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In this article

  • Teams data architecture
  • Chat data storage
  • Channel data storage
  • Calls data storage
  • Calendar data storage
  • Files data storage

A Guide to Microsoft Teams Data Storage Location

27 Oct 2021
6 min read

Teams is a collaborative workspace and messaging application developed by Microsoft in 2017, which allows users to work together and stay organized. With Teams, users can start conversation threads, reply to specific messages, tag relevant people, start meetings, keep track of individual tasks and projects, and enable app integrations, all from a single interface. Given the wide range of features, a large amount of data is created on Teams, and the below reasons highlight why it is important for an admin to know where this data gets stored: 

  • To apply retention policies and legal holds 

  • To conduct eDiscovery searches 

  • To back up organizational Teams data 

  • To manage users’ access to Teams data 

1. Teams data architecture

Teams stores data across multiple applications in Microsoft 365. Most of Microsoft Teams data is stored in Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business. It can even store data in third-party locations, like Dropbox, Google Docs, and others if you choose to enable those features. We’ll look at the different sections on the Teams menu to see where data is stored for each of these sections.

Teams data storage location

2. Teams chat data storage

One-to-one chats and group chats

Both one-to-one chats and group chats are stored in a chat service running in Azure. Chats are also stored in Exchange Online for information protection. However, these are not accessible immediately since these are stored in a hidden folder (Teamschat) within the user mailbox in Exchange Online. This folder contains all the chat conversations and each member of the chat retains their own copy. This folder exists for the purpose of data retention, litigation holds, and compliance. 

Files shared within a chat

Files that are shared in a private or a group chat are stored in the OneDrive for Business of the user who shared the file,  in a folder called “Microsoft Teams Chat Files.” Permissions are set on the folder by default to allow all the members of the chat to access the files within the folder. For the members of the chat, these files can be found in the Shared folder of their OneDrive.

3. Teams channel data storage

When you create a team in Teams, it automatically creates a Microsoft 365 group, a group mailbox, and a SharePoint site. Within the SharePoint site, a document library is created for each channel in the team. 

Channel messages

Teams standard channel messages are stored in an Azure-powered chat service; the data is also copied to a hidden folder in the group mailbox, for information protection. For private channels, messages are copied to the user mailbox of the channel members, rather than to the group mailbox.

Files shared within a channel

Files shared within a standard channel are stored in the document library created for that channel, in the team’s associated SharePoint site. Each private channel has a separate SharePoint site, where the channel files will be stored. This ensures that the files shared in a private channel are available only to the members of that channel.   

Email messages sent to channels

Email messages sent to channels are stored in a folder (called “Email messages”) within the team's corresponding SharePoint site.

protipPro tip

Since a large amount of Teams data is stored in SharePoint, it is important to consider SharePoint storage limitations. The total SharePoint storage limit is set at 1TB plus 10GB x number of licensed Microsoft 365 users in your tenant. If you exceed the limit, you will have to purchase additional storage priced at $200/month/TB. To save on storage costs, you can opt for a third-party backup solution, like SysCloud.

Note:

1) Tabs can be added to a chat or a channel to help integrate cloud services that’s a part of Microsoft 365 as well as supported third-party applications. This helps users to easily access and manage the data they need in the context of a conversation.  Storage location for data shared within various tabs varies according to the type of the tab. A tab that includes information from a third-party app stores the data directly in the system used by the third party and only presents a view of the data for Teams users. If it’s a native Microsoft app that has been integrated, the data will be stored in SharePoint. 
2) Images or stickers shared within a chat are stored in a media store in Azure. GIFs are not stored. 

4. Teams calls data storage

Meeting recordings

All meeting recordings are saved to the ‘Recordings’ folder in either OneDrive or SharePoint, depending on whether the meeting takes place within a chat or a channel. Chat meeting recordings are stored in the OneDrive for Business of the user who recorded the meeting, and are shared with all the members of the chat. Channel meeting recordings are stored in the channel’s document library in SharePoint, accessible to all the channel members.

Voicemail, call summary, and contacts

Voicemail, call summary, and contacts are stored in the user mailbox in Exchange Online.

Meeting chats

Messages shared within a Teams meeting via the meeting chat box are stored in the same way as chat and channel messages:  
1) If the meeting takes place within a Teams chat, the messages shared will be stored in a hidden folder within the user mailbox. Files shared through the meeting chat box will be stored in the OneDrive for Business of the user who shared the file, and can be accessed by everyone who participated  in the meeting. 
2) If the meeting takes place within a Teams channel, the messages shared will be stored in a hidden folder within the group mailbox. Files shared via the meeting chat box will be stored in the channel’s document library in SharePoint. 

5. Teams calendar data storage

Teams calendar data is stored in Exchange Online. Personal calendar is stored in the user mailbox while a group calendar is stored in the group mailbox corresponding to the team.

6. Teams files data storage

Files that are shared in a channel are stored in the SharePoint folder corresponding to the channel, and can be accessed via the ‘Files’ tab at the top of the channel. These files are available to all the channel members. 
Files that are shared in a chat are stored in the OneDrive for Business of the person who shared the file, and can be accessed via the ‘Files’ tab at the top of the chat. These files are available to all the chat participants. 

Conclusion

While Teams makes use of several Microsoft 365 services to deliver multiple features to a central location, it is important to remember that your Teams data is not stored in a central location. Once you understand where the different types of data within Teams are stored, you can easily apply retention policies and legal holds to retain your organizational Teams data. It also helps you to narrow down eDiscovery content searches to specific locations. While retention policies and legal holds help to ensure legal compliance, it is not a data backup alternative. Using these as a Teams backup solution is risky, inefficient, and does not safeguard against data loss.  

SysCloud Backup for Microsoft 365 provides automated, secure cloud backup for all your Microsoft 365 apps, including Teams. With SysCloud, administrators can easily restore Teams data, with all app relationships intact.  

In this article

  • Teams data architecture
  • Chat data storage
  • Channel data storage
  • Calls data storage
  • Calendar data storage
  • Files data storage
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