New storage limits for U-M Google now in effect

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University of Michigan community members may notice a change in the amount of data they can store through their U-M Google accounts, but most users are not expected to have to reduce storage under the new limits. 

Unlimited cloud storage is no longer an industry standard, as the model is unsustainable for companies. As such, Google decided in 2021 to remove unlimited storage, including for Google Workspace for Education domains, a change for all educational institutions using this plan.

The storage limits for university community members who use U-M Google took effect Jan. 16.

All active U-M affiliates will receive 250 gigabytes of storage, while alumni and retirees will receive 15 GB to use across all U-M Google services, including Google Drive, Mail and Photos.

The new storage limits are expected to directly affect less than 3% of all active faculty, staff and students, and less than 10% of alumni and retirees. All active affiliates — faculty and emeritus, staff and students — will have at least a year to get under their storage limit. Alumni and retirees will have until Aug. 1 to get under their storage limit.

Information and Technology Services, in collaboration with Michigan IT community leadership and various campus advisory groups, made the decision about the new storage limits after careful consideration. 

“ITS is here to serve you and will ensure that you are supported as we all work together to make these changes,” said Ravi Pendse, vice president for information technology and chief information officer. “I am grateful for your understanding and partnership as we transition to a more sustainable Google storage model for the university community.”

Users can visit the Google Storage Project site for more information and a timeline through April 1, 2024, to help empower them to manage their storage.

(Note: This article has been updated from its original version to clarify the timetable for people to meet the new storage limits.)

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Comments

  1. Ian Hiskens
    on January 16, 2023 at 12:51 pm

    My U-M Google-based email currently uses 62GB of storage. Upon retirement, I am somehow expected to shrink this to less than 15GB. This is totally unreasonable. Retirees should be granted the same storage allocation as faculty/staff, or at least an allocation that allows full continuity of email.

    • Alejandro Garcia
      on January 16, 2023 at 1:41 pm

      I partially agree with Ian. I would hope the agreement with google was more like when Google switched from unlimited google photos storage. Google photos used to be unlimited storage, but in ~2021 they switched it to factor into your 15 gb, BUT photos you had stored before the date were grandfathered in and not accounted in your storage moving forward.

  2. Mohamed Wiem Mkaouer
    on January 16, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    Why same-day notice? Why not announce this earlier? I am now stuck with being over the space limit. This is unrealistic. We need to be given time to move files around before giving us such a notification. Can someone help?

  3. Benjamin Thomas
    on January 16, 2023 at 4:11 pm

    I am disappointed – not only in this decision, but in the lack of communication that has led to it. The claim that unlimited cloud storage is no longer an industry standard is unsubstantiated and unfounded. It is simply wrong to claim this to be an effort towards modernization while research continues to require more and more data storage. While it may be true that this only affects a small percentage of the university body, it will indeed severely affect those people.

  4. Richard Wetherhold
    on January 16, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    I am very disappointed to learn of this action. I like so many alumni were informed that we would be given unlimited storage for life. Whether the industry standard has changed or not – I suppose that could be debated. I see signs that point both ways. But the University should stand by its word.

  5. Lucy Cohen
    on January 17, 2023 at 7:47 am

    I agree with the comments that retirees should be granted more than the minimum 15GB, it just isn’t enough. I am very disappointed with how the University is treating this benefit with very little regard to the impact it has on people who have come to rely on what was promised at retirement. How many retirees will be impacted and have to struggle to go that low? This decision should be reconsidered and the amount, if not equivalent to other staff and faculty, should be much higher than the very low 15GB.

  6. Mohammed Azharuddin Shaad
    on January 17, 2023 at 9:01 am

    This article mentions that Google made the decision in 2021 and yet I don’t see any communication at all from the university before today. This is a very unreasonable ask on such a short notice. Disappointed

  7. Danielle Stone
    on January 17, 2023 at 8:54 pm

    As an active graduate student I have well over 1 TB of research data, not to mention all of the personal data and media which is currently only in Google Drive as it was promised unlimited for life. It is incredibly disappointing that Google withdrew the unlimited offering from the University accounts. Knowing this was a Google decision makes the 250 GB restriction fairly understandable.

    However, the limit isn’t the issue. Communication is the issue. In one day I lost access to Google Drive, Google Docs, and basically the rest of the offerings other than email. Now I, while having no access to vital resources for coursework and research, have to make a decision on what research data to destroy (to fit into the Onedrive storage allotment) and whether I have the money right now in the bank to buy local storage to host the rest myself. With lead time I could have budgeted and prepared solutions. Instead, I have had a large financial burden placed on me unnecessarily – as this announcement says, Google made this decision in 2021. Furthermore, I contacted ITS several times after Google made the policy change and was assured each time that there would be adequate lead time given to migrate to another solution if needed. Apparently adequate lead time to purchase storage, setup storage, and then download all of my data over the 250 GB is hours(?) before implementation? And if we aren’t done with the transfer immediately after the announcement, we lose access to vital University resources? I don’t understand why the University/ITS would make such a last minute decision and/or announcement without any reprieve or temporary exceptions.

    • ITS Communications
      on January 20, 2023 at 8:20 am

      Active affiliates, including lecturers, regular faculty, and emeritus faculty; regular and temporary staff; and students have until April 1, 2024, to reduce their storage below the 250GB quota. Alumni and retirees have until August 1, 2023, to reduce their storage below 15GB. University community members should refer to the Sensitive Data Guide to make certain their research data is stored in the appropriate location with the correct security precautions taken to protect that data. Please contact the ITS Service Center at 734-764-HELP (4357) or via email at 4help@umich.edu regarding any questions or concerns.

    • Ponette Rubio
      on January 24, 2023 at 10:35 am

      I totally agree. There is still no information being shared about this cut in services or even knowledge about what we can do (transfer accounts/pay for space with the same account etc.) .

      I just found out because my shared drives are no longer working and now I see a limit I had totally not planned for because the University had promised Google access. The complete lack of communication speaks volumes to Michigan’s credibility and ability to follow through on promises. I don’t expect perfect execution on promises but a heads up before cutting the unlimited storage would have made this whole process easier. I have built a lot of connections through my UM email and am in the process of dissociating from my UM email. A heads up would have been professional.

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