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New Google Storage Limitations

Overview

Google previously announced an end to unlimited storage for the academic community, and CU Boulder is working to reduce its pooled storage by December 31, 2022. The new storage model will provide CU Boulder with much less free storage than the campus consumes today. In order to ensure that the free storage allocated to CU Boulder is being used for mission-critical functions, the campus’s new quota will be pooled and shared in a manner that prioritizes Google for collaboration with the primary focus being on teaching and learning.

To ensure we can keep within the new quota, we will be making some significant changes to our service, including eliminating Google Photos and setting individual quotas for Google Drive. Most of the Google storage space is currently consumed by non-Google file types (e.g., Microsoft documents, PDFs, videos, photos, etc.). In the coming weeks and months, OIT will directly email users of Google Photos, Google Drive, and Shared Drives to provide guidance on how to download and relocate the files you wish to keep and how to best utilize OIT's recommended storage options.

How to Prepare - Reduce Google Storage Usage

To avoid service disruption of your CU Google account, OIT highly recommends reviewing your current storage usage and deleting any unnecessary files in Drive, Shared Drives, Gmail, and Photos if your total Google storage exceeds 5 gigabytes. Complete the following steps to reduce your storage usage: 

  1. Confirm your personal data usage in Google Drive Storage Settings.
  2. Review and delete large or unnecessary files from your Google Drive
  3. Review and delete files from shared drives
  4. Move personal files to your own storage (e.g., a personal Google account). Your CU Boulder Google account is only for University use. 
  5. Use Google's manage files in your Drive storage guide to search for and delete unnecessary or large emails.
 

Alternative Storage Options

Visit the File Transfer, Storage, and Infrastructure page for more guidance on types of data and storage options for each option. Depending on the type of data you need to store and the amount of storage you need, there are several options supported by OIT, including: 

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 offers a number of applications that can be leveraged for storage including OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams.

  • OneDrive allows users to keep all files in one location in Microsoft's cloud environment, with the ability to access from a phone, tablet or computer. Use OneDrive's desktop or mobile applications to access up to 5 TB storage quota with 250 GB maximum file size, version history, and integration with other Office 365 products. 
  • SharePoint Online is an Office 365 application that allows users to easily create websites for sharing information and tracking and collaborating on projects.
  • Teams is a collaboration platform that also facilitates organization of your team’s work, files, and key resources using channels.

Learn more about OIT's recommendations for the type of data each application can store on the File Transfer, Storage, and Infrastructure page, or visit the service pages to get started with OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams.

PetaLibrary

The PetaLibrary is a University of Colorado Boulder Research Computing service supporting the storage, archival, and sharing of research data. It is available at a subsidized cost to any researcher affiliated with the University of Colorado Boulder.

Learn more about PetaLibrary.

UCB Files

UCB Files is OIT's file server providing on-campus, backed-up storage for faculty, staff, and student groups. Some features include Shared file storage spaces for collaboration, daily data backups, security permissions for your data restricted to your department or university affiliates you authorize, compatibility with macOS, Windows and Linux.

Learn more about UCB Files.

Please note: OIT will continue to support Google Workspace Apps for collaboration, communication and more, but we want to broadly discontinue using Google for storage.

Migrate Content From Google Photos

Google Photos is no longer available for newly created accounts, accounts that had not previously used Google Photos and current Staff, Faculty and Students. Alumni and Retirees will lose access in groups and each group will receive email notifications about the timeline of the service retirement. OIT recommends all users download and move their photos/videos to another location. Visit the Google Photos FAQ for more information about the migration.

  • If the photos/videos are essential for CU functions, OIT recommends uploading to OneDrive instead. 
  • Download the photos/videos you would like to keep using Google Takeout

General FAQ

Does Google have migration tool available to help move files?

We expect Google to provide migration tools by the end of spring 2022. In the meantime, OIT recommends that you take steps to prepare, including cleaning out your Google Drive using our Migrating Data tips.

What types of data will be impacted by this change?

Any/all data stored in your CU Boulder Google account will be impacted, including files from Google Drive, Google Shared Drives, Gmail, and Google Photos.

How much storage space will CU Boulder have on Google Workspace?

At this time, OIT is planning on setting storage limits for individuals at 5 gigabytes.

Google Photos FAQ

Why is Google Photos being discontinued?

Google’s elimination of unlimited free storage for the academic community is forcing CU Boulder to make significant changes to the Google services it offers. In order to ensure that the storage allocated to CU Boulder is being used for mission-critical functions, the campus’s new quota will be pooled and shared in a manner that prioritizes Google for collaboration with the primary focus being on teaching and learning. Eliminating Google Photos is part of this strategy.

When will Google Photos be turned off for CU Boulder?

If you are a current employee or student at the university you will lose access on Apr 15, 2022.

Where should I move my photos/videos?

Personal photos should be moved to a personal Gmail account or other personal storage location. Photos related to CU Boulder research, work, teaching or learning should be moved to CU Boulder’s Microsoft OneDrive.

Can I move shared access of Google photos to a personal account?

Yes. Before the deadline, you can re-share any photos or albums with a personal account.

What’s the best way to move my files from Photos?

Use Google Takeout to download the photos you'd like to keep.

How long does it take to export files from Google?

Depending on your network speed and the number and size of the files you are exporting, the process can take from several minutes to several days. We strongly recommend using a wired network when exporting your files as this can significantly reduce the time it takes to complete the process.

Do I need to delete files in Photos after moving them elsewhere?

Yes! Please delete your files and empty your trash folder after you export your files so that CU Boulder’s quota will be reduced.

Is there any way to maintain access to Google Photos or get an exception for special circumstances?

No, the Google Photos service is being retired.

I use Google Photos to host images for external websites / articles, what are the recommended solutions or best practices for hosting photos?

Best practices for web hosting is to upload and store your photos in the same location that is hosting your web content.

I heard that Google Drive will soon have a quota. What should I do with files in Google Drive and Gmail?

If you store files in Google Drive and Gmail that are non-Google file types (e.g., Microsoft documents, PDFs, videos, photos, etc.), you will be sent an email with specific instructions about how to export those files. However, it’s always a good time to do some file clean-up and remove files that are no longer needed by you or others with whom they have been shared.