account and doesn’t
require the user to enter credentials when prompted unless the IUSR account
doesn’t have NTFS permissions on the file requested. Basic authentication
requires a user name and password, but it’s insecure because it transmits
the information in clear text. Integrated Windows authentication uses
the information from the user’s Windows login.
Review monitoring and optimization tools like System Monitor, which is
great for watching processor, memory and disk use. If you’re familiar
with Systems Management Server or Application Center Server, you probably
have experience with Health Monitor, which watches for failures on specific
services and can take appropriate action based on the failure. Make sure
you understand which monitoring service handles what.
Of course, what would a Win2K network be without DNS servers and DHCP
servers? Make sure you understand how to set up DHCP to work with internal
clients, while keeping servers and external clients static. Also know
how to isolate your AD DNS infrastructure from your external Web DNS zones.
Tip: Study up on the little facts, such as how much memory and how
many processors are supported by each of the versions of the Win2K operating
system. Also understand how many nodes a cluster can support for both
Windows clustering and Network Load Balancing. (Don’t forget Datacenter
If you think clustering is what happens on the highway in rush hour, you
need to pay special attention to this part!.Simply put, if you don’t know
clustering technologies well, you’re going to see a red bar when you click
the “Score” button. In fact, if you intend to take this elective for your
MCSE, I’d also recommend taking 70-223, Implementing and Administering
Clustering Services by Using Windows 2000 Advanced Server Technologies.
[See Chris’ article, “Clustering
Competence,” in the January 2001 issue for a review of this exam.—Ed.]
You should know how to install a Win2K Advanced Server cluster and a
Datacenter Server cluster and be familiar with the terminology that goes
along with it—such as the quorum device, which is the shared SCSI drive
between the two (or four) clusters that houses the log file for the cluster.
Understanding the hardware behind clustering is also imperative, like
knowing what a shared SCSI bus is. Having experience with Fibre Channel
devices is also a plus. If you’re not familiar with it, Fibre Channel
allows hard drives to be connected to a special hub with fiber-optic cables.
Those cables then plug into a Fibre Channel card inside each server. Fibre
Channel lends the advantage of being able to lose a server and not worry
about a SCSI bus being terminated, not to mention higher transmission
Understanding the difference between active/active clusters and active/passive
clusters is key, as well. Know when to implement these solutions and what
the benefits and detriments are of each. Make sure you understand the
limitations of Win2K clustering and what’s best done by a hardware clustering
solution. Failover and failback are also important concepts. Failover
occurs when a failure occurs on the primary node of a cluster and transfers
the service to a secondary node to continue service. Failback is the process
by which control is given back to the primary node. Understand how to
configure failover and failback policies for optimal cluster performance.
In Win2K Advanced Server and Datacenter Server, there’s also the ability
to do network load balancing (NLB). With NLB, you assign multiple physical
machines to a single virtual IP address. This virtual IP address is what
the DNS name resolves to, and it distributes the load among the number
of nodes in the cluster. This is great for Web farms and applications
that require distribution of network traffic.
NLB is fairly easy to configure, but understanding some of the concepts
behind it can be frightening. For instance, to effectively implement NLB,
you must understand the concept of affinity. Affinity deals with multiple
connections needed from a single client to a Web application. For example,
if you have a Web application that authenticates users before they do
searches on a database and they’re transparently routed to multiple servers
through NLB, how will each server know about the successful authentication
of each client in the previous request? Affinity has three settings: None,
Single and Class C. Briefly, None means that NLB can route any recurring
request from a client to any server in the cluster. Single means that
NLB must route a request from an IP address to the same Web server until
the session terminates. Finally, Class C ensures NLB must route all requests
from a Class C subnet to the same host.
Tip: Class C affinity is best used when clients on the same subnet
may access the Internet through multiple proxy servers.
Knowing BackOffice server products is vital, as well. For instance, have
you ever deployed Application Center Server 2000? Know how to create projects
for deployment to production, as well as staging environments and how
to roll back to the original project version if something goes awry. Understanding
the process of deploying to a cluster is absolutely essential. Not only
are you expected to understand the process, but you’re also expected to
be able to suggest the best possible way to design the process.
It’s also important to understand how Exchange 2000 works. You should
have a good concept of how to enable and manage secure e-mail and the
different types of Internet clients, such as IMAP4, POP3 and Outlook Web
Access. Be able to spot which method of access will work best in the given
scenario. For instance, if you have thousands of clients that need to
access e-mail securely with as little impact on performance as possible,
you’re probably going to want to use Outlook Web Access over SSL rather
than using a VPN and connecting with Outlook.
