What is Google Workspace? – Cloud Based Application Suite

Written by Vince Lujan on November 3, 2017

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What is G Suite (or Google Workspace, as it is now called)? G Suite is a suite of productivity solutions developed by Google that offers a wide array of web-based applications and services designed to help organizations communicate, collaborate, and store data.

G Suite is one of the most popular cloud based suite of applications currently available and most professionals and consumers alike are already very familiar with many of its core offerings like Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, Drive, Docs, and Sheets to name a few. Most of these core services are free for consumers. However, G Suite does offer enterprise grade solutions to suit just about every business need.  

G Suite has gone through a number of interesting transformations over the years, but in order to understand where G Suite is going it is important to first understand its origins.

From Google Apps for Work to G Suite

What is G Suite

Google initially launched their core cloud computing platform in 2006 under the name Google Apps for Your Domain. This was around the same time when web applications and cloud services really started gaining momentum in the enterprise.

Google Apps originally offered cloud-based alternatives to Microsoft legacy solutions that were popular prior to its release. As a result, many organizations leveraging Google Apps no longer had to invest and implement comparable solutions on-prem.

Google’s original core services included familiar apps like Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, Groups, and Chat. Over the years Google has added a huge list of additional services and enhancements to their core offering to compete with legacy and cloud solutions from their competitors, primarily Microsoft Office 365. Yet, what started as cloud based alternatives for on-prem apps has become a full fledged suite of applications to suit a variety of needs.

In 2016, Google announced Google Apps for Work would be rebranded as G Suite. G Suite currently offers over fifty web-based applications and services, and is part of a much larger Google Cloud Platform offering powerful services for organizations like Google Compute Engine, and big data. Each offers a cloud alternative for the legacy solutions of old.

What is G Suite Today

What is G Suite Today, or more like what it isnt'

What is G Suite today? Today, G Suite offers solutions for the vast majority of a typical organization’s productivity needs. These solutions have made it possible for many organizations to eliminate the need for on-prem infrastructure at large. The benefits for organizations include reduced cost, maintenance and implementation, and management overhead.

However, while G Suite certainly checks the boxes for most of an organization’s needs, it doesn’t check all of them. This is particularly true when it comes to the core directory service.

G Suite has become such a comprehensive platform that Google is starting to follow Microsoft’s lock-in strategy. This is most evident with with their creation of Google Cloud Identity, which effectively detached G Suite user identities from working only with G Suite. Those identities now work across a wider range of Google services.

Google did this to create a user management system for Google services in which IT admins can connect G Suite users to Google resources. In doing so, organizations no longer needed to manage Google apps independently. Instead, Google administrators can use Google’s identity management service to provision Google services to their users on an individual basis.

The challenge is that G suite is not the only show in town. In fact, many organizations leverage cloud resources from a variety of providers (e.g. AWS, Azure, O365). G Suite identities cannot be extended to these third party resources natively. As a result, resources from Google, AWS, Azure, O365 are siloed to their respective resources and must be managed independently.

Unless of course you leverage Directory-as-a-Service®, which can effectively extend Google identities to the breadth of an organization’s IT resources including G Suite and beyond.

G Suite with Directory-as-a-Service

What is G Suite with Directory as a Service

Directory-as-a-Service offers two ways to integrate with G Suite, which can be used separately from one another or in tandem. The first is our directory integration bridge, which provides user account provisioning, password updates, and metadata changes. The other is through SAML to create a single sign-on experience to connect users to Google apps.

Directory-as-a-Service securely integrates with Google via a super admin set of credentials leveraging Google’s OAuth based API. Once integrated, Google identities can then be federated to resources at G Suite, but also other cloud service providers (e.g. AWS, Azure, O365), networks (wired and WiFi), web apps (Salesforce, Box, Zendesk), on-prem applications (Jenkins, Docker, Jira), Samba and NAS appliances (Synology, QNAP, FreeNAS), and can even be used to login to systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux) – and there’s a lot more where that came from. Whereas, previously, these same resources would have to be managed independently.

Sound too good to be true? Take a look at a testimonial from Eusoh, one of our customers who is currently enjoying the benefits of our G Suite integration.

It is important to note that integrating JumpCloud with G Suite isn’t about enabling admins to manage Google services – they can already do that with G Suite Directory. The integration is more for having one centralized location to manage all of their resources, both at Google and everywhere else.

Check out our G Suite Integration Whiteboard video for a more in-depth breakdown of our G Suite integration with our Chief Product Officer, Greg Keller.

Learn more about What is G Suite with Directory-as-a-Service

To learn more about what is G Suite and how Directory-as-a-Service can extend Google identities to resources beyond Google, drop us a note. You can also sign up and start extending Google identities to all of your IT resources today. Your first ten users are on us so you can explore the full functionality of our product risk free.

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and video specialist at JumpCloud. Originally from the horse capital of New Mexico, Corrales, he has lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found at the Boulder Creek.

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