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How can organizations manage Microsoft Teams storage limits?

Microsoft Teams storage limits can be complex for organizations to track. Learn the details and how to add Microsoft 365 storage to avoid capacity problems.

Amid the pandemic, Microsoft Teams has become a key element for communication within businesses. But since Teams data is spread over various parts of Microsoft 365, it's important to monitor storage limits.

Microsoft Teams uses SharePoint Online for file storage, while it stores voice messages, calendar meetings and contacts in Exchange Online. Teams stores some of the other data, such as images, recordings and telemetry data, in Azure. The bulk of the message data is stored in a chat service table, but will eventually move to Azure Cosmos DB. Similarly, chat data will eventually move to Exchange.

Files often make up the bulk of an organization's Teams data. With the creation of a new team, a corresponding SharePoint site is also created. With the creation of a channel within a team, SharePoint creates a folder within a team site. Likewise, files that users share within Teams are automatically added to a SharePoint document library.

The fine print on Microsoft Teams storage limits and adding capacity

All the usual SharePoint storage limits apply to files that have been shared through Teams. Specifically, these Microsoft Teams storage limits mean that organizations receive 1 TB of storage, plus 10 GB of additional space for each licensed user.

This storage space is shared by all SharePoint sites, including those used by Teams, as opposed to Microsoft giving an organization 1 TB plus 10 GB per user for each individual SharePoint site. In other words, if an organization places a large amount of data into one site, then that diminishes the space that is available in other sites.

Microsoft imposes a hard limit of 25 TB per site or group. It also limits the maximum file size to 250 GB.

In most cases, the amount of space included in an organization's Microsoft 365 subscription will be far less than the 25 TB limit that applies to sites or groups. Organizations can, however, get around Microsoft Teams storage limits by purchasing additional capacity.

Before an organization buys more storage, it's a good idea to take stock of how it uses existing storage. Open the SharePoint admin center and click on "Active Sites." This process will show all the sites, including those related to Teams, along with the amount of space that each site uses. Organizations can delete unused sites to reclaim some space.

Once an organization has a feel for how much space it needs, open the Microsoft 365 admin center and go to Billing > Purchase services. Enter "Storage" into the search box and then choose the "Office 365 Extra File Storage" option. The cost of extra storage starts at 20 cents per gigabyte, per month, as of November 2021.

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