A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 8: Changing MX records

Day summary

We have come to the point where we are completely ready to change the MX records for all the domains. The process involved a lot of manual work but we split up the domains and managed to do it in a short amount of time. When we finished we ended up with all domains pointed to G Suite.

Once we completed the MX records change, we moved then to fixing all SPF records. Started with the primary domain there was not a lot to do. We just added the Google part of the SPF record to the existing one and we were all set.

After changing the MX records we found out about some issues in group permissions and other issues about bad forwarding settings between G Suite and Office 365 and managed to fix them all.

We also took a quick look about the progress of the … Read the rest “A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 8: Changing MX records”

A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 7: Completing the coexistence setup

Day summary

After getting the migration going, we moved to the next objective which is to complete the setup of the coexistence scenario between G Suite and Office 365. All what’s left was to setup the MX records and activate the forwarding from G Suite to Office 365.

I started with preparing a table for all the customer’s domains and then put all the required MX records in that table for each domain. And to be honest.. That was the most annoying thing I ever did! Once I completed the table, we agreed to do a change for one domain to test the delivery.

Prior to changing the MX records as we agreed, I had to enable the domain wide forwarding rule which was created earlier on the Admin Console. Then we were able to change the MX records.

I made sure we get all the old MX records documented … Read the rest “A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 7: Completing the coexistence setup”

A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 6: Going even faster with the migration

Day summary

On the first day of the week, we were met by the head of IT department in the customer site.. Suddenly he made a request that is awesome and bad at the same time.. He wanted to deliver 1500 users to the help-desk by the end of the week… So this was awesome because it means that we can deliver users faster, but it was bad at the same time because it meant that we need to setup more VM instances to be used for the migration work and we need to order more licenses for each user, and they have multiple domains, so it meant we needed to order multiple licenses for each domain to cover the amount of users…

We received the list of the 1500 users and I sorted them out based on the domain… This was a great opportunity also to show the customer … Read the rest “A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 6: Going even faster with the migration”

A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 5: Going full speed on migration, Users change from domain to domain

Day summary

This day is also a weekend, but things went very smooth and quiet in this day compared to the previous…

All I had to do is to run all the other remaining VMs and get the migration going. I also used DMS (Data Migration Services) from G Suite Admin Console to migrate number of IT users (all of IT actually) as we agreed during the migration planning. All work was completed relatively quick… However there was a little change that affected number of users I did not expect!

The customer had about 26 domains or more, they use them all for receiving email, but not all of them are used to send… All the users that were started on CloudMigrator were on a single domain (that’s why I finished quick!), but turned out they will not use that single domain for sending email… They were distributed on multiple … Read the rest “A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 5: Going full speed on migration, Users change from domain to domain”

A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 4: Starting up migration, the NDRs mishap!

Day summary

This day is a weekend.. Although I put it clear to everyone around me that I never work in weekends.. this was no ordinary time to apply this rule, so we did work on this day!

The main tasks that we needed to accomplish this day was to prepare the migration computers (VMs on GCP), and sorting out the user groups to be migrated (based on domains)..

I started out the work by creating the virtual machines on Google Cloud Platform, and I installed CloudMigrator on each one, having already requested the licenses, I made sure they were available easily on each migration machine, as I was trying to make things simple and getting to anything related to the project easy from every machine.. because I was expecting a big mess to come later on when we start the migrations (and it did indeed come!).. I ended up … Read the rest “A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 4: Starting up migration, the NDRs mishap!”

A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 3: More manual work!

Day summary

So we ended the previous day with a lot of things done, in fact the day ended while we still had a lot on our list of unfinished work, so we were all eager to start the next day to finish the pending work.

In this day, we had to complete the user sync setup between active directory and Google. Before going into the details about this, I need to explain how we ended up dividing users to groups and the criteria we categorized users on.

Looking at the customer’s total data sizes, it was about 31TB of email messages. Of this 31TB there were 14TB used by about 450 users only. Those users started from 20GB per-mailbox up to 50GB… The remaining 17TB was distributed among the remaining 3000 users.

Because we had very little time, we thought that 45% of data can be done easy enough … Read the rest “A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 3: More manual work!”

A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 2: Getting things warmer

Day summary

This day was all about the directory and password sync tools… We wanted to finalize their configuration to allow the support team the time for demonstrations and practices before going out to users and change their profiles…

We started out by working on GCDS, once we started working on the tool, we were faced with two critical problems:

  1. Turned out the current number of licenses on the G Suite Admin Console is less than the actual number of users and less than what the customer has approved.
  2. The OU that the customer wanted to sync was including disabled users, service accounts and a lot of user accounts with their ‘mail’ attribute value is wrong (it contained spaces in the beginning and end of the field).

We started out working on the second problem, since it is more visible to us and we knew what to do to fix … Read the rest “A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 2: Getting things warmer”

A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 1: Starting up

Day summary

We started the project with a technical workshop with the customer IT teams. They had 2 teams working on this: infrastructure and hosting team, and the end-user support team. We divided ourselves into two teams as well, I went with the infrastructure team, and we sent 2 guys to help the support team making their plans, guides, and process to start working on users.

Our initial plan was to start users data migration as soon as possible, first we need to get an idea about the distribution of sizes, and then we will sort out the largest mailboxes and do the migration for them at first, our idea was since we have limited time and we have a risk of losing access to the old service once the subscription is over, we at least have the bulk of the data migrated… Among the group of the large mailboxes, … Read the rest “A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 1: Starting up”

A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days!

So we recently won a really great project… 3600 users on Office 365 to G Suite, the IT team of the customer were very convinced and willing to change, however the time frame we got for the whole project was somehow ‘tight’…

I’ve done pre-sales part on this project, and we originally started with them on a POC where two of their IT members migrated their data and created forwarding from Office 365 to G Suite. Then the testing circle slowly expanded to include their CIO.

Once we got the IT’s satisfaction, the CIO submitted his report to the board. They needed one week to make the decision and we won the deal.

Turns out that after sitting with CIO after the approval that we have only 75 days 60 days to finish the whole project. Their subscription will expire and they will not renew, and they already sent the … Read the rest “A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days!”

Tips for designing a coexistence scenario between Exchange Server and G Suite

I’ll try in this article to list and briefly explain what need to be considered and checked while designing the coexistence scenario between the Exchange server and G Suite.

It is worth to mention that basically 90% of the work is not going to change for most of projects, so this can serve as a reference and a plan to apply for most of the projects to come.

Through out the work and experience I have got, I believe the below points are the most common settings and configuration that need to be checked and changed. I’ll also keep the list updated with anything I encounter that is not on it later on…

Put all contact objects used for forwarding in a separate special OU

You will face the need to create mail contacts on the Exchange server to forward mail to them. Depending on the size if the project, … Read the rest “Tips for designing a coexistence scenario between Exchange Server and G Suite”