GoogleApps is not Enterprise-Ready, Part II

Google created the GoogleAppsSync Connector for Outlook to create an Exchange like feel for users who still wanted to use Outlook instead of converting to the GoogleApps interfaces.  The connector installation is fairly straight forward and creates a mail profile for your user.  The last step offers you the option to import existing mail.

The import offers you the option of selecting an existing Outlook profile or selecting a PST file.  We came up with the process of sync'ing Outlook to Exchnage, going offline and exporting a PST that would be used to create a backup copy of the mailbox and a datafile to import.  However after importing the data from the PST, we saw incomplete data in the GoogleApps mailbox.  Gmail would display "uknown sender" and Outlook did not have the SMTP information from the senders/recipients.  Apparently not all the SMTP info was properly transferred over in the migration process.

So option two was the import via Outlook profile.  Note this took significantly longer for our test mailbox migration (eg, mine of 300meg).  All seemed to go smoothly until we did some in-depth testing.  Imported calendar items could not be opened in Outlook as it gave an "unable to open this item" type of error on each imported item I tried to open.  After much head banging, the resolution was to delete the profile and recreate it, which forced Outlook to resync the calendar data from GoogleApps.  The only downside being is since the new profile did not import anythng, you lost the notes/tasks which were previously imported.  Just a little more export / import work to get that information back.

Some posts mentioned using the IMAP sync method of IMAP'ing both old and new mailboxes and moving the data over manually.  Of course this does not help with the calendar datda.  There is a perl imapsync script that looked promising for users that had GBs of email.  I did some limited testing with my mailbox again and was not impressed.  There seemed to issues with specific messages that would not import and/or bomb the script.  Never did pin-point the issues well enough to document them.

One of the largest issues post-migration for the users is when an email is sent from Outlook, the recipient of the message does not see the proper display name in the FROM line.  Typically you would expect to see "Joe User <juser@company.com>" in the from line, but you only see "juser@company.com".  Sending via the Gmail App works as expected though.  This is just really poor execution on something that seems so simple, yet is a huge deal to business users.

Needless to say, the migration process leaves a bit to be desired.  The end result of using Outlook with Google Apps does work reasonably well for mail & calendar, but still lacks some of the Exchange functionality a Outlook user may want.  Lacking Notes and Tasks on GoogleApps is a big minus.  Also the BlackBerry users suffer dearly with loss of functionality that many of our users were addicted to. 

NOTE: I will write up a blog post in the near future of our testing with the GoogleApps Blackberry Enterprise Server Connector.