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Overview of OneDrive for Business in SharePoint Server 2013

SharePoint 2013
 

Applies to: SharePoint Server 2013 Standard, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise

Topic Last Modified: 2014-08-14

Summary: Learn about OneDrive for Business, its architecture, and the benefits of using OneDrive for Business in SharePoint Server 2013.

This article helps administrators learn about OneDrive for Business, the OneDrive for Business, architecture in SharePoint Server 2013, and the benefits of using OneDrive for Business. Before you read this article, you should be familiar with My Sites. For more information, see My Sites in What's new in social computing in SharePoint Server 2013.

In this article:

  • OneDrive for Business   A personal file storage and synchronization service for business use. Users store, access, and synchronize their files in SharePoint Online or SharePoint Server 2013 with their client workstation.

  • OneDrive for Business document library   A document library on the user's My Site in SharePoint Server 2013. Users access their OneDrive for Business document library by clicking OneDrive in SharePoint Server 2013.

  • OneDrive   A consumer-based file storage service available through your Microsoft account. For more information, see What is a Microsoft account?. OneDrive has no relationship to SharePoint Server 2013. However, if you install Office 2013 and open Windows Explorer, you see a OneDrive folder in the Favorites section. This folder synchronizes with the consumer-based file storage, not your OneDrive for Business storage. Users may download the OneDrive synchronization application to synchronize their OneDrive (consumer-based file storage) with the OneDrive folder in Windows Explorer, without installing Office 2013. For more information, see Download OneDrive synchronization client.

  • Synchronization (also known as Sync)   Process that involves copying, updating, and moving files between a client workstation and the server, or vice versa. In OneDrive for Business, synchronization is performed by the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client, which is either installed with Office 2013, or is available as a stand-alone version, which may be used with earlier versions of Office (Office 2010, Office 2007, and so on).

The following table provides more information about OneDrive for Business, the OneDrive for Business document library, OneDrive, and synchronization. Some of the information relates to later sections of this article.

Table: More about OneDrive for Business, OneDrive, and synchronization

OneDrive for Business Synchronization (using the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client) OneDrive for Business document library OneDrive

How do I access it?

To use OneDrive for Business Synchronization, the user must have:

In SharePoint Server 2013, a user clicks the Sync button in a document library to start the synchronization of files between the document library and the client workstation. On the client workstation, when the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client runs, it is available from the notification area. The OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client creates shortcuts in Windows Explorer in Favorites.

On a user's My Site in SharePoint Server 2013, or on a My Site in SharePoint Online

Go to the OneDrive logon page.

Who uses this product?

Business users

Business users

Consumers or individuals

Is this a document library?

No, but the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client performs synchronization with document libraries.

Yes

Yes

Is this installed with Office 2013?

Yes, the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client is installed.

You may also download the stand-alone OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client, which can be used with earlier versions of Office (Office 2010, Office 2007, and so on).

No, this is a document library on a user's My Site in SharePoint Server 2013.

Yes, the Microsoft OneDrive client is installed, a shortcut named OneDrive is created in Favorites in Windows Explorer, and an open and save location is created in the Backstage view in Office 2013.

Which folder is used in Windows Explorer under Favorites?

OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client synchronizes files in the following Windows folders:

  • OneDrive @ Contoso, where Contoso is a SharePoint Online tenancy name

  • OneDrive for Business

  • SharePoint

OneDrive for Business folder

OneDrive folder

The OneDrive for Business architecture includes several layers that span SharePoint Server 2013, Office 2013, and Windows Explorer. The following diagram shows the components that make up the OneDrive for Business architecture.

Figure: OneDrive for Business architecture

Diagram of the OneDrive for Business architecture

OneDrive for Business in SharePoint Server 2013 consists of two main components: Storage locations and the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client.

  • Storage locations   Files are stored in storage locations. Storage locations include the following:

    • Document libraries. A user can choose to synchronize a document library with a client workstation. As shown in the diagram:

      • E is a user's OneDrive for Business document library on the user's My Site. This is a special document library, and is discussed in the next section.

      • F is a document library on a team site.

    • Windows Folders. When a document library is synchronized with a client workstation, synchronized files are stored in specific Windows folders on the client workstation. As shown in the diagram:

      • A is a user's OneDrive folder. When Office 2013 is installed, a OneDrive folder is created in the Favorites section of Windows Explorer. Users can use this OneDrive folder with their OneDrive location on OneDrive.

        NoteNote:
        The OneDrive folder is not associated with SharePoint Server 2013. OneDrive for Business does not use the OneDrive folder.
      • B is the SharePoint folder. Files in document libraries on team sites are synchronized with the SharePoint folder.

