Planning an Active Directory Implementation

Implementing Active Directory (AD) is a daunting task requiring extensive planning and testing, and this New Riders' release emphasizes just how important this preparation is.

AD designers and architects will benefit from the suggested planning processes, but the network administrator looking for Windows 2000 tidbits will be disappointed. The authors clearly state that Windows 2000 Active Directory isn't a reference guide for the Win2K administrator. Nor is it a gold mine of formerly undisclosed Win2K tips and tricks. Instead, the authors are disciplined in their focus, and you see this in their limited discussion of essential AD elements such as DNS, WINS, group policy and sites. These components are covered in just enough detail to present the challenges and guiding principles for AD architects.

Moving on, this volume isn't an exam preparation guide. The explanations presented for each topic cover only general concepts and assume that the reader already knows a good deal about AD. The authors also raise many issues without completely resolving them. For example, the need to integrate AD and UNIX is mentioned several times in the book, but little is offered in the way of a complete plan for coexistence. But this is entirely in keeping with the book's intent. Remember, the volume's aim is to provide guiding principles for the development of unique AD infrastructures.

I was disappointed with one aspect of this book — the presentation of a fictional company, "Wadeware," and the "dissection" in case study fashion of this company's AD design and configuration. While illustrating AD's capabilities and providing a sample AD implementation are great ideas, the Wadeware model is used too vaguely to provide any real insight into AD's features and benefits. On several occasions where the reader would benefit from a real-life example of AD in action, the Wadeware model isn't mentioned. In addition, why and how Wadeware set up its AD configuration the way it did is never really addressed.

This book can serve as a starting point for those involved in AD design and implementation. The incorporated concepts and examples are useful, though limited, and because of the book's brevity, each AD component is covered only briefly. (AD implementers will need to do further research upon finishing this book.) And while this volume may not serve as an exam preparation tool for MCSE hopefuls or quick reference for Win2K network administrators, it does contain valuable insights into developing a well-thought-out AD implementation plan.

About the Author

Robert Pfeiffer, MCSE, MCT, works closely with Windows NT and Win2K. Implementing Win2K in the enterprise is currently one of Rob's major undertakings, and he enjoys showing others how to take advantage of Windows networking technologies. He also occasionally delves into development work using Visual Basic.

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