Merge Google Workspace Accounts.

Available tools for combining Google Workspace Accounts 

Introduction

Merging Google Workspace accounts often becomes necessary for our customers following a merger or acquisition. It’s a process that demands careful planning and execution. Our Engineering team at HiView typically handles 5-10 migrations of this type at any time. These projects range in scope, sometimes with many source environments such as Patron’s 12 accounts into one, or Spartan’s 39 accounts into one. In this page, I’ll cover the tools available for merging Google Workspace accounts, ensuring a smooth transition with minimal disruption to your business operations. If you need to cancel a Commitment Plan as part of this move, read more about that process here

Before We Begin
For the purpose of this page, the use of a few terms will be clarified:
  • “Google Workspace Account” Your overall Google Workspace Tenant (eg: my company has 37 users in one Google Workspace Account)
  • “Google Workspace User Accounts.” Individual users or employees within your Workspace Account.
  • “Workspace Domain Transfer” An internal Google service accessible to Workspace Enterprise customers.
  • “Enterprise Customers” Refers to Google Cloud customers classified in the Google Enterprise segment. Contact Us and we can tell you how your account is classified by Google. To be Enterprise, you typically spend millions per year across Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Workspace or have a very large Google Workspace Account with 5,000+ users.
Google’s Migration Tools for Merging Workspace Accounts
Google’s official article regarding Migration Options for Workspace customers can be found here. Official options include the Data Migration Service, Workspace Migrate, and Google Workspace Domain Transfer. These tools are useless for most Workspace customers and 3rd party tools like CloudM are used in almost all migration projects. Here’s more information on each:

Workspace Migrate and Workspace Domain Transfer: These products should be prefaced with “Enterprise-only.” Unless you have 5k+ employees and spend millions with Google, neither option is for you. For Workspace Migrate, the system requirements are $5k/month of Google Cloud Platform infrastructure. Further, the setup process is complex, and we run this for largest migrations, as a general rule. For Workspace Domain Transfer, you’ll need to qualify as a Google Enterprise Customer. And if you do qualify, expect a 5+ month waitlist as of late 2023.

Google Workspace Migrate Interface

Data Migration Service: This service is a built-in tool and supports email only, so pretty much useless.

3rd Party Options for Merging Workspace Accounts
As of late 2023, the gold standard for Merging Workspace Accounts remains CloudM, by Cloud Technology Solutions. All the main Google Migration Partners like HiView use CloudM for the majority of migrations. They are a UK based product company and suck at professional services, so companies like HiView have become the go-to resources in North America for Workspace Migrations using CloudM. 

When CloudM isn’t the perfect fit, our Engineering team turns to specialized adaptations of open-source utilities such as IMAP SYNC and RCLONE. These tools are selected for their unique capabilities in situations where CloudM doesn’t quite cover the needs. Here’s a breakdown from HiView’s Engineering team: 

Strengths
  • User friendly interface
  • Relatively easy to configure
  • Product Support Desk
  • Self-hosted version supports multiple source Accounts.

Weaknesses

  • High cost ($14/user)
  • UK-based support hours
  • Robust infrastructure for self-hosted versions
  • Hosted version has many limitations
Expertise Required
  • Prior experience with data migration projects, including troubleshooting and error handling.
Strengths
  • Scalable
  • Cost effective
  • Compatible with almost all source environments
  • Robust reporting and logging

Weaknesses

  • No user interface
  • Horrible documentation
  • No support
Expertise Required
  • CLI Command knowledge
  • Intermediate level with email protocols
Strengths
  • Scalable
  • Cost effective
  • Compatible with almost all source environments
  • Robust reporting and logging

Weaknesses

  • No user interface
  • Acceptable documentation
  • Community support only
Expertise Required
  • CLI command knowledge
  • Familiarity with migrations across file storage platforms.
  • Knowledge of APIs as it relates to migrations.
Strengths
  • High scalable for large
  • Enterprise Migrations
  • Free migration software from Google
  • Google supported product

