Data glut in Google storage still needs our attention

About 2,800 employees whose university Google accounts hold more than 3 gigabytes (GB) of data received an email reminder Dec. 15 from information technology services (ITS): Their account is at risk for read-only status on Jan. 3. Employees still have about 20 days to delete or move files and get their personal data storage under 3 GB to keep their account fully functioning.

Implementing individual storage quotas is one strategy in a broader need to reduce the university's total storage in Google by Jan. 1 to 100 terabytes (TB). If the university community can't hit that mark, Google announced it will put all Iowa State accounts on read-only status after Jan. 1. Read-only means account holders could download or read files, but they wouldn't be able to edit existing files or create new files.

Like other cloud storage providers, last year Google halted its policy of unlimited storage for higher education clients and put them on alert that quotas were coming. Google set Iowa State's storage limit at 100 TB, with enforcement set for January. At the end of November, institutional storage in Google totaled 275 TB; this week, it's at about 220 TB and trending down.

"We have seen a noticeable improvement in responses, and want to thank everyone for their help moving toward this goal. We still have a bit to go, but we're making progress and the numbers are dropping," said Jason Shuck, who manages the systems operations team in ITS, which oversees data storage for the university.

He said his team is focused on assisting a group of about 50 super storers with unusually high data storage. All employees are encouraged to review their Google data storage and see what they can:

  • Delete. This is an appropriate choice for personal use files, unused or obsolete files and duplicated material owned by someone else. Look at both Google Drive and Google Photo.
  • Move. Iowa State has new, multiyear contracts for generous storage in Microsoft OneDrive and Box (branded on campus as CyBox), Shuck said. There's not a concern about capacity with either option. A knowledge base article, Export Your Google Drive Content, shows employees how to move files. For ITS assistance migrating files to OneDrive, complete the form, Request Managed Migration to OneDrive. ITS staff also can create a shared space in CyBox for departments or units; email to request help with this.
  • Delete after moving. Files in Google that were successfully migrated to CyBox or OneDrive still need to be deleted.

Regardless of institutional storage levels, Shuck said ITS will enforce the 3 GB personal quota. So, if the university reaches its overall 100 TB goal, employees using more than 3 GB would still go read-only.

Employees who need to migrate stored data out of Google are encouraged to email to review options and develop a plan.