UW-Madison Box: Contract & Quota FAQ

We have received a lot of questions around the future of the UW-Madison Box service, the new quotas and alternative storage recommendations. We have tried our best to compile what we know so far. We will update this information as we know more about the future state and develop improved recommendations.

UW-Madison Box: Contract Questions

No! We are planning to renew the Box contract for 2021 and we are working to keep the UW-Madison Box service sustainable without unlimited storage. We expect Box to be part of the campus portfolio of services for the foreseeable future.

The current Box contract ends on 12/31/2020. We will begin the process of renewing the contract for 2021 this Fall.

Yes. We will begin the process of renewing the contract for 2021 this Fall. We expect Box to be part of the campus portfolio of services for the foreseeable future.

We do not know how much storage will be included in our 2021 Box license agreement.

Box has changed our anticipated total storage allocation for 2021 several times since announcing the end of unlimited storage in 2019. The most recent proposal in June suggested that we will have 1,800 terabytes of storage. We are operating under the assumption that will be part of the final agreement but it could also change. We will not have a definitive answer to this question until our contract is finalized this Fall.

UW-Madison Box: Storage and Quotas

7/27/2020: 950TB (terabytes)

UW-Madison Box storage growth rate was approximately 1TB per day prior to implementing storage quotas on 6/15/2020

No. Box is no longer offering unlimited storage as part of their Higher Education license agreement.

The end of unlimited storage was announced at our 2020 contract renewal last December. This change came as a large shock to us and many other universities. Going forward UW-Madison will receive a set storage allocation as part of our Box contract and it will be up to us to manage account growth in order to remain within the total storage allocation.

Box has changed the expected 2021 storage allocation multiple times since announcing the end of unlimited storage. We will not be certain of our 2021 storage allocation until we finalize the contract this fall.

50GB (gigabytes) is the storage allocated to all new Box accounts.

50GB (gigabytes) is the storage allocated to all new Box Project Directories.

Quota on existing Box accounts and Project Directories were determined based on account storage occupancy on 6/15/2020.

  • Accounts with 40GB or less storage had their quota set to 50GB.
  • Accounts over 40GB had a quota set that included a buffer for limited growth. The buffer ranged between 10GB and 100GB depending on the size of the account.
    • Example 1: An account that had 60GB on 6/15/2020 had its quota set to 75GB.
    • Example 2: An account that had 465GB on 6/15/2020 had its quota set to 565GB.

Yes

Every Monday we will send an automated notification to all UW-Madison Box accounts with less than 10GB of storage remaining. For more information see UW-Madison Box - Quota notifications

Box does not provide any native tools for alerting users when they are approaching their quota limit. We do hope to improve our own notifications over time.

NO!

We will never automatically delete data Owned by an active Box account.

When your Box account reaches your assigned quota you will notice the following:

  • You, and collaborators, will no longer be able to upload files to folders Owned by your account.
  • You will be unable to restore deleted items you own from your Trash.
  • Viewing and downloading files will function normally.
  • You will still be able to upload files to folders where you are a collaborator but not the Owner (co-owner, editor, uploader, etc).

You can view your current Box storage usage and quota in Account Settings from the Box WebApp. See UW-Madison Box - View account storage usage and limit for instructions.

Accounts that are already consuming more than 50GB of storage space will be allowed to keep that space. That may change as we learn more about our total storage allocation this Fall.

Some exceptions to the statement above:

  1. Backups: If you are using Box as a backup solution rather than for collaboration and sharing we request that you start investigating other solutions. Bucky Backup is a good place to start. Your department IT support may also have recommendations or local services dedicated to this purpose.
  2. Personal Files: If you are using Box to store personal data we request that you create a personal Box account for those files rather than consuming storage in the UW-Madison Box service.

At this time we are not automatically reducing quotas on accounts. That may change depending on the terms of our final 2021 Box contract and license agreement. Any change to quotas will be broadly communicated to campus.

