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MCP TechMentor Diary, Day 3: Active Directory Drain Brain

MCPmag.com reader Rick Johnson gets a good dose of Active Directory technical and certification info during the Thursday sessions.

8:45 a.m. - Peter Bruzzese, Implementing a Directory Services Infrastructure
Peter covered several strategies for Directory Services design and implementation of Directory Services and how to apply them to studying for the exam. From a practical view, he also demonstrated many of the utilities for administering Active Directory: MoveTree, NetDom, and NTDSutil. He also covered which versions of BIND were required for AD compatibility. One handy tip I learned: Understand that one of the reasons for multiple domains in an AD design is to implement different security policies within an organization.

10:15 a.m. - Stewart Cawthray, Designing a Windows 2000 Directory Infrastructure
Stewart's session could be called the "Who, When, and Where" of Active Directory. He gave very long and detailed explanations on the news style of exam questions: scenario-based case study questions. He showed us how to analyze the case studies in order to learn the business and technical requirements. The analysis is important in formulating a response during the exam. I remember taking the beta exam and facing these types of questions. Case study samples are available on Microsoft's MCP Web site.

Women in Technology Summit
Tina Strong Wood (l. Mutual of Omaha, NE) and Gloria White (r. Ball Aerospace, Albuquerque, NM) discuss women's issues with Donnay Price (off camera, City of Springfield Information Technology, Springfield, Oklahoma) at the Women in Technology Summit on Wednesday night.

Mark Minasi:
12:45 a.m. - Keynote: The State of the Microsoft Operating System
  4:00 p.m. - Understanding, Planning, and Troubleshooting AD Replication

Mark always brings an energy to his talks, and speaks to the group as the "anti" Microsoft balance that we need. Mark reviewed the benefits and shortcomings of Windows 2000 XP future .NET Server versions. His lunchtime keynote was too short; I would have paid conference fees just to attend talks alone.

At his AD replication session, it was no different. I learned more than I wanted to know about the Knowledge Consistency Checker and how domain controllers are able to determine what updates they each had in order to have a synchronized Active Directory. I also learned about the tools to help troubleshoot AD problems, such as the scriptable RepAdmin tool and some of the switches used with this that you would normally have to dig deep into the product or the Windows Resource Kits to find out about. I particularly learned how password changes or account lockouts were given a higher priority in the replication sequences. Mark's explanations of this topic will help me in the future, to pinpoint logon problems or password authentication issues.

Women in Technology Summit
More TechMentor attendees at the Women in Technology Summit (l to r): Jodi Roche, Harmon Glass, Golden Valley, MN; Tracy Campbell, Harmon Glass; Tamara Montaño, Univ. Texas-El Paso; Marcia Turner, Calif. Health/Human Services Data Ctr., Sacramento; Esther Hurtado, Intel, Rio Rancho, NM

7:00 p.m. - Andy Barkl, 70-216 Implementing and Administering a Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure
Andy's session covered a slew of topics by comparing and contrasting this exam and the NT 4.0 TCP/IP exam that was retired earlier this year. Similarities: DHCP, DNS, and WINS. Differences: addition of Remote Access, IPSEC, and Certificate Services, to name a few. Andy demonstrated several key administration tool that you may have been familiar with in NT 4.0 and pointed out how many of these tools now work in Windows 2000. In order, he then delved into DNS and the differences between standard, secondary, and Active Directory integrated zones; secure and unsecure dynamic updates; important troubleshooting tools, such as netdiag and nbtstat; WINS. Basically, it was a solid mini TCP/IP refresher. He finished up with a demonstration and troubleshooting guide for remote access capabilities and RRAS.

About the Author

Rick Johnson, MCSE+I, has extensive experience in network and security design, enterprise application rollouts and management. Rick, formerly an NT Administrator and Desktop Engineer for the Advanced Systems Lab at Hewlett Packard's Mountain View site, also holds CompTIA A+, Network+, iNet+, Server+, Citrix Certified Administrator, and Certified Internet Webmaster Associate certifications. He's currently in pursuit of an MCSE upgrade.

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