Migrating from Google Workspace to Exchange Online


Google Workspace and Microsoft Exchange Online are two popular productivity suites used by companies worldwide. Both offer a range of collaboration and communication tools, including email, calendars, document editing, and file storage. However, some organizations may choose to migrate from Google Workspace to Exchange Online. In this article I will discuss the reasons why a company might make this move, and some considerations companies should make before migrating. I’ll also talk about some of the different migration tools a company can use and migration velocity.

Reasons to Migrate

There are several reasons why a company may choose to migrate from Google Workspace to Exchange Online. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  1. Integration with Microsoft Office: Many organizations use Microsoft Office as their primary productivity suite, and Exchange Online integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365. This integration allows users to work more efficiently by accessing email, calendars, and other productivity tools from a single interface.
  2. Familiarity with Microsoft Platform: Organizations that are already using Microsoft technologies may prefer to use Exchange Online as it is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, which provides a familiar interface and user experience.
  3. Better Security: Exchange Online offers advanced security features, such as multi-factor authentication, data loss prevention, and email encryption which can help protect sensitive data from cyber threats.
  4. Better Collaboration: Exchange Online offers a wide range of collaboration tools, including shared calendars, contact lists, and task lists, which can help teams work together more effectively.
  5. Better Compliance: Exchange Online offers compliance features, such as eDiscovery and legal hold, which can help organizations meet regulatory and legal requirements.
  6. Cost Savings: Exchange Online can be more cost-effective for some organizations, particularly those that are already using Microsoft 365 or have existing Microsoft licensing agreements.

Migrating from Google Workspace to Exchange Online can provide several benefits. Organizations should carefully evaluate their needs and consider these factors when deciding whether to migrate. It is important to plan the migration carefully and seek expert assistance from a Microsoft partner like eGroup | Enabling Technologies to ensure a successful migration.

Considerations Before Migrating

A large migration from Google Workspaces to Exchange Online can be a complex process that requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some key factors that a company should consider before, during and after a migration:

  1. Migration Strategy: Companies should consider the migration strategy that best fits their organization’s needs. When migrating many mailboxes, a phased migration may be necessary. A phased migration may be less disruptive, but it can also be more time-consuming. If the number of mailboxes isn’t that large, then a “big bang” type of migration may be more expedient and easier for the users.
  2. Data Security: Companies should ensure that data security is a top priority during the migration process. This includes protecting sensitive information such as customer data and ensuring that all data is migrated securely.
  3. Migration Tools: Companies should carefully evaluate the migration tools available to determine which ones best meet their organization’s needs. This may include free Microsoft tools such as the Exchange Admin Center or third-party solutions that offer additional features such as selective migration and migrating mail into existing mailboxes.
  4. User Training: Companies should ensure that users are trained on how to use Exchange Online, especially if they are coming from a different platform like Google Workspace. This can help ensure a smooth transition and minimize disruptions. Exchange Online can be accessed using the web-app at office.com, mobile clients on iOS and Android, and the desktop Outlook client.  Users may need to be trained on these clients to ensure they can access their mail.
  5. Post-Migration Support: Companies should consider post-migration support to ensure that any issues that arise are promptly addressed.  If users are unfamiliar with Outlook, companies can expect a number of tickets regarding the use of the different Outlook clients.  There may also be the occasional ticket about accessing their old Gmail mailbox to retrieve an item that may have been skipped during the migration.
  6. Budget: Companies should consider the cost of migration, including the cost of any migration tools and the potential impact on IT resources. Also licensing cost increases if their current license SKUs don’t include Exchange Online or if companies want to take advantage of advanced threat protection tools such as Microsoft Defender.


Migrating to Exchange Online requires careful consideration of several factors, including migration strategy, data security, migration tools, user training, network bandwidth, post-migration support, and budget. By taking these factors into account, companies can ensure a successful migration that meets their organization’s needs and minimizes disruption. It is important to plan the migration carefully and seek expert assistance if necessary.

