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 book

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.

About the Author

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.

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