Why would you merge Workspaces?
In most cases, the need to merge two Google Workspace environments arises from mergers & acquisitions. It depends from case to case what needs to be migrated. In most cases this regards the migration of both Gmail, contacts and calendar – and almost always Google Drive is involved as well. The goal is to get a seamless user experience for all users within an organization.
Where to start?
Project & change management is key, like in all IT transitions. We’ve defined 7 essential steps for a Google to Google migration. You can read them in short on our Migrations web page, or download them in our more elaborate whitepaper.
An important part of a Google to Google migration is to form a group of key users. We usually start with migrating the key users to get an even better understanding of the project and detect possible issues for the ‘bulk’ migration part early on.
How long does a migration take?
This depends on the scope of the migration, there’s an obvious difference between only migrating Gmail for 100 accounts, or migrating Google Drive as well for 1.000 accounts. The time a migration takes depends mainly on file count, rather than file size, due to how Google Drive is designed. Most people are unaware of this fact, which could make a significant difference.
Customers usually have ballpark figures about the amount of data, on which we can estimate migration duration. We’re also happy to run custom scripts to get a clear picture.
What happens to email during a migration?
Most migrations are scheduled in a quiet period, for example during the weekend. This way we limit inconvenience for users. No matter what time you choose, nobody wants email to get lost during a migration. That’s why we’ve developed a temporary email server setup to overcome the issue.
How does a temporary email server work?
A temporary email server works like an interceptor for email during the migration process. Usually, your DNS points to Google servers, but for the (migration) time being, we change this. This way no email gets lost, and all email is present in the new Gmail environment.
What about migrating Drive permissions?
Migrating files is a fairly easy thing to do, things get interesting when we talk about sharing rights. Within Google Drive, users have the ability to share files with specific users, domains or share them externally. There are quite a few tools on the market like CloudM or Bittitan. However, these tools generate copies of the Google Drive files. In some cases, that is exactly what’s needed (e.g. when a company leaves the group), but in most cases, you do not want duplicate files to exist after the migration. These permissions are difficult to transfer, but we’ve developed a custom script that achieves this. The same can be applied to Google Calendar.
Are there other things we need to consider?
Some things we are not able to migrate, like Google Keep or task. Within Gmail there are a few things that can’t be migrated: labels, custom icons, notes & filters. It’s important to acknowledge these things beforehand, and communicate about it. The first two steps in our migration process take care for that: when we talk about scopes, milestones, and stakeholder communication. When communicated clearly, we never see issues around these topics in organizations we help with migrations.
We can imagine you have a lot of questions about migrations. You can read about our approach to Google to Google migrations in our whitepaper (download form below). Or schedule a call with Martijn Veenstra to discuss all possibilities.