Is there a way to integrate the login and account management of Google Apps and Microsoft Windows Server Essentials 2011, so that I only have to maintain one set of user data between the two products? It would also be great to integrate the contacts between windows and Google as well. Just wondering...
We're not using Server Essentials, but these tools should work with your AD regardless.
For user, group, contact and resource sync there is the Google Apps Directory Sync tool. It is extremely flexible and can be adjusted with rule sets for each object type.
If you need instant password sync, you can install a Password Filter on your DC. This will update the Google Apps password when the user changes it in Windows. There are a couple different projects to do this:
You can also do external authentication (SAML, OpenID, etc) with Google Apps, but this can be a problem for mobile device and other non-browser usage.