      • C is the OneDrive @ Contoso folder. Files in document libraries on team sites in a SharePoint Online tenancy are synchronized with the OneDrive @ Contoso folder.

        NoteNote:
        Contoso is your SharePoint Online tenancy.
      • D is the OneDrive for Business folder. Files in a user's OneDrive for Business document library are synchronized with the OneDrive for Business folder.

    For information about storage limits for OneDrive and OneDrive for Business, see OneDrive Plans.

  • OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client   The OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client synchronizes files between document libraries in SharePoint Server 2013 or SharePoint Online, and specific Windows folders on a client workstation.

    NoteNote:
    The OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client creates the specific Windows folders and shortcuts in Favorites in Windows Explorer when a user synchronizes a document library.

SharePoint Server 2013 creates the OneDrive for Business document library in the personal site collection of a user's My Site when the user requests creation of the My Site. The OneDrive for Business document library is a special document library built by using the standard document library template. Many of the features and processes applicable to a standard document library can be applied to the OneDrive for Business document library.

ImportantImportant:
Even though the OneDrive for Business document library supports many of the features of a standard document library, a user should not customize the OneDrive for Business document library because this might affect synchronization. For example, a user should not add or delete additional columns to the OneDrive for Business document library. The default configuration of the OneDrive for Business document library is optimized for synchronization.

The OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client enables users to take documents offline from document libraries in SharePoint Server 2013, and use them when they are disconnected from SharePoint Server 2013. Later, when the client workstation reconnects to SharePoint Server 2013, the files are synchronized. The OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client synchronizes files with any document library in SharePoint Server 2013 including the OneDrive for Business document library.

NoteNote:
OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client isn't an updated version of SharePoint Workspace 2010, and doesn't replace SharePoint Workspace 2010.

A user accesses the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client from the notification area in Windows. From the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client, a user can select Sync Now, Pause Syncing, Open your OneDrive for Business folder, and so on. The OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client establishes a synchronization relationship with the document library when the user clicks the Sync button in SharePoint Server 2013. When a synchronization relationship is set up, files and folders can be synchronized between the client workstation and the SharePoint Server. The OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client creates shortcuts displayed in Windows Explorer to Windows folders (previously discussed in this article, and labeled B, C, or D in the earlier diagram) to store files from the synchronized document library. For more information about how to synchronize a document library, see Sync a library to your computer on Office.com.

ImportantImportant:
The OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client maintains a synchronization relationship between one SharePoint Server 2013 document library and one Windows folder that was created by the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client (B, C, or D in the earlier diagram). Files from an existing synchronization relationship cannot be synchronized with more than one document library or more than one Windows folder.

The OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client automatically synchronizes with SharePoint Server 2013 every 10 minutes. When the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client makes the request to synchronize with SharePoint Server 2013, SharePoint Server 2013 might respond by indicating that it is experiencing high server resource utilization and cannot synchronize now. When this occurs, the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client cancels the current synchronization request, and resends a new synchronization request later.

NoteNote:
The cancellation and retry is transparent to the user. No informational message or error message is shown to the user.

When synchronization occurs:

  • If the file type is a Word 2013, Excel 2013, or PowerPoint 2013 file, the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client performs a differential synchronization, which is a synchronization of only the changes that were made to the document between the last synchronization and the current synchronization.

  • For all other file types, the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client synchronizes the whole file, not just the changes that were made to the file from the last synchronization.

In Office 2013, the Backstage view provides file-level functionality in the Office applications. In Office 2013, a user can access the Backstage view by clicking File in the ribbon. In Office 2013, each client application can share information and actions via the Backstage view. Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) use the Backstage view to access shared documents. The Office 2013 client applications use the Backstage view with SharePoint Server 2013 to open and save files to document libraries in SharePoint Server 2013. Once the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client synchronizes with a document library and the user opens or saves a file in the synchronized Windows folder, the document library is put into the Backstage view as an open and save location. Alternatively, if an administrator configures SharePoint Server 2013 to use Exchange Autodiscovery, the user's OneDrive for Business document library will be listed as an open or save location.

NoteNote:
The Backstage view is not, or does not use the synchronization features of, OneDrive for Business.

Some benefits of using OneDrive for Business include the following:

  • Users can take their documents offline with them and have them synchronize when they are online again.

  • Users' documents can be synchronized across all client devices and servers where the files are stored and synchronized.

  • Multiple users (online or offline) can work on documents at the same time, and the OneDrive for Business Windows Sync client will synchronize the changes between the users. If there are conflicts, users are prompted to resolve the conflicts.

  • Users can share and collaborate on documents.

  • Users can work from many locations, either online or offline, and work from many devices.

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