What is happening?
Google has announced that, in July of 2022, it will switch from an unlimited storage model to a limited one — reducing and capping the amount of total storage an institution can use across all institutional individual users. (See Context) Previously, Google provided MICA with unlimited pooled storage across the institution. This meant that Google imposed no limit on the amount of files / storage the College could utilize on the platform. So we as individual users never had to think about how much space our files were taking up. We Created. We Shared. We Amassed. And We Never. Deleted. Anything. — simply because there was no need to. We had unlimited storage.
Why is it happening?
Unlimited storage is unsustainable. It’s unsustainable from a business perspective and from an environmental one. While it seems invisible to us, storing huge amounts of data requires consuming huge amounts of resources including energy, rare earth metals that need to be mined. No company, no matter how large, can continue to build massive data farms to house the world’s seemingly limitless thirst for storage and Google is no exception. Unlimited storage is going away across the industry simply because it must.
MICA uses Google’s Workspace For Education as its primary digital work and collaboration platform. You may not be familiar with the name, but you are most likely familiar with the tools that makeup the platform — namely the things you use everyday to create, share, and store work like GMail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Photos, etc.
Workspace is also a cloud-based platform, meaning that documents and files (and anything else that you create or store using these apps) are saved on Google’s online servers — not on your own computer. Whether it’s an email with an attachment, a video file shared on Google Drive, or a Google Slides deck used for a presentation, it is being saved on Google’s servers — and taking up storage space on those servers as well.
How does it affect me?
the impact that this new policy will have on the way we work at MICA will be both general and specific:
we will all have to change our overall mindset on file storage. We will need to now be mindful of the amount of storage space our files are consuming and disciplined in our management of them. The days of never deleting anything are rapidly coming to close.
Specifically, Current MICA students, faculty and staff accounts will have a storage quota of approximately 15GB. This means if you are using more than that, you will have to take steps to reduce your usage (See Next Steps)
What can I being doing to prepare?
We've developed a process to help you prepare for the transition. It’s a lightweight, four-step assessment and staging system that we like to call the ADAM Protocol.
The first step of ADAM is to audit your current usage to determine if your storage usage is above the 15 GB limit.
Delete any files that are non work-related, obsolete, unnecessary, or duplicative.
Archive files that aren’t used regularly but should not be deleted.
Migrate essential files to alternative, MICA storage solutions where necessary.
Assessing Your Total Usage
You can check your total usage by following the link below. If you are above 15GB, don’t panic! The College is committed to ensuring all professional work will remain accessible to you with little to no disruption in your workflow.
Assessing Drive Usage
Except for Gmail attachments, Google Drive is where all files in Google Workspace live. You can show large files in Google Drive by following the link below. A listing of files sorted from largest to smallest will be shown.
Assessing Gmail Usage
Generally emails don’t take up much space, but their attachments often do. Currently Gmail does not provide a method for deleting attachments within an email while keeping the email itself. But we can at least see where large attachments may be hiding.
Congratulations on taking the first step towards transitioning to limited Google storage. Hopefully you should now have an understanding of your overall usage and also have begun to develop a strategy for the migration in Spring. The steps included here are part of the initial assessment phase and none have removed or deleted any files or emails. but rather, organized / staged them for further actions.
Additional tutorials on deleting, archiving, and migrating will be posted here as we gain a better understanding from Google on the tools and support they will be providing to MICA to support the transitions.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any specific questions
MICA Storage Migration Options
MICA has a number of storage system available for use by our staff and faculty. Here's a listing:
Used for MICA Staff file storage. Requires VPN from off-campus.
Used for course-specific faculty storage (not film & video) and department-specific file storage. Requires VPN from off-campus.
Used for film and video courses only. Requires VPN from off-campus.
Students and Faculty using Canvas are encouraged to use the storage on Canvas and any extra storage from Google drive assigned to Canvas courses. The quota limits on Canvas are enforced for individual users and courses.