Weaknesses

  • Expensive infrastructure to get running
  • Long setup time
  • No hosted version available (must host yourself)
Expertise Required
  • Highly technical knowledge of deploying databases and other computing infrastructure to meet exact specifications. (eg: GCP Architect, AWS architect etc)
Strengths
  • No migration required
  • Minimal impact to users

Weaknesses

  • Available to Google Enterprise customers only
  • Expensive and long waitlist
  • Subject to specific Google requirements
Expertise Required
  • None
ToolStrengthsWeaknessesExpertise Required
  • User friendly interface
  • Relatively easy to configure 
  • Product Support Desk
  • Self-hosted version supports multiple source Accounts.
  • High cost ($14/user)
  • UK-based support hours
  • Robust infrastructure for self-hosted versions
  • Hosted version has many limitations
  • Prior experience with data migration projects, including troubleshooting and error handling.
  • Scalable
  • Cost effective
  • Compatible with almost all source environments
  • Robust reporting and logging

  • No user interface
  • Horrible documentation
  • No support
  • CLI Command knowledge
  • Intermediate level with email protocols
  • Scalable
  • Cost effective
  • Compatible with almost all source environments
  • Robust reporting and logging
  • No user interface
  • Acceptable documentation
  • Community support only
  • CLI command knowledge
  • Familiarity with migrations across file storage platforms.
  • Knowledge of APIs as it relates to migrations.
  • High scalable for large Enterprise Migrations
  • Free migration software from Google
  • Google supported product

  • Expensive infrastructure to get running
  • Long setup time
  • No hosted version available (must host yourself)
  • Highly technical knowledge of deploying databases and other computing infrastructure to meet exact specifications. (eg: GCP Architect, AWS architect etc)
  • No migration required
  • Minimal impact to users
  • Available to Google Enterprise customers only
  • Expensive and long waitlist
  • Subject to specific Google requirements
  • None
Migration Options for Merging Workspace Users

The most difficult Workspace merger scenario is when a user exists in the source and destination Workspace Accounts. Google calls this “identity merge and deduplication.” This happens when employees are given Workspace User Accounts in multiple environments. To give you an example scenario, let’s say Company A purchases Company B, but instead of merging the Workspace Accounts right away, key employees are simply given User Accounts in both environments. Fast forward a year, both these accounts are now filled with critical data and it’s nuanced to merge them. We’ve seen managers juggling User Accounts across 4-5 different environments before we help merge them into one. 

The Google Workspace Help Center maintains, “There’s no tool that offers a comprehensive way to merge 2 Google Accounts [meaning “User Accounts”] covering all possible Google services.” This is because Google uses the Workspace User as a federated identity model for over 100+ public facing Google Services (Youtube, Google Analytics, Google Play Store, etc) 

A critical aspect of this project type is avoiding data loss. We solve this through a “user mapping” exercise at the start of the project to determine what’s in and out of scope for migration. Post migration, we do a technical check of logs to ensure all data objects have been moved over without errors. Further, we never delete source account data. We perform a source account data export using Google Takeout prior to finishing the project to ensure a backup is created. 

If you find yourself with this goal in mind, I encourage you to contact our team to discuss the specific nuances of your project in further detail. The solution here involves a combination of technical, project, and change management to address this successfully.
Our Approach and Next Steps

At HiView, our migration process for a Workspace Merger Project includes a technical workstream (eg: User provisioning, data migration) and a Change Management Workstream (eg: communication, training, and user impact analysis). Our Workspace Professional Services team has experience with small to Enterprise-level migrations and we usually provide customers with Fixed-price engagements. Our sales looks like this if you’re interested in next steps:

  1. Contact HiView
  2. A Workspace Specialist will contact you to schedule a 45-minute discovery call
  3. We send you a Statement of Work with a fixed price for the Workspace Merger
  4. Sign and start your project within 2 weeks 
  5. Complete your project 4-6 weeks from kick-off.