OneDrive for Business Sync Improvements
Microsoft have announced that they are reviewing a new client for OneDrive for Business, your storage and sync medium to Office 365. There have been "a lot" of complaints (we complained at least 50 times, so god only knows how many complaints they actually received, 10's of 1000's we imagine).
What Is OneDrive for Business?
If you are not familiar with OneDrive for Business it is a very handy way to get your files in to the cloud, and to access those files quickly from your computer. It's a lot like Dropbox or Google Drive. The more clever side to it being that you can for example get on a flight/train/bus to a business meeting and access the files stored in OneDrive for Business locally on our computer without having to connect to the internet.
When you then reconnect to the internet the updates to the files are loaded to the cloud. If there are any changes made by colleagues during the time you were not connected to the cloud you will be notified and given a choice to merge, or keep a copy of your work. A very handy tool, especially for remote working.
So Where Does it Fall Down?
Reliability, in a word. The current client is based on Microsoft's Office Groove and has been for some time. It is prone to bugging out when you move files around, if for example you are having a bit of a "spring clean" of your old customer files and decide to drang and drop a lot of files in to a new "archive" folder. When I did this recently, my files were fine but my colleagues OneDrive for Business folders all had errors that could not be resloved.
So time to repair...but that didn't work...so time to clean the cache and start again (whilst noticing that 16gb of our harddrives' storage is taken up by the cache, aaaahhhh!!!). Frustratingly there is also a 5000 item limit which most people are unaware of (this is files + folders) for any one library, though you can have multiple libraries of course. Whilst generally all that is needed is some file structure planning it is a seemingly pointless limitation. Plus if you do accidentially go over that 5000 items limit...it can be a bit of a pain to sort out.
Our annoyance is that Dropbox can happily sync thousands of files without an issue, even OneDrive (the consumer version) is good as it uses a different technology, so why not Microsofts' business application?!
So whilst this does give us techies something to do and makes us look good when we fix it that's not really the sort of credit we are after. What we all want is a reliable sync system which flexes with the business needs. And preferably one that you don't need a degree in computer psychology to suss out.
What Are Microsoft Doing About IT?
Reuben Krippner, director, OneDrive for Business, introducing the new client in a video said:
“We heard your feedback on the sync experience loud and clear,” said “We’re delivering the next-gen sync client for both PC and Mac, and it’s based on the proven OneDrive consumer sync client.”
The new client is now in limited preview and adds OneDrive for Business Support to the existing (working) consumer client version. This should dramatically improve it's reliability. The new client will also support files of sizes up to 10Gb. Let's hope you have a fast upload to your broadband connection if you are thinking of storing those sizes of files in the cloud.
There are a number of OneDrive for Business mobile clients, many of which will be getting some new features. The Android app for example will allow individual files to not be kept from syncing. As for the rest we are unclear as to what features are going where.
The Crystal Ball
The only question is, will this be "rock solid" as promised? Well we expect a few bugs, but at least it looks like it is moving in the right direction.
07.02.2017 - We are now trialing the release candidate for the new next gen sync client. So far so good but still a way to go in our opinion. It has been pegged for release in March 2017 but we shall see.
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