Google Storage and Retention
Traditionally, Google has offered unlimited storage for Google Workspace services at no cost to qualifying educational institutions. Google announced a new storage policy ending free unlimited storage for the academic community effective July 1, 2022. In 2020, VCU purchased Google's enterprise licensing. While this purchase was done to provide additional features and security features, these licenses also provide additional storage for our user community. Because of this purchase, VCU has received an extension until May 2024, which allows ample time to assess and develop solutions that meet VCU’s academic, research, and administrative storage needs.
Our goal is to maintain service quality, minimize disruption, and contain costs while addressing immediate needs and planning for the future. This may involve considering additional storage opportunities or other adjustments to accommodate this change.
- Spring - Fall 2022: Begin planning for the May 2024 date, including analyzing current storage usage and consulting with Google and peer institutions. Meeting with University community partners to establish the best path forward.
- Spring 2023: Announcement of finalized plan and kickoff of university-wide communication campaign
- Summer 2023 - January 2024: Implementation of plan
- February 2024 - April 2024: Fine-tuning and closeout
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to better explain this change and steps our user community at VCU can take to prepare. We will continue to add information as it becomes available during this project. Please check back often.
Google has decided to change its storage policy after considering the vast amount of data uploaded to cloud storage daily. Excerpt from Google, Inc’s official statement regarding the new storage policy:
“Google has traditionally offered unlimited storage to qualifying schools and universities for free. However, as we’ve [Google] grown to serve more schools and universities each year, storage consumption has also rapidly accelerated. Storage is not being consumed equitably across — nor within — institutions, and school leaders often don't have the tools they need to manage this. To support schools into the future and ensure fair distribution of this valuable resource, we [Google] will be implementing a new pooled storage model and helping admins and school leaders manage their storage. Nothing is changing today and we expect that more than 99% of institutions will be within the pooled storage provided by the new policy.” Source: Google, Inc.
Refer to Google’s complete announcement.
Schools and universities have a baseline of 100TB of pooled storage shared across users and accounts. Institutions like VCU with more than 20,000 students, faculty, and staff, or 20,000 monthly-active users that follow Google’s Acceptable Use Policy, receive an additional storage allocation in addition to the 100TB baseline. In addition, the purchase of enterprise licenses provides additional storage. With some attention to cleanup by our user community and some strategies we will be implementing over the next two years, we should remain within this limit.
The total amount of storage you use in Google includes, but is not limited to, files from Google Drive, Gmail, Google Shared Drives, and Google Photos (only available upon request).
Google Drive (My Drive) and Google Shared Drive
Starting May 2, 2022, new and updated Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, and Jamboard files count toward your storage.
Other files in your My Drive and Shared Drives also count, including:
- Meet call recordings
- docx, xls, ppt
- Messages and attachments, including items in your Spam and Trash folders. Note that deleted files in Spam and Trash are removed automatically after 30 days.
- Photos and videos backed up in original quality.
Note: Deleted messages and files retained by Google Vault don’t count against your storage quota or the total pooled storage in our Google Workspace domain.
Source: Google, Inc.
If VCU exceeds the pooled storage amount by 25% or for 14 days, whichever comes first, users will be unable to:
- Upload new files or images to Google Drive
- Backup any photos and videos to Google Photos
- Record new meetings in Google Meet
- Create new, edit, copy, or submit files in collaborative content creation apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawing, Forms or Jamboard
Workspace for Educations users will continue to be able to send and receive email
User can still sign in and access their Google Workspace account and view and download files
We recommend that VCU's Google Workspace users review current storage usage and begin some cleanup. A more formal retention policy will be announced by Summer, 2023. Data is permitted for business, educational, research, service, operational, and management purposes. Use the following steps to learn more about your consumption and best practices.
- See how much storage you’re using by using Google's tool.
- Visit Google's support article which outlines best practices for managing your Google storage.
- Check your Google mail - review and delete unnecessary files or emails. It’s a good idea to move email that is no longer needed to Trash. Items moved into Trash from both individual Workspace accounts and generic accounts will remain there for 30 days. During this time, you can retrieve items in Trash if needed. After 30 days, these files are deleted from your Trash and you are no longer able to retrieve them. To help meet public records requirements and e-discovery requests, “deleted” items go into Google Vault, which is VCU's governance and e-discovery tool used to provide data for VCU’s Office of General Counsel and FOIA Office.
- Check Google Shared Drives you manage - review and delete unnecessary files.
- Use the Google Drive storage feature - review your files from largest to smallest and delete the unnecessary files.
- Delete multiple copies or versions of files. Only keep the most recent version of a file unless there is a business need for previous versions. Utilize Google’s versioning for non-native files to avoid unnecessary copies in your Drive.
- Move only your personal files stored in your VCU account (photos, videos, music) to your own storage (e.g., a personal Google account or another provider). VCU data should never be moved to a personal account.
We are currently evaluating our storage usage. User response to our request to assist by reviewing your existing data storage and cleaning up will determine whether we can continue without storage quotas. This should be determined in our timeline by Fall, 2023.