All You Need to Know about Designing a Windows 2000 Network
More than just the information required to pass a single exam.
- By Greg Saoutine
All-in-One MCSE Windows 2000 Designing is an excellent study guide
for the three MCSE 2000 design exams: Designing a Microsoft Windows 2000
Directory Services Infrastructure (70-219), Designing Security for a Microsoft
Windows 2000 Network (70-220), and Designing a Microsoft Windows 2000
Network Infrastructure (70-221). The book is easy to read, very well illustrated
with logical diagrams and screen shots of Windows 2000 GUI, and has relevant
real-life scenarios using a hypothetical international construction company.
In a nutshell, All-in-One MCSE Windows 2000 Designing is written
to put the reader in the mindset demanded my Microsoft's new Win2K design
[Note: Co-author Harry Brelsford is a columnist for MCP Magazine.—Editor]
The coverage of design topics in the book varies from analyzing business
requirements (including risk management theory) to specific configuration
and even registry settings within a Windows 2000 Server. Each chapter
has several hands-on lab exercises, which allow the reader to implement
concepts described in the book in a basic lab/production environment.
The book also includes case studies that require the reader to come up
with specific technical solutions based on both the covered material and
the reader's judgment (a skill you'll need for the design exams!). The
CD-ROM included with the book provides a set of practice exams and a LearnKey
Video. The practice exams consist of multiple choice questions, which
are useful to review the concepts. These practice tests are not relevant
for the actual exams as MCSE Design exams are based on case studies and
do not include multiple choice questions. The LearnKey Video on Active
Directory is impressive, but very high-level for exam preparation purposes.
The biggest challenge the authors of the book faced was to decide whether
the chicken or the egg came first. It is not until Chapter 14 (out of
21 chapters) that the book gets into explaining the basics of the TCP/IP
protocol suite and its implementation within Windows 2000 (after all the
network security topics have been covered). If the reader is new to the
Microsoft Windows platform or networking, he may have to go straight to
Part 3 of the book for necessary background. In general following the
flow presented in the book, with Active Directory design concepts at first,
network security concepts next, and network infrastructure design issues
as a final step is a reasonable approach for a more experienced reader.
Overall, most of the information found in the book is relevant for the
preparation for the Windows 2000 Design exams. You may, however, need
to look elsewhere for a set of practice exams (all of which are known
to be based on case studies) since the in-depth coverage of one company/network
throughout the book may not be sufficient from the practice standpoint.
Finally, the biggest issue with the book is that only one design exam
is required as part of the MCSE curriculum, and the candidate has the
choice of four exams (one of them—Designing Highly Available Web
Solutions with Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Technologies (70-226)—is
not covered in the book). Regardless of the fact that an IT professional
can find all of the information in the book useful, individual parts of
the book aimed at each exam put the candidates at risk of not being adequately
prepared for their target exams without reading chapters technically aimed
at other exams. But if you want to learn about general Windows 2000 Active
Directory and network design issues beyond passing a required exam, the
book is right for you.
Greg Saoutine, MCSE, is an IT Consultant working in New York City.