Integrating Unix and Windows NT

Though uneven in presentation, this video series still is a help for those linking the disparate operating systems.

With Linux becoming increasingly popular, even the staunchest Windows NT supporters seem willing to accept a Unix-like server on their networks. The target audience for this videotape series, then, is any organization that has chosen to work with both Unix and NT systems on its network, leveraging the strengths of both while seeking ways to smooth integration of the two platforms.

As I watched the first two tapes of this six-part series, I was a bit disappointed. The tapes primarily covered the history of the NT and Unix systems and how they differ — material I didn’t find particularly interesting or useful. I was anxious to get to the meat of the course: a discussion of how the two disparate systems can be integrated. Fortunately, the remaining four videotapes in the series didn’t disappoint.

The course author and presenter, Ross Brunson, undoubtedly understands Unix and NT and has real-world experience with both platforms. The most valuable part of the series, for example, is the demonstration he gives using a Caldera OpenLinux system to demonstrate the Unix server and an NT 4.0 Server to demonstrate the NT side.

Throughout the series, Brunson remains refreshingly platform-neutral. He doesn’t hesitate to incorporate Unix utilities as he manages NT servers and, in the series, uses utilities that I’ve found essential to managing NT and Unix servers in the same environment. It isn’t made clear until late in the series, however, that many of the utilities demonstrated are components of several NT utility packages — the NT Resource Kit (and its supplements) and the Microsoft Services for Unix add-on pack. Much of the magic Brunson performs in his demonstrations would be impossible on unmodified NT Servers. I believe any company that’s interested in integrating Unix and NT (interested enough to purchase this videotape series for its employees) should help these employees by purchasing the two utility packages. The NT Resource Kit, for instance, contains the best documentation available anywhere on NT and Windows Networking (in both printed and Windows .hlp formats).

The workbook accompanying the tapes, while useful, still falls short in several areas. A resource links appendix appears to be missing, and the questions at the end of each module seem to miss the most important topics presented in a module. In the end, I think that an NT workstation (loaded with the NT Resource Kit) probably is more useful for getting the most out of the tapes.

About the Author

Charles Aulds, MCSE, MCP+I, a programmer/analyst with Epic Data, Connectware Products Group, develops bar code data collection middleware.

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