Book Reviews

Win2K Design by the Book

The bottom line on Active Directory in fine detail.

Although its audience user level states, “Intermediate to Advanced,” Windows 2000 Server Architecture and Planning points more towards network administrators highly knowledgeable in the area of directory services and protocol evolution. The author attempts to explain the basics, but this won’t be a good first stop for enterprise solution newcomers.

Chapter 1 gives a complete financial look at why AD under Windows 2000 will be implemented by mainstream companies. Off subject? Not when you begin to understand what’s involved in setting up your organization. The amount of time and money required to establish AD will be tremendous.

Chapters 2 through 5 provide a brief insight into Win2K features, then describe what a directory service is all about. You’ll learn how AD uses the X.500 standard by supporting LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol) in a forest/tree structure and better organizes your network by providing a global catalog of network resources.

Chapter 6 reminds admins that they’ll be leaving the comfort of a technical zone and entering into the “hotspot of corporate politics” in order to implement an organized and approved directory.

Chapter 7 discusses DNS and how Microsoft has pulled away from the proprietary WINS while still pushing beyond officially supported Internet protocols by including DDNS (dynamic DNS), thus creating a proprietary DNS server with Win2K. This chapter is a must-read for any IT professional.

Chapters 8 through 12 take us into the planning stages of the directory service, placement of users and groups and a logical look into the physical structure of our networks.

Nielsen keeps his focus away from how-to information, though there’s some of that in chapters 13 through 15, the AD sections. These chapters explain how to implement an AD and what tools are available in the Resource Kit to assist administrators. Chapter 16 completely breaks down the replication facets of Win2K and is truly important in considering optimization for your sites.

The final chapters, 17 through 19, establish patterns for either upgrading your current networks (whether Windows NT 4.0 or not) or establishing a network with NT 4.0 with the thought that you’ll upgrade in the future.

The appendix gives a recap of the planning stages as a quick reference guide.

One complaint: The book lacked clear diagrams and pictures. It had some, but not enough.

If you’re keenly interested in the finest details and theory behind an AD, if you need a reference of all materials surrounding this new directory structure, or you need to strategically plan out your network for time immemorial, then this book is the place to start.

About the Author

J. Peter is a Microsoft MVP (Office Servers and Services) and has received this award for 7 consecutive years. He's an internationally published author and technical speaker. J. Peter is a technical journalist for InfoWorld and has cared for the Enterprise Windows column for nearly a decade. He's the co-founder of both ClipTraining and Conversational Geek and a strategic technical consultant for Mimecast. Follow him on Twitter @JPBruzzese

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