Review of Backupify Migrator for Google Apps

Migrator Screen Shot

This is a review of the Migrator for Google Apps tool from Backupify.  This is a very useful tool for admins to transfer all the data from a Google Apps user in one domain to another.  The tool allows you one free migration with which you can test functionality and any further migrations are $15 per user account.

I work with a client that has been using Google Apps for Business for a few years now.  When they created their Google Apps accounts, Google didn’t yet support the creation of multiple domains and this client had always historically used different email domains for different geographic regions.  Recently, the decision was taken to incorporate all the regions under a single universal email domain.  For the home office’s account it was a simple procedure of adding the new domain name and making it the primary domain.  For regions that had been set up as separate Google Apps accounts, this was a much more challenging task that would require creation of new user accounts on the new primary domain and transfer of all the users’ existing Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Drive data into the new accounts.  You would encounter a similar situation if a company with existing Google Apps service is absorbed or merged into another company that uses Google Apps.

We first ran a test migration using a dummy account that was populated with emails and shared calendars and data in Drive and this all transferred as hoped with shared calendars and Drive data being automatically re-shared with members of the same organisation at the new domain.  After being happy with this initial transfer we proceeded with the batch migration of the entire domain.  The Migrator has great documentation about all the processes and a template .CSV file for you to download to populate with all your user data to transfer.  The Migrator can handle batch migrations of up to 50 users at a time, which meant we only needed one pass to do all of our 28 users.

The process was as simple as checking through settings on the source and destination Google Apps Domains (specifically to ensure Federated Login using OpenID was turned on), choosing a batch migration on the Migrator App, authenticating to both source and destination domains as a Super User, and uploading the .CSV batch file.  Many of our users had close to 30 GB of data in their Google accounts and 25 of the 28 users were completed within 12 hours, with the last few completing within 16.  The whole way through the migration you can monitor progress of both the entire domain and individual users’ accounts both statistically and graphically, which is always reassuring to see constant progress when some larger accounts transfer very slowly.

After migration was completed we were very happy with the results.  There were a couple of small bits to tidy up but nothing had failed and all the data was intact.  The first thing to note is that because our Google Apps domains are set with the option, in Drive settings, of “For files owned by users in warn when sharing outside of”, when the Drive files were re-shared on the new domain they were automatically re-shared with all the associated personnel within the domain but were not automatically re-shared with 3rd party collaborators outside the company.  This didn’t cause much disruption but is worth noting to anyone who will be migrating groups that collaborate with external users much more widely.  The second minor thing is a result of a long-known occurrence in Apple’s where the software repeatedly saves drafts of an email in the process of being written.  Mail and Google seem to have hidden all the multitude of drafts this creates pretty well in normal practice, but after migration my users that use found that they had thousands of draft messages in the new account.  These iterations must have been hidden in the old Google account but when all the data copied to the new account it wasn’t clever enough to be able to re-hide or discard this information.  Luckily, any “meant” drafts were placed at the very beginning of the list and it wasn’t a difficult task to delete all the unnecessary detritus.

Overall I have to say that I’d highly recommend this app.  It did the job extremely well and without it the manual migration of all of this data would have been an extremely long and arduous task.  The minor issues I encountered I really only bring up as caution so Admins can steer their way around them in advance and they didn’t present any major inconvenience.  At $15 per account the Migrator for Google Apps tool from Backupify is an absolute bargain.