The process of migrating from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps involves these major steps. Click on a step for more information about the tools, resources, and best practices to assist you in a smooth migration.1. Provision users in Google Apps
The first migration step is to establish Google Apps user accounts for your users. Google provides a variety of ways to create user accounts. The basic options are described in this Help Center article.
If you have a modest number of users, the most straightforward way to provision users is to create a comma-separated value (CSV) file containing information about the users and upload it into Google Apps.
You have a couple of more sophisticated options when migrating from Microsoft Exchange:
- Use Google Apps Directory Sync to provision users, groups, profiles, and shared contacts based on data in an LDAP directory such as Microsoft Active Directory
- Implement a single sign-on (SSO) service using the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) standard
Google Apps Directory Sync provides a configuration wizard for mapping data from your LDAP user list to your Google Apps users, groups, profiles, and shared contacts. The mapping can include rich user profile data such as addresses, phone numbers, and job titles. Once the mapping is in place, Directory Sync connects to Google Apps and performs a one-way synchronization from the LDAP directory. You can schedule the synchronization to run periodically to capture changes in the LDAP directory.
For larger deployments with Google Apps for Business, Education, or ISPs, Google Apps offers a SAML-based SSO service. This service provides you with full control over the authorization and authentication of hosted user accounts that can access Google Apps. You can learn more about setting up the SSO service in this Help Center article.
The Google Apps team typically provides only reactive support for SSO. However, you can get professional assistance with SSO setup from one of our partners in the Google Apps Marketplace.
2. Configure mail delivery to Google Apps.
Once you have established Google Apps user accounts, you can configure your domain to deliver mail to those accounts. You have a number of delivery options, outlined in this Help Center article.
With dual delivery, incoming mail continues to be delivered to your Microsoft Exchange server, which processes each message and also forwards a copy to Google Apps. One advantage to this configuration is that it does not require you to change the mail exchange (MX) records for your domain.
In order for dual delivery to work, each user in your domain needs to have a secondary email address in Google Apps to which the Microsoft Exchange server can forward mail. You have two options for establishing the secondary email addresses:
- Use the standard temporary test address provided by Google, in the form email@example.com
- Create a domain alias for your domain
For details about configuring dual delivery through your Microsoft Exchange server, see Configure dual delivery - Legacy server primary.
3. Migrate data from the legacy system to Google Apps, if desired.
Google provides several tools for migrating data from your legacy system to Google Apps.
- To migrate email, contacts, and calendars stored on the Microsoft Exchange server, use Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange.
- Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook® lets individual users migrate their own calendar, contact, and email data from Microsoft® Exchange or from local PST files to Google Apps.
- To migrate email, contacts, and calendars stored on local machines, use Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook.
- If neither of these tools meets your needs, refer to this Help Center article for a comparison of the available options for email migration, and this article for the calendar migration options.
4. Configure the Google Apps environment.
To ease the transition to Google Apps, you may want to configure the environment so that it feels familiar to users coming from your legacy system. This section describes how to recreate some of the functionality from Microsoft Exchange.
Can a user continue to use Microsoft Outlook or another email client?
Yes. Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook is a Microsoft Outlook plug-in that enables a user to access Google Apps email, calendar, and contacts from an Outlook client. The product synchronizes all data between Google Apps and Outlook.
Google Apps also supports using any email client that uses IMAP, including mobile devices.
Can a user delegate access to his or her account?
Yes, as long as the administrator enables the functionality. To enable users to delegate access to other users, the administrator needs to choose Settings > Email from the Google Admin console, and select the check box Let users delegate access to their mailbox to others in the domain.
When this check box is selected in the Admin console, users can delegate access to their email accounts.
Can I create a global address book of shared contacts?
Yes. All users and groups in your domain are automatically added to the global address book, and you can add additional entries using the Shared Contacts API.
For more information about sharing contacts using Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, see this Help Center article.
Can I create shared calendars?
Yes, as long as the administrator enables the functionality. See this Help Center article about the administrative options for calendar sharing. The Admin console settings determine which options users have for sharing their calendars.
Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook synchronizes a user's calendars between Microsoft Outlook and Google Apps. You can create calendars in either place and have them appear in the other. See this Help Center article for some best practices, and this article for information about sharing calendars using Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook.
How do I create Public Folders?
Google Apps does not support Public Folders in the sense that Microsoft Exchange uses them. However, you can implement similar functionality by using groups to create a shared mailbox, or by using shared folders in Google Drive.
Can I use a Google-hosted SMTP server to send mail on behalf of a printer, scanner, fax machine, or web form?
Yes. If the sending device supports SSL, you can connect to smtp.gmail.com on port 465 or 587 and send mail to anyone, including users outside of your domain. The SSL connection requires authentication using a Google Apps user name and password. If the sending device does not support SSL, you can send mail to users within your domain by connecting to aspmx.l.google.com on port 25. No authentication is required to send mail using the standard Google Apps mail server, aspmx.l.google.com.
5. Train users on Google Apps.
Training users on Google Apps before rolling out the applications is an important factor in a successful deployment. Google offers a variety of resources for end-user training, including video tutorials, getting started guides, and quick reference sheets. The Google Apps Deployment site includes many resources for your users, as does the Apps Learning Center.
6. Roll out Google Apps to the organization.
The Google Apps Deployment site provides many resources for managing a pilot or full deployment of Google Apps, from planning to ongoing user support.