Google Apps Deployment Phase 2: Setup & Provisioning

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Google Apps Deployment Guide

There a three primary setup activities to perform when preparing for the data migration of a Google Apps Deployment. First being the migration station set up, secondly the installation of the migration tool on the migration station, and lastly the Google Apps instance initial setup and user provisioning.

Migration Station Setup

A migration station is necessary to be set up on premise in most Google Apps Deployments in which the legacy server is one located on premise. With respect to speed and firewall issues, setting up the migration tool on a machine that is on premise as well in these situations is the preferred method over a cloud based migration tool.

A migration station can be an in-house server, virtual server or even simply a desktop or laptop computer. It simply needs to serve as hardware in which to install the migration tool. It is not recommended to install the migration tool directly on the mail server. When selecting a migration station, you will want to be sure it fulfills the minimum hardware requirements for the migration tool and feel confident in it’s processing power to perform a data migration.

Multiple migration stations are able to be setup and run concurrently with separate installs of the migration tool running on each. This is a common practice to speed up migration by bypassing limitations in processing power or migration tool batch limits. However you will want to note that there are other factors such as network bandwidth and Google server’s acceptance rate of data that will limit your speed of migration.

Google Apps Instance Setup

The primary tasks in setting up your Google Apps Instance for the first time will be: Initial Configuration, User Provisioning and Group / Resource Provisioning.

Initial Configuration

Initial configuration is the simple task of adjusting the control panel settings to ensure you’re able to start executing the migration with as little delays as possible. Below is a checklist of the necessary steps you will want to take to be ready to perform the migration.

  1. Ensure you have a secondary (off domain) email address setup in the company profile
  2. Verify your primary domain (and any other domains receiving mail)
  3. Enable the provisioning API
  4. Enable the Email Migration API
  5. Enable Oauth: Two Legged Oauth

User Provisioning

You have three choices when provisioning users into Google Apps for the first time.

  1. Use Google’s interface to input them one by one
  2. Bulk upload them via a spreadsheet
  3. Setup an integration tool such as GADS to import them directly from your existing LDAP directory

If you plan on managing your users from your existing directory or have a larger employee count, a GADS setup will likely be the best choice.

If syncing with your existing directory, you will want to take note of the current state of your directory’s data and be sure the users, user data and group structure is in a state that you would like to import into Google Apps. For organizations wishing to migrate passwords from Active Directory they will need to use the Google Apps Password Sync tool (GAPS) to do so.

You will want to account for users with nicknames john@xyzcompany.com (e.g.john.smith@xyzcompany.com) and/or aliases (e.g. john@abccompany.com) that are currently receiving mail at these addresses. For organizations not performing a sync with GADS, you will want to consult a Google Apps Consultant or visit the Google Apps Marketplace for the ability to add nicknames and aliases in bulk as the ability to do so is not native.

Group & Calendar Resource Provisioning

Groups and Calendar resources maintained in your current LDAP directory are able to be synced via the GADS tool. In order to bulk upload Groups and Calendar Resources, consult a Google Apps Consultant or reference the Google Apps Marketplace.

Housekeeping

To minimize go live issues you will want to make sure the following tasks are performed in the setup and provisioning phase.

  • All domains receiving mail are set to the lowest TTL within the DNS
  • Google’s servers are added as an SPF record in the DNS
  • Company spam filtering rules are replicated
  • Necessary 3rd party security and management applications are installed and tested

During the Setup and Provisioning phase it is important to prepare data, provisions and your programs for migration which will help facilitate your deployment of Google Apps. To learn more about the other phase of Google Apps Deployment download our Google Apps Deployment Guide.

This article is Part 10 of Google Gooru’s Comprehensive Guide to a Google Apps Deployment. To access the entire guide for FREE, please fill out the form located here.

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