Long term we need the majority of accounts to be capped at 50GB but we hope we can accomplish that primarily through attrition rather than actively shrinking accounts.

Maybe

We already have 3,500+ accounts that are at or over the 50GB limit. We believe that we will have enough storage space under our UW-Madison Box license to grant a limited number of accounts additional storage space but without a finalized 2021 license agreement this is guesswork. We are asking individuals to pursue file cleanup before requesting more space. We are happy to provide file reports to assist you in cleanup. See UW-Madison Box - Request a Storage Consultation

Until we have a written commitment from Box regarding our 2021 storage allocation we are being very cautious about where we grant quota increases. Going into the Fall semester we are giving priority to those accounts that are leveraging box either as part of remote instruction or in support of research activities.

If you require more storage space we are requesting that you remove duplicate or unneeded files, move non-university files to a personal account and move file backups to an alternative backup solution before requesting a Box quota increase.

No

A number of groups have requested the ability to purchase additional Box storage. We are aware that there is campus interest in offering this as an option but purchasing additional storage is not available at this time.

UW-Madison Box: Alternatives

Not necessarily.

We expect the UW-Madison Box service to be part of the campus portfolio of services for the foreseeable future. However, we will no longer be able to provide box accounts with unlimited storage.

There are some circumstances where we are recommending that you transition to a different service:

  1. Backups: If you are using Box as a backup solution rather than for collaboration and sharing we request that you start investigating other solutions. Bucky Backup is a good place to start. Your department IT support may also have recommendations or local services dedicated to this purpose.
  2. Personal Files: If you are using Box to store personal data we request that you create a personal Box account for those files rather than consuming storage in the UW-Madison Box service.

There are a number of file storage options available both campus-wide and at the school/college/division level. We do not have a complete inventory at this time and we are developing a project to address that gap. Below is a partial list of DoIT led services but please check back for updated information.

Campus File Storage:

Consumer Cloud Collaboration and File Sharing:

We get this question a lot and there is not a simple answer. What we find is that file storage or file collaboration choices tend to follow group culture more closely than actual business requirements. We can offer some suggestions for things to think about when you are trying to select a solution.

  1. Who will you be collaborating with?
  2. Do all collaborators have access to the campus network or WiscVPN?
  3. What file types do you work with most frequently? (e.g. Microsoft documents, Google docs, pdf's, images, video or sound files, raw datasets)
  4. Do you require the ability to do real time co-authoring?
  5. How much storage do you expect to require?
  6. Is network performance likely to be an issue? (e.g real time data acquisition or processing)
  7. What type of data are you storing (e.g. Public, Sensitive or Restricted data)?
  8. Are you legally or contractually required to keep copies of the data for a specific length of time?

One of the barriers to providing good recommendations is that we do not have a complete inventory of storage options available campus-wide and at the school/college/division level. As we work to address that gap we hope to also provide a decision matrix that incorporates the questions listed above to assist in determining which solution or solutions you might select.

If you are a researcher on campus there are resources specifically for you. Research Data Services (RDS) can help with research data management and has a great matix that outlines the Data Storage and Backup options recommended for researchers. The Research Cyberinfrastructure Strategic Initiative also provides technology and support to UW-Madison researchers.

No.

The Box Higher-Ed agreement specifically states that Box should not be used as a primary data back-up repository or for the storage of data that is not intended for regular access and use. We also expect future agreements to include stronger language regarding our obligation to enforce this provision.

We are aware that there are still many places where campus documentation recommends using Box for backups. We are working to locate document owners and updated directions appropriately.

Acceptable use of Information Technology Resources allows minimal use for private or personal purposes of most IT resources.

Storing non-university data in Box was not a concern when we had unlimited storage. With the change in Box contract we are requesting that individuals using Box to store personal data create a personal Box account for those files rather than consuming storage in the UW-Madison Box service.