Microsoft OneDrive Review

Does a good job as a central hub for the storage of documents and sharing among team members


What is our primary use case?

OneDrive is just part of the package that is deployed with Office 365. I have been using it personally. It is not exactly the type of solution we are shooting for in the company I work for anymore, although we used to use it. I have been primarily using it for storage for personal backup. When I first started at the company in 2016, it was actually used as a central hub for the storage of documents and sharing among team members. That need kind of dissipated over time. So, I am just using it personally for backup now.  

What is most valuable?

When we were sharing through it, it was a great tool for that purpose. I guess you would consider it similar to the design of Dropbox or really any one of the cloud-based storage services at this point. Within our team environment and our IT Group, it worked out for a while. It was really great to be able to share access to your backup files or notes or whatever you have and then be able to send a document or allow access to specific team members. I thought it was pretty cool. It was the first time we really used something like it so we were all excited.  

What needs improvement?

In the most recent builds, I think the way OneDrive works has become very confusing. It is constantly cloning the entire machine. You transfer that content over, but it will not send it to your local machine. You activate the one drive cloud, you sign in and you see all your documents in the cloud, but you have to physically move the content back onto the local machine or it remains stored only on the cloud. Working offline is not always an option in that case. It did not seem like it used to be that way. I have noticed that it changed in the last six months to a year. It did not change for the better.  

Possibly the ability — which might exist now and I just have not been able to find a way to do it — is to completely turn off automated features. Once you are signed in to your Microsoft accounts, you can not get out of OneDrive. You can only pause the backup. It does use a lot of resources because it is constantly syncing everything. You can pause the syncing for between 2 to 24 hours, but it would be kind of nice to just be able to log out of it and use it how you want rather than how it seems to dictate.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I would say I started using OneDrive in 2016 when it was considered as part of the Office 365 suite.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think OneDrive is like any software that is a storage and backup or cloud storage solution. Cloud-based storage depends on what you want to use it for. Scalability is probably okay just because it is a cloud-based product.  

Initially, years ago, it was rolled out globally in our company as part of the Microsoft suite of products. So, hundreds of thousands of people were using it all at once. I do not think scalability is an issue when considering the number of users.  

How are customer service and technical support?

The company's technical support could use improvement. I think it is that typical Apple or Microsoft support where they basically send you a link to a help article so that you can read it and figure it out yourself. In a lot of instances that just is not enough to resolve an issue.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

OneDrive was the first product of this type that we started using in our company. We switched away from it because our needs changed over time.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is a little clunky. I think it could be as simple as a lot of its peer programs where you log in and you see your folder breakdown. That is what it does, but there are several steps. Once you log in through the browser into OneDrive, you also have to initiate it on a local machine and then you have to go into the local machine to kick start the backup or download process in the settings. It just does not seem very intuitive.  

The time it takes to deploy in the scenario where you want to just use it as a backup for content is probably 10 to 20-minutes. That is just the time you spend paying attention to know what to do and configure it properly. As a first-time user, you will not know where to go. You are going to be clicking on a lot of things that are not going to point you in the right direction. Once you work with it a few times, you are looking at a 5 to 10-minute process to set up just to kickstart the backup process or download processes. 

What about the implementation team?

In the past, we always used some consultants to do initial setup and deployment, and then we became the consultants ourselves more recently. So we used consultants when it was first really getting notoriety and around 2015 or 2016 and it was being used on a mass scale for corporations.  

What other advice do I have?

My advice to someone looking to use OneDrive depends on what your intention is in using it. If it is to be used for cloud storage and collaboration, it is about as fair a solution as any other cloud storage like Dropbox. If you are using it strictly for your local machines — as a sole backup — it is not a good idea.  

I think it is typical of a Microsoft product. It is meant to be plug-and-play, and I think it used to be. It is not going to be any worse or better than any other product of this type as far as the user's ability to navigate the program. Before you just set it and forgot it was there and it took care of all your stuff. But I think there are some challenges in the recent builds that make it function differently than expected and differently, certainly, than it used to function. I believe the design of it was a lot cleaner back then too when there was less that you could stumble through.  

On a scale of one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate Microsoft OneDrive as an eight, I guess. Eight-out-of-ten.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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