Does Google Workspace Replace Exchange and Active Directory?

Written by Brenna Lee on May 3, 2023

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As time goes on and new IT management and productivity tools continue to hit the market, more and more organizations are looking for a modern replacement to Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory (AD). This is because many organizations are interested in replacing legacy and rigid, outdated infrastructure with modern, cloud-based tools. 

These organizations are looking for more freedom and flexibility in the way that they work, and many of them are finding it within Google Workspace. This is where the comparisons of Google Workspace vs Microsoft Exchange and Google Workspace vs Active Directory arise. In the past, Exchange and AD were core pieces of most businesses’ IT infrastructure, but this simply isn’t the case anymore.

Why Organizations are Eliminating Exchange and Active Directory

Microsoft Exchange is an email and messaging service often used by businesses and schools that’s available as a hosted service or can be installed, and Active Directory is a legacy directory service developed by Microsoft for Windows domain networks.

So why are organizations replacing Exchange and AD?

Problems With Exchange

  • Too expensive for many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • Lacks support for non-Windows clients.
  • Poor Mac and Linux integration.
  • General compatibility issues with other services.
  • On-prem Exchange feels clunky and requires server hardware that many modern orgs don’t have or don’t want to deal with.
  • Exchange servers are tedious to manage and upgrade.

Due to the cost of licensing, hardware, and the expertise required to maintain, it’s not necessarily a good fit for small to medium sized companies.

Microsoft Exchange Customer

Problems With Active Directory

  • Expensive to purchase, set up, and maintain.
  • On-prem infrastructure required.
  • Rigid, inflexible infrastructure.
  • Windows-centric ecosystem that lacks support for cross-OS devices.
  • Microsoft-centric ecosystem where network becomes excessively dependent on AD.
  • Difficult to integrate with other tools.

An Alternative to Microsoft Exchange and AD

All of these problems associated with Exchange and AD have led many organizations to consider alternatives. One popular alternative to Exchange and AD is using Google Workspace and JumpCloud’s open directory platform together. This solution gives organizations a modern productivity suite along with an open directory platform that seamlessly integrates with the other tools in your environment, allowing you to choose the tools that you want to use with no friction.

Let’s dive into the details of each solution to see why Google Workspace and JumpCloud serve as a great Exchange and AD replacement option.


Securely connect to any resource using Google Workspace and JumpCloud.

Google Workspace and JumpCloud: Better Together

First, let’s go over a brief description of each solution on its own, and then we’ll discuss how Google Workspace and JumpCloud can function as direct replacements for Exchange and AD.

About Google Workspace

Google Workspace is a modern collection of computing, productivity, and collaboration tools designed for organizations of all sizes. Google Workspace includes tools like Gmail, Calendar, Meet, Chat, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites, and more. So, not only does Google Workspace provide a modern email solution that can directly replace Exchange, it also provides a plethora of other useful tools, all packaged together nicely.

About JumpCloud

And then you have JumpCloud, which is an open directory platform that at its core is a cloud-based directory service that gives organizations centralized, secure, and robust identity, access, and device management capabilities. JumpCloud can act as your sole identity provider (IdP) or it can seamlessly connect to any other existing IdP you use, such as Google Workspace.

The Exchange and AD Replacement in Action

So, the question remains – does Google Workspace replace Exchange and AD? The answer is yes, Google Workspace can completely replace Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory when it’s packaged with the JumpCloud Directory Platform. Google Workspace is a modern alternative for Microsoft Exchange, and JumpCloud’s open directory platform is a modern replacement for Active Directory.

What started out as Gmail effectively is now an enterprise-class hosted email service. When you add in the ability to have cloud-based productivity applications, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, Chat, and more, you have the start of what many IT organizations believe is at the core of their IT services for their end users, hence the name Workspace. So, when you add a modern cloud-based directory service that gives you centralized identity, access, and device management, on top of that collaboration and productivity suite, you get a comprehensive solution that replaces both Exchange and AD. 

This kind of solution gives organizations the freedom and flexibility to choose the tools that suit their needs without getting locked into the Microsoft ecosystem.

Get Started on Replacing Exchange and Active Directory 

JumpCloud and Google Workspace are partnered together to help organizations seamlessly and centrally manage identities, access, and devices as well as productivity. Extend your Google Workspace identities with JumpCloud to give users a single, secure identity to manage, while simplifying IT’s day-to-day operations.

Using the JumpCloud Directory Platform and Google Workspace together provides a cost-effective, best-in-class alternative to legacy single-vendor solutions that’s easier than ever to implement and roll out. It combines the benefits of Google’s productivity solution with a cloud-based open directory platform to form a modern collaboration and identity, access, and device management solution, one that eliminates the need for many point solutions that bog down IT environments. Learn more about the partnership between JumpCloud and Google Workspace.

Brenna Lee

Brenna is a Content Writer at JumpCloud that loves learning about and immersing herself in new technologies. Outside of the [remote] office, she loves traveling and exploring the outdoors!

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