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Migrating your School to Google Apps for Education in 10 Steps. Technology Engineering Group.

Migrating your School to Google Apps for Education in 10 Steps

November 11, 2014

So as an IT administrator you’ve been given district approval to go ahead with the migration of your school district’s existing IT infrastructure to Google Apps for Education…great!  So now what?  You’ve heard that Google Apps deployments can take as little as a day or as long as 6 weeks – but how do you get your network to the desired state of ‘Migration Complete’?  This article will provide you with an overview of the 10 steps listed in the Google Apps for Education Deployment Guide, to ensure that your school’s migration will go smoothly and swiftly.

Step 1: View the Deployment Webinar – Don’t skip this step; it’s worth the time.  This overview can be viewed in under an hour and provides a “big picture” view of the steps that need to be taken for a successful deployment.

Step 2: Set up your Domains – Google makes the following recommendations for selecting one of these domain name scenarios:

  • Recommended: One domain per Google Apps instance = School faculty, staff, and students all use one domain housed within one Google Apps account
  • Recommended: Multiple domains per Google Apps instance = School faculty, staff, and students all housed under one Google Apps account, but with a domain for students separate from school employees
  • Not Recommended: Managing multiple Google Apps instances is not recommended because of the inability for the two instances to collaborate seamlessly. = Having separate Google Apps instances for faculty and staff and another for the student body

Step 3: Sign up domain(s) for Google Apps – Click here to sign-up your school’s domain(s) with Google Apps for Education.

Step 4: Determine your organizational structure – Breaking the organization down into segments can assist with the management of your infrastructure.  As an example, you could create one organization for faculty and another for students.  This structure allows IT admins to turn off services for various organizational units – like restricting receiving and sending emails for one group or another to only within your domain.

Step 5: Set up your mail architecture and flow – Determine which servers your DNS records for mail (MX records) will point to.  Options include the following, and the best choice will depend on your current set up:

  1. Configure dual delivery through a legacy server.
  2. Configure dual delivery through Google servers.
  3. Configure split delivery through Google servers.

Step 6: Provision your organization – Choose a method for setting up and adding users in Google Apps.

  • CSV Uploads
    • This is the simplest way to provision users – by uploading 500 users at a time to Google Apps through .csv files.
    • If you utilize the .csv upload provisioning, format your file as a table with headers and define each field like this:

    Cell A1: Email Address | Cell B1: First Name | Cell C1: Last Name | Cell D1: Password

  • Google Apps Directory Sync – Sync directory changes with the user data in your LDAP server with Google Apps Directory.
  • Provisioning API – Customize, personalize, and enable access for your users to Google Apps through programming interfaces.

Step 7: Set up Authentication – Choose whether your users will authenticate straight to Google or through another school-located login interface service.

  1. Store passwords in Google Apps
  2. Configure Single Sign-on (SSO)

Step 8: Data Migration – Data can be migrated from the client side or server side, depending on your setup and level of user knowledge.  Your options include:

  1. No data migration
  2. Migrating data for users from the server side
  3. Allowing users to migrate their data from the client side

Step 9: Extra Deployment Resources – Additional resources to assist you and other IT admins with your school’s migration to Google Apps:

  1. Domain Best Practices Guide – Tips for optimizing your Google Apps environment and migration
  2. YouTube for Schools – A means to access educational videos from inside your school’s domain
  3. Google Apps Marketplace – More apps that can enhance the available offerings for your school district
  4. Connect with other admins through Google Apps forums – A place to ask for help and share tips amongst other admins
  5. Chrome Web Store – Additional web applications that can be installed into Chrome
  6. Professional Development & Training Resources – Guides for professional development, using Google Apps in classrooms, and training materials

Step 10: Post-deployment Resources

  1. Review recommended bandwidth limits:
    1. Web client download capped at 1250 MB per day
    2. Uploads through web clients limited to 500MB per day
  2. Keep up on product releases and updates
  3. Review the following resources for further support:
    1. Apps Status Dashboard
    2. Google Apps Known Issues
    3. Google Enterprise Blog
    4. Google for Education and Google + pages
    5. Google Apps Support

By following these 10 steps and utilizing the many resources Google provides for guidance, your migration to Google Apps for Education in your school district is sure to receive an A+ from faculty, staff, and students!

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