Multi-Domain Support and Managing Multiple Domain Help

Some of the GoogleApps for Education questions that come up involve setting up domains or subdomains. Apparently, if you don’t set these up right, it’s difficult for students and teachers to collaborate with each other.

This is an issue of Multiple Domains, I think (that means, i don’t know for sure). This passage seems relevant:

Education Edition customers can associate multiple Internet domains with their Google Apps accounts, as long as they own the domain names. Each domain remains an independent entity, but Google Apps recognizes that the domains are part of a single organization. For example, each domain has its own set of user accounts, but users can share calendars or documents with users in any domain that is part of the organization. Gmail treats mail between users in different domains as if it were intradomain traffic. You manage all of the domains using the same Google Apps administrator control panel.

Would you happen to know the answers to these questions? Please share your response in the comments! Based on what I’ve just read, here are the answers I think are correct but don’t really know for sure!! (questions in red, my answers in blue, source quotes in black italics).

Disclaimer: My district is NOT involved in a GoogleApps for Education implementation and this is all purely theoretical for me. It’s fun, though, to learn new things and explore what the “correct” answer is. That said, take it all with a grain (or shaker!) of salt!

Here are the questions.

We are trying to set up a Google Apps domain for our school district.

We have been struggling with some questions:

1. Do we need different domains for levels of students? or In larger districts what is your expeience with the BEST way to implement domain names, i.e., or We have several elementary schools, several middle schools, a secondary school and a high school…should they be designated as individual domains…as well as the administration building having it’s own domain?

Since you can create 660 domains, why not create a primary domain of “districtname” and then add campus names as subdomains? Consider the following quote from this Google Web Site:
When you associate multiple separate domains with your Google Apps account, you have more flexibility in how you assign usernames. The same username can refer to different users in different domains; for example, and can be different users. (Source: Separate Domain or Domain Alias?)

2. Do we need a separate domain for staff, teachers and administrators so we can archive their email only?

Yes, that separate domain should be the primary domain. Consider this piece of information:

You cannot add additional domains to your account if you activate Postini Services through the Google Apps Control Panel. To use Postini Message Security for an account with multiple domains, you need to manage the Postini product separately.
(Source: Limitations for Multiple Domains)

3. Would all sub-domains ‘speak’ with each other within the one domain?
Yes, this is my understanding. There are limitations, though. For example, consider these excerpts:

You cannot share Google Docs documents across domains using “Get the link to share”. A user can share a Google Docs document with a user in another domain by clicking Share and inviting the user. However, when a user selects Get the link to share, recipients at other domains cannot use the generated link to access the document. Read more limitations here.

4. Do we have to set up a customized site for each domain and sub-domain?

No, you do not. You can have all sub-domains point to the primary domain.

5. Can student logons be tied to several teachers?

If students and teachers are in the same subdomain, then the accounts can still interact. However, if teachers and students are on separate domains, all the limitations outlined in the response to question #3 apply.

6. Is there anyone we can call directly?
Yes, if you have GoogleApps for Education setup, use the information on this web site to find out who to call.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure