Reducing TCO with Win2K
A great reference for the experienced admin—a must read for the new Windows 2000 admin.
Its title suggests this book should be a "cover-to-cover" type read.
However, a small phrase at the bottom of the cover ("concise problem solver")
implies that it's more than a recipe book for techies. This book covers
three main topics, focusing particularly on the Microsoft Management Console
(MMC), Group Policy Objects (GPO) and Active Directory (AD) with the use
of Security Templates. The benefits and efficiencies these tools provide
are accessed through many different applications and tasks, all of which
have been meticulously documented in click-by-click fashion by the author.
He makes many Windows NT and Windows 2000 comparisons, to help NT administrators
making the upgrade, and makes good use of tables and real world scenarios.
The bulk of each chapter is comprised of a handy section called "Immediate
Solutions" of which there are 250 in all. Each is made up of step-by-step
how-to's and examples, complete with screen shots. Useful tables that
conveniently cross-reference related topics and solutions are also a plus.
There is a practical, perforated Quick Reference card included just inside
the front cover that lists many shortcut keys (my favorite) and many other
functional tidbits of info such as command line parameters, concise glossary
type lists, folder descriptions and much more scattered throughout the
Chapters 2 and 6 are must-reads for admins at all levels, as they describe
the foundations of both the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and the
Group Policy Editor. Every reader stands to gain from these chapters as
they reveal shortcuts and best practice type procedures. They detail the
use of these two essential utilities that Microsoft has included in Win2K.
Chapters such as 3, 4, and portions of 9 and 10 are geared towards enterprise
admins concentrating on more high-level tasks such as site creation, schema
changes and security template design and distribution. The author makes
the reader aware that some portions of this book are worthy of books of
their own. For example, in chapter 9 (Using Security Templates) he warns
the reader that network security is beyond the book's scope. He warns
the reader that they should have a good understanding of the ramifications
of modifying security policies and that one should be familiar with such
policies before "playing around with them." I always like to see statements
such as these by an author to show that this book is not trying to be
something it's not.
Chapters 5, 7, 8 and 13 deal primarily with user scenarios including
Groups, Organizational Units (OU), User Profiles, Disk Quotas and Managing
their data. Again, these chapters include excellent sequences of tasks
that many admins will need to become very familiar with. OUs are a new
concept in Windows 2000 Server, falling between domains and groups using
the NT 4 hierarchy. Simanski does a good job proposing scenarios in these
situations such as building an OU structure along the lines of your company's
departmental structure. Here, some more real world examples may have been
useful such as geographical structure, or business type structures since
both have pro's and con's depending on your enterprise. Chapter 13 was
very handy with detailing the use of Offline folders and Folder Redirection,
both which can be tricky to utilize efficiently.
All in all, this book offers solid coverage of many tasks which every
Win2K administrator should be able to perform, and the organization makes
it easy to pick it up and find the instructions that you need.
Anthony Morgante MCSE, is an Assistant Director in Engineering & Development
for the international network infrastructure team at Ernst & Young. He
is a new contributor to MCPmag and lives in Yonkers, New York.