BizTalk Server, one of the new servers introduced in Microsoft’s .NET
strategy, deals with document and data transfer between businesses or
external entities. Let’s say you have two companies that do business with
each other. Each business has internal documentation files for purchase
orders and requisitions. The documents do similar things for each company,
but they have different structures. BizTalk Server allows a developer
to “map” elements of a document to those in the other so they can be seamlessly
transferred to each business and used by internal systems without having
to do costly manual conversions. BizTalk Server does this translation
through XML files, so it helps to understand what XML is and how it works.
Know the role BizTalk Server plays in an enterprise application and how
it should be implemented to be highly available.
It’s also critical to understand how to implement Application Center
Server 2000 in an enterprise. Application Center 2000 is a tool that helps
deploy and manage large applications that may be clustered or load balanced.
Know how to create applications and deploy them. If you’re familiar with
Site Server 3.0, you may remember Content Deployment Services (CDS) and
its uses. CDS (formerly called Content Replication Services) is optimized
for deploying applications across a WAN. Become familiar with CDS and
the other application deployment and synchronization features included
in Application Center Server 2000.
Finally, don’t forget about SQL Server and Component Services. Know how
to configure databases for optimal performance. Also be sure you understand
how to install and configure components in Component Services. Components
are the building blocks for applications. They allow developers to write
code that can be separated from their Web applications, thus allowing
better performance. In large environments, Application Center Server 2000
can be used to create component load balancing (CLB) clusters to distribute
the load among multiple component servers (much like NLB distributes traffic
among multiple Web servers).
Tip: Make sure you brush up on different Exchange protocols and technologies,
including POP3, SMTP, IMAP4 and S/MIME.
- Install and configure Windows Clustering using two
machines and a shared SCSI device.
- Install and configure Network Load Balancing using
at least two machines running Windows 2000 Advanced
- Install and configure IIS. Create a basic Web page
and experiment on how the different security mechanisms
- Install and configure Application Center Server
2000 on a Network Load Balancing cluster. Practice
deploying applications from a stand-alone Application
Center 2000 box to the NLB cluster.
- Install Content Deployment Services and test its
functionality as opposed to deployment directly through
Application Center Server 2000.
- Install Exchange Server 2000 and practice setting
up clients to communicate with that server. Make sure
you use features that support encrypted and secure
- For review, install and configure Active Directory
in Windows 2000. Configure Certificate Services and
map certificates to active users.
- For review, install and configure a VPN on Windows
2000. Make sure you can connect to it.
- For review, install and configure Terminal Services
- Install and configure a couple of SQL Server 2000
machines on a network. Set up replication between
the two servers and send data back and forth.
Even if you lay out flawless and redundant deployment plans, design a
highly efficient database, and write great code, you’ll have serious issues
if you don’t address capacity planning in all areas of your application.
Make sure you can address the areas of your application that will require
the greatest resources. Usually in enterprise applications, network bandwidth
may be an issue—especially your connection to the Internet. Put on your
systems engineer cap to explain what benefits switches, routers and storage
area networks give you.
You should be able to calculate how much data can be transferred across
an Internet connection of a given bandwidth. You should also be able to
perform projections of what your client will need in the future. Sound
difficult? Read the case study problems carefully to understand where
the sample companies are going.
|Read the official preparation guide on Microsoft’s
Web site. It provides a detailed list of exam topics.
You’ll find it at www.microsoft.com/
70-226.asp. On the same page, you can download and
try your hand at the “Case Study-Based Test Demo” to become
familiar with this exam’s new types of questions.
Your greatest weapon is to understand what will slow down an application.
In general, the things that are most resource-intensive relate to encryption,
transferring large amounts of data, and things that require a very significant
amount of disk I/O. Always be on the lookout for potential problem spots
that can arise.
Tip: Know the difference between scaling up, which is adding a processor
or memory, and scaling out, which is adding additional servers.
Know Your Stuff
No bones about it—this exam is tough. You need to know your stuff inside
and out. Although you don’t have to be an expert developer with a significant
amount of enterprise-level experience, be sure to get a good overview
of Component Services and COM. With this exam, Microsoft is showing us
that developers need to be network engineers and vice versa.
I’m not trying to scare you into not taking this exam, but I want to
make certain you have the appropriate background and that you give yourself
enough study time to master the concepts. May you rise to the challenge.