Some Microsoft OneDrive for Business users to get unlimited storage

Wondering if Microsoft would make good on its promise of unlimited OneDrive for Business storage? Today you get the answer -- plus the debut of the next-generation sync client.

Just a week after trying to appease consumers angry over not getting their promised unlimited OneDrive cloud storage, Microsoft is updating its OneDrive for Business roadmap -- and providing answers about the amount of storage that OneDrive for Business users ultimately will be getting.

In October last year, Microsoft promised all OneDrive users, both consumers and business customers, ultimately would get unlimited storage.

So what's happening on the business side? Some business users will get the unlimited storage promised by Microsoft late last year, starting later this month.

In addition, Microsoft is starting to roll out the next-generation OneDrive sync client for Windows and Mac users starting today, December 16.

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OneDrive for Business users with a number of Enterprise, Government and Education Office 365 plans will be getting unlimited storage for individuals in organizations with more than five people. Office 365 Enterprise E3, E4 and E5; Office 365 Government E3, E4 and E5; Office 365 Education; and OneDrive for Business Plan 2 and SharePoint Online Plan 2 users all are going to be eligible for the unlimited storage offer.

Microsoft will start rolling out increased OneDrive storage to these users by the end of December. The rollout will start with moving these users from 1 TB to 5 TB per user. This phase should be complete by the end of March 2016, officials said.

This next point is important: Qualifying customers who want more than 5 TB of storage need to request it by contacting Microsoft support.

Office 365 Enterprise, Business and other plans that include OneDrive for Business won't get unlimited or increased storage. They will continue to get 1 TB of storage per user. They won't be able to get free unlimited storage, even though Microsoft officials promised they would.

"Overall, we have taken too long to provide an update on our storage plans around OneDrive for Business. We also recognize we are disappointing customers who expected unlimited storage across every Office 365 plan, and I want to apologize for not meeting your expectations. We are committed to earning your business every day by delivering a great productivity and collaboration service and improving our communication approach," said Jeff Teper, the head of engineering for OneDrive and SharePoint, in today's blog post.

The OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client (NGSC), which has been in preview for the past couple of months, is available immediately, starting today.

The unified client, which brings together consumer and business cloud storage management, provides selective sync, support for large files up to 10 GB in size and the removal of the current 20,000-file-sync limit. The first release doesn't yet support SharePoint document libraries; that is coming in a future release. In the interim, the new sync client will work side-by-side with the current sync client.

The new OneDrive for Business sync client is available for Windows 7, 8, and 10 starting today. (Windows 8.1 support is coming in Q1 2016, Microsoft officials said.) The Mac client for Mac OS X 10.9 and above will be available before the end of December 2015.

For even more details, check out the OneDrive for Business post.