Editor's Desk

A Practical Approach

Getting the job done often means accomplishing what you can within the constraints of real-world resources and budgets.

Bill Boswell, our “Windows Insider” columnist, used to work as an IT director for a telemarketer, building its boiler rooms. My guess is that because of that stint, he probably understands how to put a network together quickly—and dismantle it just as quickly.

That’s part of the reason why he undertook the topic of this month’s column, in which he profiles a .NET Server upgrade project. “I realized in the last few articles that I was getting really greasy,” he says. To steer away from the inner workings of the OS for a change, he decided to take on the challenge of writing something that would help the vast majority of you who have simpler needs.

“Every certification [question] assumes you have endless resources and you can expend them any way you see fit,” he explains. “Most of the people out there doing Windows right now are not even close.”

In his latest column, Boswell shares the story of a consultant who leapfrogs Windows 2000 from Windows NT 4.0 and installs .NET Server on her client’s network. She makes specific decisions during the course of that job based on having a cheapskate company owner signing the checks. But still, she accomplishes a lot—and all in a single day.

I think an undercurrent of Boswell’s column is that even if you lack in budget, you can apply some intelligence and resourcefulness to the work and still get a hell of a lot accomplished.

So where do you start?

Besides the column, he has a new book coming out. Inside Windows .NET Server 2003 will be on the streets Feb. 7. Or, if you haven’t read Inside Windows 2000 Server, you’ve missed out. Pick up a copy and apply yourself to learning its tenets. (Amazon offers them used for as low as $4; sorry, Bill.)

Likewise, Boswell shares what he knows through training. His company specializes in teaching what he calls “break-fix content”: “How does it work? How does it break? How do you fix it?”

He’ll be imparting those practical lessons at our two TechMentor events next year taking place in New Orleans in April and San Diego in September. Likewise, he’ll be giving two-day workshops on the inner workings of the Windows network infrastructure at four additional events, which we’re calling the TechMentor Seminar Series. He assumes you know the fundamentals. His job is to share nuggets of practical advice.

Boswell honestly believes .NET is a good thing for admins—particularly, those in shops running Terminal Services and those using Windows for Web services. He considers it a smart platform for tactical deployments, not strategic. (In other words, there’s more there for you than for the bean-counters.)

What form will your resourcefulness take in 2003? Tell me at dian.schaffhauser@mcpmag.com, and I’ll tell others.

About the Author

Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.

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