Google Cloud Apps Admins

Running an on-premise Email Server alongside Google Apps.

Written by Joey Allen (Google Admin) | December 7, 2013

Running an on-premise email server along with Google Apps is an excellent solution for those that want to slowly convert to a Google Apps system or for those that are simply testing out the viability of Google Apps for their corporate infrastructure. Some companies may eventually drop their on-premise system while others may continue to use it as a backup system or for other features their system may already provide.

If you're considering switching to Google Business Apps for your email, collaboration, project management and communication needs, you can easily test out the system in this fashion before abandoning your current on-premise system. Many companies today use systems such as Exchange which directly interact with their project collaboration utilities. Google Apps can do all of this and more.

Redirecting an On-Premise Server into Google Apps

  • Ensures that data isn't lost from an old system while transitioning to a new system.
  • An easy solution for users as well as the IT department.
  • Requires a minimum of configuration and setup.

The easiest way to integrate an on-premise email server with Google Apps is to alter your MX record to have your current domain's email routed into Google Apps. This will consolidate all of your email information into a single system under the Google App. This is ideal for those that are transitioning to a purely Google Apps service, as it will catch any stragglers from the old system.

This can also be used as a permanent solution for companies that have an integrated on-premise email system such as Microsoft Exchange. Microsoft Exchange offers more than just email, and integrating the exchange email system with Google apps in this fashion will allow a company to take advantage of other features of the Microsoft Exchange system. 

Integrating On-Premise Servers and Google Apps 

  • Can be used as a long-term solution.
  • Ensures that data isn't lost on either the old system or the new system.
  • Gives employees the option of which system to use.
  • Slightly more complex to configure.

Alternatively, you can configure the system to deliver all of your emails to both your on-premise email solution and to Google Apps. While this system does ensure that nothing is ever lost and that employees have the choice of using either system, it can also be needlessly complex and lead itself to technical issues. Any time either the Microsoft Exchange system or the Google business apps system has issues, the IT office will have to troubleshoot both solutions. 

While having a completely integrated system may cause some system redundancies and other issues, it's often the best solution during a period of integration when a large amount of users are involved. Outbound emails will have to be specifically configured to be used in this fashion. 

Integrating Google Apps with the Single Sign On API

  • Seamlessly integrates multiple systems.
  • Requires very little user training.
  • Can be customized as desired.
  • Does require professional configuration.

The Single Sign On API is the fastest and easiest way to integrate a company's on-premise server with Google business apps. With the Single Sign on API, the integration is handled seamlessly to connect both the on-premise service and the Google Apps service. Users need only log in with configured authentication system and they will immediately have access to both systems.

With the Single Sign On API, Google Apps can be deployed quickly and user training will be mostly trivial. However, a professional will need to be involved to integrate and configure the system properly. Companies can either sync user names and passwords as they are created or can use Google Apps' SAML 2.0 SSO integration.

Reasons for Switching to Google Business Apps

Google Apps is a comprehensive solution for all businesses. With email, calendars, products, documents, presentations and more, Google Apps offers a company the ability to consolidate all of their information into a single system. At the same time, Google business apps doesn't have all of the features that some companies may require. An integration between Google Apps and an on-premise system can resolve this.

With the Google business system, employees can access this data from anywhere in the world, allowing for increased productivity and telecommuting options. The Google Apps system has been making great strides in recent years, and now includes the recently purchased and incredibly popular Dropbox system.