Thinking about moving the Exchange Server to Google Apps

Thinking about moving the Exchange Server to Google Apps

Has anyone done this?

We have 5 users and are thinking about moving to google

Is the Google email slow to send receive/update exchange folders on the move?
schas123Asked:
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NSBConsultingConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Yes. I have done this several times. It is not challenging.

Depending on the version of Exchange you are migrating from, you may need to assign a new Domain Admin (that is not the built-in Admin account) to run Google's Exchange Migration Tool. You should also run the Exchange Migration Tool from a client computer, not the server. It will not run directly from a server machine (I recommend your fastest client, hard-wired with as little data overhead as possible).

Additionally, please be aware that Google Apps uses customized IMAP for its protocol between Google Apps Sync for Outlook and the Google mail servers.

There are programs (particularly on-site CRM and other database software) that may tie into Outlook using a plugin. Since Google Apps Sync for Outlook is based on IMAP, this may break functions of your other software that ties into Outlook (ie. Filing e-mails in a CRM through an Outlook Plugin).

There are some steps that Google Does not outline and if this is your first rodeo, I would highly recommend that you take the following steps:
1. Ensure that your Google Apps account is fully operational (aside from MX record changes) prior to starting any mail migration;
2. Purchase an MX Record Backup service (from DynDns or other) so that if either server is down during your transition, mail will be held until one of the servers comes back online (this is a MUST and LIFESAVER);
3. Setup mail forwarding from your Exchange accounts to your test-domain provided by Google (this is located in DOMAINS in the Google Apps Admin Console);
4. Ensure that your users are familiar with the Google Apps Interface because you will not want users using Exchange while mail is being migrated (obviously do this entire process off-hours, if possible);
5. Once users are comfortable with the Google Apps Interface, change MX records;
6. Begin mail migration.

If you run into issues, please let me know and I will do my best to help you resolve.
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schas123Author Commented:
Thank you so much for your advise.

I would like to see the interface if I can?

Does it let users use existing "exchange" folders?

Are there any speed issues?
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NSBConsultingCommented:
You can signup for a trial account at www.google.com/a/

I want to emphasize how important it is to sign-up with the most-used domain of your company or client. Multiple domains can be applied to a single Google Apps Domain account, but the first one chosen is the one that users will use to login. Forever. This cannot be changed.

This service is completely autonomous from on-premise Exchange or any other Exchange-type service. Users will not have access to Exchange folders.

If you would like to use the service in tandem with Exchange, it is possible, but it is not recommended.
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Allen FalconConnect With a Mentor CEO & Pragmatic EvangelistCommented:
The Google Apps Sync for MS Outlook (GASMO) does NOT use IMAP.  It uses Microsoft's MAPI protocol.  As such, Outlook will see Google Apps as if it were an Exchange server.  The user experience, including personal folders, contacts, and calendars is nearly identical and performance is fine.

With only 5 users, you may want to use GASMO to migrate the data for each user from their machines.  It will be easier than configuring and running the GAMME tool mentioned in an earlier post.  

You do not need to purchase a 3rd party service for the transition, you can configure dual delivery to ensure zero data loss, even if your Exchange server goes down during the migration.  

If you want to be worry-free, and get assistance with connecting mobile devices, configuring resource calendars, etc, you may want to go with a Google Apps Premier Reseller.  The setup, configuration, and migration cost should be under $750 for your environment, and would include some admin training.

Other recommendations:
* Get the Partner version of FlashPanel (not the free version that you install yourself).  It provides tools for managing shared contacts and other helpful things
* Consider training your team on the web interface -- it is more feature rich and provides a more unified view when you work from desktop/laptop devices and mobile devices.  Self-paced video training programs are about $10 per person per year; many resellers bundle the training into packages
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NSBConsultingCommented:
Good luck. I'm out.
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schas123Author Commented:
I appreciate your help,

Can you tell me if its fast, I know this is a hard question because it depends on the environment & etc.
But when you made the change, did you notice speed issues?

or any issues?
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Allen FalconCEO & Pragmatic EvangelistCommented:
Performance is not an issue.  Google Apps are fast.
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schas123Author Commented:
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 250 points for NSBConsulting's comment #a40353689
Assisted answer: 0 points for schas123's comment #a40353808
Assisted answer: 250 points for Allen Falcon's comment #a40354527

for the following reason:

I really appreciate your advice
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schas123Author Commented:
Thank you, your advice is appreciated
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