Updates to SharePoint Online: September 5, 2013

Updates to SharePoint Online: September 5, 2013

Microsoft revealed additional scalability improvements to SharePoint online, related to SkyDrive Pro and higher site collection and list boundaries.

In the Office 365 Blog today, Senior Product Manager Mark Kashman (@MarkKashman) announced more upgrades to SharePoint Online in Office 365.

These upgrades come quickly on the heels of last week’s “bigger” storage announcements, including:

  • Greater storage in every user’s SkyDrive Pro (25GB, up from 7GB, with options to increase to 50GB and 100GB)
  • Raised maximum upload size (2GB, up from 250MB)
  • Longer Recycle Bin retention period (90 days, up from 30 days)
  • Versioning on by default in SkyDrive Pro
  • The Shared With Me view

Last week’s updates were discussed in detail in the popular article, Office 365 Enhances SkyDrive Pro Capacity, Sharing, and Data Protection.

Earlier this week, Microsoft also announced that Exchange Online inboxes would be 50GB, up from 25GB.

Today’s announcements are straightforward and valuable for SharePoint Online users:

10,000 Site Collection Limit (Up From 3,000)

Office 365 Enterprise customers can now create 10,000 site collections. This includes all Enterprise (E1, E3, and E4), Academic (A1, A3, A4) and Government (G1, G3, G4) customers.

The 3,000 site collection limit was a significant architectural boundary for some companies, as site collections scope a number of very useful management controls.  Anyone who has seen my architecture talks knows that! <grin>

Now if we can just get Search by Content working in Office 365 to curate content across site collections.  That will happen soon… just a matter of when: It’s a leading “gap” between on-premises and online.

The site collection change doesn't affect Small Business customers (P1 and Premium, aka P2), who are still limited to one site collection, or Midsize Business customers, at 20 site collections. It bears repeating: Friends don’t let friends subscribe to P Plans (at least until you can migrate from P to E smoothly). 

Of course, this doesn't affect Office 365 Home Premium customers, who don't have access to SharePoint Online.  It is also not applicable to Office 365 Dedicated customers.

Exe and .dll Files Now Can Be Stored in Document Libraries

This is particularly helpful for enterprises that are using SkyDrive Pro as a replacement for My Documents.  Users typically aren’t interested in “separating out” the files they store in their My Documents folder! 

SharePoint Online still blocks certain other file types, however, as documented here. The list is getting smaller and smaller and now probably affects very few users—web developers, specifically—as most of the blocked file types are web application files.

There are several natural questions one has about security (malware) when one brings up .exe and .dll files.  Mark does a great job of answering them, so rather than regurgitate the information here, I point you to the end of his FAQ on his blog entry.

List Lookup Threshold: 12 Relations (Up From 8)

Many workloads attempt to push SharePoint closer to being a relational database--which it is not--but the List Lookup capabilities (along with connected web parts) give users a tool with which to create relational database-like solutions.

You can't create an unlimited number of lookup columns in a SharePoint list—it’s a threshold configured at the web application level on-premises.  In the cloud, the threshold has now been raised from eight to 12 lookup columns per list.

Bug Fix

This week’s announcement also mentioned that a bug related to the “Open With Windows Explorer” command in IE 10 on Windows 7 has been squashed.

Better Announcement

Kudos to the Office 365 team for further refinements to the information contained in this week’s announcement!  As far as I can tell, there are no major unanswered questions about this week’s improvements to Office 365.

More Coming

I am told that there are some very exciting announcements for new features and greater scalability for Office 365.  This cloud service is certainly not sitting still!

And I certainly hope and expect that the steady stream of improvements to Office 365 means that, as Microsoft tests and proves the limits of SharePoint, we will see greater scalability limits supported for on-prem scenarios, as many of the “boundaries” on-prem have not changed since July 2011.

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