
    Bitcasa [bitcasa.com] pulled a Wuala last year and closed down
  • I promise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @03:39PM (#50858117)
    to cut back my zero useage of one drive from zero bytes to -0 bytes.

    Seriously folks

    This

    is

    the

    Goddamned

    Cloud!

    Here today, and vanished into blue sky tomorrow.

  • I know I'm missing some from this list but:

    Windows Live Mesh (discontinued)
    Windows Live Folders (Renamed to Windows Live SkyDrive
    Windows Live SkyDrive (Renamed to SkyDrive)
    SkyDrive (Removed features and renamed to OneDrive
    OneDrive (Removed groups, reduced storage)

    Honestly, with their constant failures and reduction of features, why anyone would trust Microsoft with any online services I don't know.
  • While using 75T (I have maybe a 100GB, mostly photos and podcasts in iTunes, of which the Apple Events probably consume most space) is insane, if it's advertised as "unlimited" chances are that some people are using it to that extent - who could have foreseen that, in all honesty?
  • Microcenter gave me a free 32GB thumb drive just for showing up in their store. 5GB is getting into "Why bother?" territory. That's so little storage that even people who just casually take photos and upload them to the cloud are going to bump into the limit in relatively short order. It looks like Microsoft is basically killing off the service by making it worse than the competition. They already started on this when they dumped the OS integration they had in Win8 and made Win10 users go through the ap
    • OneDrive is not meant to be a stand alone product. It is meant to integrate their Office 365 offerings by having a centralized storage location.

      I am sure that Microsoft would rather you use a dedicated storage service like Dropbox if you are not going to buy into their ecosystem.

      Also, while 5GB is not a lot, it is special-purpose storage. Putting things there gives you several benefits that just storing those things on local media cannot provide. It is not meant to be a place for every piece of information

  • " a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings"

    Not really cool to have them checking out what you are storing. Glad I let my free sub expire.
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:16PM (#50858881)

    75 TB is kind of a lot of data by many standards, but I would not have expected it to be super meaningful by Global Evil Empire Scale standards.

    My old Compellent certification books list an SC8000 controller as supporting 5 SC280 fully configured enclosures, for a total of 1.6PB raw in about 30U. They always talk about these data centers being extremely vast, so I would expect that storage would be approaching exabyte scale.

    So I'm guessing that device capacity isn't the actual problem but instead its some kind of migration/load balancing/operation issue that makes user "blobs" of 75TB problematic.

  • by jandjmh ( 66714 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @07:58PM (#50859931) Homepage

    I just signed up for 365 for business. I supposedly get a 1 TB OneDrive account with it. Sounds great, until you try to use it. I have a pretty solid business cable modem internet account. Reliably 50/10 mb/s.
    Three days ago I dropped an existing folder that had about 60 GB of content in roughly 36,000 files into the OneDrive folder on my desktop PC.
    As of this moment, less that 50% has synced to the cloud, after more than 72 hours.
    Files are uploading at about 350kb/s at best, with lots of pauses..
    There are no preferences in the OneDrive client that allow me to tell it to go ahead and use more bandwidth.
    Upload rates to my Google Drive on the same computer can saturate my local upstream, 30 times faster than OneDrive.
    So I was searching on "slow OneDrive" and found that the very slow upload is universal - and universally despised.
    The same searches also revealed something that is not at all clear when you sign up for Office 365: there is a hard limit of 20,000 objects (files+folders).
    For my files, with an average size of about 1.7 MB, the maximum I can store is 34 GB, about 3% of the advertised terabyte.
    I feel cheated ...
    And I now know the folder I wanted to upload has too many items. I'm not sure what I am going to do. The whole point of the OneDrive was to make a complete set of some business files on my desktop available to my laptop while traveling. Yes, I know lots of other ways to do this, but since I wanted the Office 365 account for mail hosting in any case, the OneDrive space was a nice bonus. Except it is not really usable at all, and that is very frustrating.

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