Migration Tools

Migrating from Google Workspace to Exchange Online can be a complex process, but there are several tools and methods available to help make the transition as smooth as possible. Here are some of the tools commonly used to migrate from Google Workspace to Exchange Online:

  • Exchange Administration Center (EAC): Microsoft has made big strides to allow companies to migrate from Google Workspace using the built-in tools in the Exchange Admin Center. The EAC can handle most use cases for this kind of migration. If companies fulfill the prerequisites for the migration, the EAC can successfully migrate a large number of mailboxes to Exchange seamlessly.  
  • IMAP Migration: Exchange Online supports IMAP migration, which allows users to migrate email messages from Gmail to Exchange Online using the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP).
  • Third-Party Migration Tools: There are several third-party migration tools available that can help migrate from Google Workspace to Exchange Online. These tools offer additional features such as selective migration, migration scheduling, and migration reporting.
  • Manual Migration: Some organizations choose to perform a manual migration, which involves exporting data from Google Workspace and importing it into Exchange Online manually. This approach can be time-consuming and error-prone, but it allows organizations to have more control over the migration process.

Organizations should carefully evaluate their migration needs and choose the tools and methods that best suit their requirements. Whether using free Microsoft tools or third-party solutions, a well-planned migration can ensure a smooth transition to Exchange Online.

Migration Velocity

The speed at which mailboxes can be migrated from Google Workspace to Exchange Online depends on several factors, including the size of the mailbox, the migration method used, and the network bandwidth available. Here are some factors that can affect the speed of mailbox migration:

  1. Size of the Mailbox: The larger the mailbox, the longer it will take to migrate. This is because more data needs to be transferred from Google Workspace to Exchange Online. Some migration tools may have limitations on the size of the mailbox they can migrate, so organizations should check the specifications of the migration tool before starting the migration.
  2. Migration Method: The migration method used can also affect the speed of mailbox migration. For example, using a third-party migration tool may be faster than using a manual migration method. Some migration tools also offer features such as throttling and migration scheduling, which can help optimize the speed of the migration.
  3. Network Bandwidth: The speed of the organization’s network connection can also impact the speed of mailbox migration. A faster network connection will generally result in faster migration times. However, network congestion and other factors can also affect network performance.
  4. Other Factors: Other factors, such as the performance of the source and target systems, the number of users being migrated, and the level of complexity of the migration, can also affect the speed of mailbox migration.


The speed at which mailboxes can be migrated from Google Workspace to Exchange Online can vary depending on several factors. While some factors, such as the size of the mailbox, may be out of the organization’s control, other factors such as the migration method used and network bandwidth can be optimized to achieve faster migration times. It is important to carefully evaluate the migration tools and methods available and choose the ones that best suit the organization’s needs in terms of speed, complexity, and data security.

Issues To Look Out For

The migration process for the most part is straightforward, however there are things companies need to be aware of when migrating:

  • Autodiscover: Autodiscover is the process that allows an Outlook client to automatically find the exchange server it needs to connect to based on the email address provided. The Autodiscover process used to purely rely on DNS records to point an outlook client to exchange. However, in recent years, it seems that the Autodiscover process now also looks at MX records.
  • Licensing: It’s important to ensure that the new Exchange mailboxes are licensed at least one day before users are expected to login to Exchange. Customers should ensure that a process is in place to license users in bulk, whether that’s using group based licensing or PowerShell scripts.
  • Primary SMTP Addresses: When using the Exchange Admin Center to migrate mailboxes, the primary SMTP address needs to match between the Google mailbox and Exchange mail user object. If the email addresses don’t match, the migration will fail. This problem usually arises when users change their name and those name changes are reflected in both tenants.


While Google Workspace and Exchange Online both offer a range of productivity and collaboration tools, there are several reasons why a company might choose to migrate from Google Workspace to Exchange Online. These reasons include integration with Microsoft products, advanced security features, improved collaboration features, familiarity with Microsoft products, and cost. Ultimately, the decision to switch from one platform to another will depend on the unique needs of the organization and its users.

Carl Carter

Cloud Solution Architect - eGroup | Enabling Technologies

Learn more about Exchange Online

Interested in learning how to improve your productivity and collaboration?

Contact our team of experts to get started with Exchange Online!

Last updated on July 31st, 2023 at 12:47 pm