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Google Apps Admin Support Resources

3 minute read

General Google Apps Yellow

Let’s face it, being a Google Apps Admin can be a bit challenging for some, as it is not as “well established” as a Microsoft Server Admin position. People often compare administering Google Apps to administering Microsoft Server, and claim the documentation and training are not as good as Microsoft, and they would be right…by about 13 years. Google introduced the very first versions of Google Apps back in 2006, a full thirteen years after Microsoft gave us Windows NT Advanced Server back in 1993.

But enough of a history lesson. The topic for today is about support resources for being a Google Apps Admin.

In the several years that I have been a Google Apps Admin a lot has changed both with the way I admin, and also the things I need to admin.

  • Like most, we started off manually creating user accounts in the Control Panel / CPANEL
  • We then quickly switched to the “bulk upload” process for creating users
  • And we finally ended up using a product called Google Apps Directory Sync (GADS) to create and suspend accounts.

Google regularly updates their docs and processes, and recently gave their lead page a refresh, so take a look here (Go to “Users & domains” then “User management”) for lots of good information on user management.

While the support page from Google is a very good starting point for education and support, where do I go for additional support, or where do I recommend others go?

1. The first thing I suggest is to search for your problem on Google. It seems obvious, though many people often overlook this key step. When reading the results however, I often stick to websites and domains that I know or trust.

2. The Google Product Forums are a great place to find crowdsourced problems and solutions for most consumer-side Google Applications and services, but not necessarily the best resource for questions specific to Google Apps administration. I’ve spent many hours reading and contributing here and may someday try for a spot as a Top Contributor.

3. The regional Google Apps communities are great resources as well, and some of the better kept secrets in the Google world (you have to apply, but should be approved quickly). Globally there are over 10 different regional groups that have their own forum and occasional face-to-face meeting and are moderated by Google community managers. I have found these to be very valuable.

4. The “premium” support forums are great, but they will cost you extra.  The content is not substantially different; however, the audience is generally the large (and very large) “Enterprise” customers. A very interesting thing to note, is that many of the members from the premium forums are also equally active in the regional forums.

How do I know when there is a problem with my Google Apps domain, besides hearing from my users?

There are several sources to check:

How do I find out about changes to Google and Google Apps?

You have a few options here, and I recommend using more than one:

  • Like everything else from Google, there is the official site which covers news about some of the “core” Google Apps products.
  • The regional Forums are also a good place
  • Personally I get a lot of my Google news about changes and updates directly from the many Google Blogs.

Most sources have an RSS feed, which I subscribe to using Google Reader (I previously wrote about this in my blog.)

Key takeaway

The main thing to realize about support resources is that you don’t need to limit yourself to what is provided by Google. There are plenty of Google Apps admins in the same position as you, and consulting with them through a number of different channels can be extremely useful.

Part Two: Introduction to the Google Apps Control Panel for Google Apps Admins


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