Can G Suite Serve as Your Domain Controller?

By Jon Griffin Posted February 2, 2018

Can G Suite Serve as Your Domain Controller?

G Suite, formerly known as Google Apps, offers an amazing set of productivity solutions. From email, to spreadsheets, to video conferencing tools, and many other services, Google has made G Suite a staple in the modern enterprise. But is it possible to handle system and user management with G Suite as well? Many admins are also wondering, “Can G Suite can serve as their domain controller?”  This post will answer that question.

The Evolution of G Suite

Can G Suite Serve as Your Domain Controller ?

Google took the first step on the road to G Suite when they introduced a hosted email solution for organizations: Gmail. This was designed to replace the need to purchase and implement Microsoft Exchange servers, and move email to the cloud. G Suite has evolved a great deal since then. Google decided to challenge Microsoft’s monopoly in productivity applications, namely Microsoft Office with their own suite of tools. At the time this was introduced as Google Apps, and it caught fire in the enterprise.

Google chose to go after these solutions because they were relatively simple to develop and for IT organizations to implement. Gmail and Google Apps were easy to adopt, and this meant that Google didn’t need to have an enterprise sales and implementation approach. On top of that, there weren’t any requirements to have additional software or hardware on-prem. It was a truly cloud-based approach. IT organization could easily try the solution and, if they ended up liking it, purchasing was right in the platform.

Google Avoids the Identity Management Infrastructure

Reasons why it's not possible for G Suite Serve as Your Domain Controller

Google took great strides replacing Exchange and Microsoft Office, but the flip side of the coin was the identity management infrastructure – namely Microsoft Active Directory® (AD) – and they never made much of a challenge in that field. This was largely because of how thoroughly AD had permeated the enterprise. AD and the domain controller were on-prem infrastructure that intertwined with everything being used at the time. This meant the network, systems, file servers, applications, and more were all controlled by Microsoft (and created by them too). AD required a great deal of implementation support and services just to get going, so companies with it already in place were pretty locked in to their solution. As a result, Google opted to not challenge the domain controller.

Unfortunately, as the world continues to push to the cloud, the reliance on Active Directory leaves organizations with one foot in the cloud and one foot on-prem. Companies are leveraging G Suite, cloud servers, web applications, and more, but the domain controller is still on-prem. With G Suite not being able to serve as a domain controller, this left admins in a tough spot. Fortunately, there is another option.

Domain Controller Replacement

 Domain Controller replacement

A new third-party solution that tightly integrates with G Suite can serve in a similar capacity as the domain controller, but without the need for any on-prem infrastructure. The core identity management platform, called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service®, uses features like Commands and Policies to easily control and manage the authentication and authorization of an organization’s IT resources – including systems, apps, networks, and file servers.

JumpCloud’s robust G Suite integration enables admins to use their existing G Suite credentials for user access to all of their resources. While there is no need for a conventional domain in this instance, JumpCloud is able to securely manage identities in a manner analogous to a domain controller. No longer do you need to struggle with the challenges of having one foot on-prem and one foot in the cloud. Go full cloud, and see the cloud-based directory of the future.

If you would like to learn more about the potential alternatives to having G Suite serve as your domain controller, give us a shout. We would be happy to explain the workflow and help you understand the product better as a whole. Alternatively, you can also sign up for a demo of the product to get a live walkthrough, or you can get a free account to test it out for yourself. Check it out today!

Jon Griffin

Jon Griffin works as a writer for JumpCloud, an organization focused on bringing centralized IT to the modern organization. He graduated with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and is an avid learner of new technology from cloud-based innovations to VR and more.

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