Exchange Online Archiving for Office 365 Limitations

Iron Contributor

Yesterday I faced a strange issue with MS support. A user of mine reached ~90GB of his online archive and I opened a support request to get it increased. The support enginner added additional 70GB. So now the user has a quota of 170GB for Online Archive. The problem really started when I asked the next question. I asked what's the maximum quota increment we can get per support request. The support enginner mentioned to me that the maximum an online archive can go is up to 170GB and it is already increased to that. Although it is mentioned everywhere in TechNet articles and blog posts that online archiving with E3 has unlimited archive storage, she said it is not possible. And then the support engineer mentioned as a workaround to create shared mailboxes and move emails to it when 170GB reaches and move items. That's not an acceptable solution as one of the key reasons we chose E3 was unlimited archiving storage. If we're to use shared mailboxes, it messes all compliance policies we have in our organization. Besides it clearly mentions in TechNet that using shared mailboxes for archiving purpose is viloating licensing terms.


Although since last year MS boasts of unlimited online archiving for E3, as per the support engineer,  the online archiving will become unlimited only when auto expansion becomes available. As of now, the auto expansion is available in Asia Pacific region but it is slowly rolling out across countries of the region. Therefore it is not still availble in my country although I'm the region. I really don't mind not having the auto expansion feature as long as I can get the quota increased through a service request.


My questions is, is there people who got their online archive size increased beyond 170GB without the auto expansion feature or is there anyone who faced the same issue as I due to the lack of auto expansion? Latter is a serious issue that Microsoft should address immediately.


Hope to see some clarification on this concern from MSFT and/or experts who have good knowledge on this matter.


Thank you.


8 Replies

I would also be very interested to hear the outcome of this. Ironically I have just been presenting to a client 'selling' the unlimted online archiving feature and had the same understanding that after 100GB, then a call to Microsoft would extend it.


"An Exchange Online Archiving user receives unlimited storage in the archive. However, an initial quota of 100 GB is set on the archive. This quota is large enough to accommodate and enforce reasonable use, including the import of one user’s historical email. In the event that a user reaches this quota, a call to support is required."




Exactly! When promoting E3 to users, unlimited online archiving was one of the key features I highlight. Plus, if it is not really unlimited, then there's a serious concern as to the validity of TechNet articles. :(

Don't always (or ever) trust the marketing talk :) Anyways, afaik auto-expanding archives are indeed still rolling, and until this happens the most you get is the 70GB extra (so 170 total).

Hi Vasil,


Thank you for your input. I was refering this TechNet article for technical details as I do always. Like you said, I don't normally stop at details available up front on product page as they are always (if not, mostly) marketing stuff. TechNet have been a trusted repository for many years and for this instance also I turned to it for reference. I referred this URL:


As it says, for online archive in E3 there's no limit. The official blog post on Online Archiving announcement, ( was initially published on 6/3/2015. On 5/25/2016, the post was updated to reflect auto-expanding archives. But I believe since 2015 the unlimited archive option was available. If there was such 170GB limitation, they should really mention it without misleading people and specially us technical people who put our trust in technical documentation when it comes to having "the talk" with technical people at customer's end. Once the customer is on-boarded and requiring the feature they were hoping to get, it's really not ethical to say "yes we said it was available, but you don't get what we said. instead, you get only this much".


I don't know how many people have had or been having this issue. Do you know any trusted location where Microsoft publicly say that it's just 170GB or is it something they have been keeping within select audience and disclosed only if someone requested beyond that?


In my opinion, Microsoft should really be more responsible about what they promotes and provides. Too sad. :(




As has been noted earlier in this thread, the auto-expanding archive feature is rolling out. It takes time to deploy to all 12 Office 365 regions and the more-than-that-number Exchange Online forests. It just takes time... but it will get there. And yes, it has taken longer Microsoft much longer than they anticipated to roll out auto-expanding archives (for technical reasons). They might have updated customers on this topic but didn't. On the other hand, relatively few people have to go past 170 GB in an archives so few were affected. It's just life in the cloud.



Hi Tony,


Thanks for the clarification here. :) I do understand there can be technical reasons that can make delays. And even the customer of this question was agreed to the fact that the auto expansion feature not being available to him and he didn't mind openning a support request and asking to increase.


Regardless of whether the user count is less or massive, if Microsoft say they actively offer the said product or service, they have to respect it. If automatic expansion is not availble, then at least through support requests the customer should be able to get the quota increased. When an organization decides on purchasing a product for their organization, they carefully consider if the feature he gets for the price he pay are worthy. In doing so, they expect to have what was told to be available to them when they need it.


In my opinion, what Microsoft should've done is, update their technical documentations with these constraints if they can only increase up to 170GB through a support request. That way, we would've had the awareness on the matter and informed the customer as well. It's sad that information critical like this are not available for people to refer and eventually people who expected the feature to be availble are in trouble. :(




"Unlimited" is marketing talk, then reality sets in. I'm pretty sure that the TechNet articles mentioned the need to contact support, but maybe they've updated them in preparation for the auto-expanding archives rollout.


I'm also pretty sure we will eventually see a "fair usage" type of policy with regards to the "unlimited" wording.

Hi Vasil,


Yes I remember it was there earlier in the TechNet to contact support to get the quota increased as users reach it. Now it talks about the auto expansion. It makes sense now of the case you pointed on they might have changed it to match the update.


Marketing wording on front pages are fine as long as they declare any constraints that comes with it in at least TechNet. Even I believe there will be an FUP. All that matters at the end is that they clearly mention all these in their documentation. People will talk sales. We technical people are in trouble if we do not have proper and sufficient information. Hope everyone can agree on that. :)


Thanks a lot to both you and Tony for taking time to word your inputs. Really appreciate it. :)