Microsoft 365 Archive for SharePoint

Planning for a successful SharePoint content archive implementation

In brief:

  • Microsoft 365 Archive is priced at $0.05 per GB per month, offering a 75% savings compared to additional SharePoint storage.
  • A reactivation fee of $0.60 per GB applies when retrieving a SharePoint site from the archive.
  • Successful implementation of a SharePoint information lifecycle strategy is crucial for effective site archiving

As organisations increasingly consolidate their documents and information within SharePoint Online, many are encountering storage limitations. This challenge is particularly prevalent in sectors such as research, professional services, media, and construction.

The conventional yet expensive solution involves purchasing additional storage directly from Microsoft at a rate of $0.20 per GB per month, totalling $200 per TB per month or $2,400 per TB per year. However, the introduction of Microsoft 365 Archive brings a more cost-effective alternative.

Instead of immediately opting for additional storage, it’s worth explore these strategies first:

Firstly, consider alternative storage solutions like Azure File Storage. While it may come at a lower cost, be mindful that opting for this alternative results in the loss of metadata and the native features of modern collaboration, including version history, modern comments, and the contextual value of being within a team site.

Secondly, a key aspect of any effective information management strategy is the proactive management of ROT data (Redundant, Obsolete, and Trivial). Our video delves into various approaches for efficiently removing data that is no longer necessary.

Lastly, evaluate your media storage requirements, including photos, videos, and CAD files. Moving such data to a local server could be a more sensible and cost-effective solution, but again loses the contextual value of being within a team site.

Firstly, it's important to note that the amount of storage you receive depends on the number of licensed users. Consider any anticipated changes to your workforce as you craft your SharePoint storage strategy.

Initially, each tenant is granted 1TB. On top of this, for every licensed user, an additional 10GB is added. To illustrate, for an organization with 100 users, the total storage would be calculated as follows: 1TB + (100 users * 10GB) = 2TB. More examples below:

Org Size Base Additional Total
25 Users 1 TB 250 GB 1.25 TB
50 Users 1 TB 500 GB 1.5 TB
100 Users 1 TB 1 TB 2 TB
250 Users 1 TB 2.5 TB 3.5 TB
500 Users 1 TB 5 TB 6 TB
1,000 Users 1 TB 10 TB 11 TB

What does Microsoft 365 Archive bring to the table? This feature offers the capability to seamlessly transfer a SharePoint site into an archive, delivering a range of benefits:

  • Efficiently frees up space from your tenant storage allocation.
  • Preserves crucial elements such as metadata, retention labels, and sensitivity labels.
  • Maintains robust protection through permissions, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and sensitivity labels.
  • Significantly reduces storage costs, transitioning from $0.20 per GB to $0.05 per GB per
  • Retains the flexibility to restore the site back to SharePoint whenever necessary.
  • Supports eDiscovery for enhanced data management.


However, it's important to note a couple of considerations:

  • There is a restoration fee of $0.60 per GB
  • You need space to restore to in your tenant
  • Currently, end users do not have search visibility of archived files.

Your 3 Step Plan to implementing Microsoft 365 Archive

Step 1: Begin by evaluating your storage requirements and trends. It's possible that an archive strategy may not be necessary.

Step 2: Next, strategically plan your SharePoint Information Architecture and Document Lifecycle at the SharePoint site level, this is best practice anyway.

Step 3: Finally, establish and put into action your Microsoft 365 Archive policy. Ensure effective communication to relevant stakeholders.

If you find yourself facing challenges with Microsoft 365 Archive implementation, we're here to assist. Perhaps during the migration from your file server, all your files ended up in a single site, or there's a lack of consistency in how information is stored in SharePoint. That's where our expertise comes in.

When collaborating with clients, our approach involves a deep dive into document and site lifecycles. We specialise in designing and implementing a document management strategy tailored to your business needs. This includes automating repetitive tasks such as site creation as well as developing a robust archiving strategy.

Our journey together kicks off with a comprehensive workshop. During this collaborative session, we weave together an art-of possible demonstration, align it with your vision, and playback our view on the scope and deliverables, all for a fixed-fee.

Frequently asked questions

Q: How much is Microsoft 365 Archive?

Microsoft 365 Archive is $0.05 per GB per month with a $0.60 reactivation fee. It's charged on a daily basis, and only when your total storage requirement (Tenant plus Archive) exceeds your tenant storage allocation.

Q: How much storage do I get with SharePoint Online?

Your SharePoint Online storage allocation is calculated as 1 TB for your tenant plus 10 GB per user; therefore, for a 100-person company, it's a total of 2 TB (1 TB + 10 GB * 100).

Q: At what level does Microsoft 365 Archive work?

Microsoft 365 Archive works at a Site level, archiving all contents within the site including lists and document libraries, pages and files. 

Q: How do I activate Microsoft 365 Archive?

To activate Microsoft 365 Archive, firstly create an Azure storage account, then activate Archive in the Syntex/SharePoint Premium features of your Microsoft 365 admin portal. Finally identify and submit sites for archive.

Q: Where does the archived site get restored to?

Your Archived SharePoint site gets restored to SharePoint Online. Note you will require appropriate free space within your tenant.

Q: Can users search the Microsoft 365 Archive?

Administrators can search Microsoft 365 Archive through eDiscovery. As it stands, end-user can not search the Archive - although this is on the roadmap.


Rupert Squires

Client Director

2 mins read

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