A little comparison introduction
I’m not giving a straight statement on what a G Suite administrator should have to be able to manage his domain… Instead I will do a comparison then go to the conclusion.
When we work with G Suite products, both on the sales side and the technical side, we tend not to compare G Suite to other competitor products (Aka. Office 365, Microsoft Exchange Server…), the reason is because G Suite is a totally different product with its own idea, features, work-flow, and thinking… So it is not right to compare two different things that has nothing in common other than some functionality. But for the sake of the title of this post, I’ll start it with a comparison.
Microsoft Exchange Server is a great thing.. It made our lives easier with the great features it has (some can argue this, but I’d say it is great), you get a great level of control over your email flow and email messages and databases.. However to make it work you will suffer and some times you will suffer a lot.
Starting form the very bottom of the process, you will need to have an Active Directory server in your network, the AD and DNS will have to be healthy and working without a slight issue, otherwise you will never be able to setup the Exchange Server.
Once you set it up and be ready for configuration, think of all the configuration you will need to do on accepted domains, send connectors, receive connectors, and all the other configuration that you need to make in order to get the Exchange Server going in a healthy way..
You need to know how to troubleshoot storage issues, network issues, Active Directory issues, DNS issues, even some hardware problems if you want to maintain the Exchange Server and make sure it is up most of the time, you need to even know stuff in IIS, local certification authorities, and a lot about registry… And you need to know how to troubleshoot mail flow and SMTP issues!
Looking at Office 365, it is much more easier for you because the maintenance part and the installation part is taken care by someone else for you… However, the knowledge about DNS, AD, network flow, SMTP commands and troubleshooting process, and Transport Rules will still be required in order to be able to effectively manage your solution…
Now let’s look at our G Suite!
Like I said in the start of this article, G Suite is a completely different story, you don’t know the server in the background, you don’t get to interact with the server directly, you don’t get your hands on the mailboxes database, and you don’t even bother to do any maintenance to it at all!
But, you do have to know about Active Directory, DNS, you even now have to get more network logic and to get more at least a fundamental understanding on how most firewalls and security appliance work, and you need to be a good troubleshooter that can understand how the traffic is going in a network and what policies are put in place in order to identify issues with G Suite.
G Suite is a cloud service so you have to have an understanding of how your network (the local network) connects to G Suite cloud. If you have firewalls, make sure they are allowing traffic to G Suite. You need to know what ports to open, you need to know what IPs you expect the traffic from, and you need to know what security you need to use with G Suite.
Same goes for Active Directory, G Suite have GCDS which can integrate with your local AD servers, it can pull users’ information from your AD schema and upload them to G Suite, making sort of a centralized management solution for you. GSPS will sync users passwords to G Suite, you need to know how to make your local password policy compliant with G Suite’s password policy through the use of Group Policy. You need to know how to troubleshoot AD servers well if you get password syncing or user object syncing issues..
So I believe that a google G Suite administrator must have a very good knowledge and experience in managing his own network infrastructure to be able to be efficient in managing his G Suite domain. Talking about Microsoft products: Windows Server, Exchange Server to be specific… More knowledge is needed in networking hardware to be able to work with email security gateway, and firewalls in general.
G Suite logo is a trademark for Google which I don’t own