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Choosing your domain design

In addition to carefully choosing your primary domain for your Google accounts, you should consider your domain design options, which include:

  • Single identityYou provision all users in a single domain.
  • MultidomainYou can provision accounts both in a primary domain and in secondary domains.
  • Separate accounts (not recommended)You can spread users across multiple Google accounts.

PVC domain design

The following sections list and describe the domain design options, including the pros and cons, and feature comparison.

Domain design options (pros and cons)
  Pros Cons
Single identity
  • Users cannot sign in using secondary domains.
  • Users who want to use an alias from a secondary domain can use this identity for sending email only—not calendar invites or doc sharing—a user with alternative branding can send mail using “send as” but cannot send cal invites or doc sharing.
  • If mail is sent from an alias or nickname, the recipient can determine the primary identity in the headers.
  • Potential conflicts can arise if a user in a secondary domain has the same username as a user in the primary domain.
Multi-domain
  • A user in a secondary domain can have the same username as a user in the primary domain without causing any conflict.
  • Users can sign in and have an identity at a primary or secondary domain.
  • Users at secondary domains can send email, calendar invites, and doc sharing from their identity at that domain.
  • Administration restricted per account
  • Multidomain limitations may apply.
  • If a user in a secondary domain and a user in the primary domain have the same user name, it is not flagged.
  • Users can sign in and have an external identity at the required domain.
Separate accounts (not recommended)
  • Multidomain limitations—for example, the following features are supported for the primary domain only:
    • Custom logo
    • Domain aliases
    • You cannot restrict sharing to the users in a single domain.
  • No support for delegating administration by domain
  • No “trust” relationship between accounts—you must set other collaboration services, such as Drive, Sites, Hangouts, and so on to be shared externally.
  • Multiple consoles required for administration
  • Overhead when moving a user between domains
  • No central booking for shared calendar resources
  • Each account maintains a separate Global Address List
  • Email delegation available for “local” users only
Note:
  • For all domain designs, aliases are optional based on customer need.
  • For single identity and separate accounts designs, secondary domains are optional based on customer need.
  • Find more details on multidomain support here.
Domain design options (feature comparison)
  Single identity Multidomain Separate accounts
Admin experience      
Single administration console Yes Yes No
Overhead when transferring a user between domains Low Low High
Sync tool instances required (e.g., GADS, GAPS, GCC) Single Single Multiple
Potential namespace collisions if consolidating domains Yes No No
Involves multi-domain complexities No Yes No
User experience      
Central book for shared calendar resources Yes Yes No
Collaboration functionality among coworkers Best Best Limited
Single corporate GAL Yes Yes Difficult
Email delegation available between coworkers Yes Yes Limited
User ability to have external identity at secondary domain (i.e., send email, cal invites, doc sharing messages) Email only Yes Yes
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