Active Directory From The Ground Up

This book covers the gamut of AD functionality, and has something for everyone.

Today, as books about technology and technology training are published as fast as new software is developed, the quality can be compromised. I confess to being quite picky about books in general and tend to spend hours scanning through texts before choosing one. After comparing MCSE Exam 70-224: Server Implementation and Administration Training Kit to many other volumes on this topic—and this certainly isn’t the first book on the subject I’ve come across—I can say without a doubt that this is one of the best Exchange 2000 Server resources you’ll find.

More than just a book, this resource is a complete training kit designed to help you prepare for exam 70-224, Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server. The kit includes Exchange 2000 Enterprise edition and Outlook 2000 evaluation software, an online version of the book, and multimedia instructional files. Kit material is laid out so that a reader can go through the book cover to cover and learn a great deal about Exchange 2000 Server. Or, if so inclined, you can concentrate on a specific topic by delving into the appropriate chapter or two.

The level of information provided in the text is quite good and appropriate for a technical audience. The author maintains her focus on Exchange 2000 Server technology without wandering off into irrelevant details. Topics flow nicely, starting with general information about Exchange 2000 Server’s architecture and how it integrates with Windows 2000 Active Directory, then the book moves into installation procedures. Later chapters cover Exchange 2000 Server administration, coexistence of Exchange 2000 Server with earlier versions and other mail systems, advanced security implementation, and maintenance/troubleshooting.

As an accompaniment to the excellent text, you’ll find instructions on how to set up a lab to put the theory you’re learning into practice. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, but there’s one drawback—the lab is built around three networked computers. Now, it isn’t a given that most people will have three machines handy; but never fear, there’s hope! To work around a lack of hardware, the training kit conveniently provides multimedia files that contain simulations of every exercise in the book.

I found these files useful. First, they provide a pseudo hands-on experience for those times when stepping through a process is key to clarifying a specific concept, but a lab isn’t available. Second, they allow you to verify your results as you experiment with Exchange 2000 Server. Third, in case you have a lab and can’t get it to work, the files provide a backup. The only bad thing about the files is that, at times, it was difficult to make out the words in the dialog boxes displayed on Windows Media Player.

I should also point out that at the end of each exercise there’s a summary, recapping key points, and at the end of each chapter there are review questions. These help you see if you need to spend some more time on the topics covered or if you’re ready to move on.

Of course, when it comes to learning how to maximize Exchange 2000 Server, nothing beats actual hands-on experience, and I recommend you get as much of that as you can. But this training kit does offer a variety of excellent tools that can help prepare you for the Exchange test.

About the Author

Joseph Phillips, MCSE, MCT, CTT enjoys Windows 2000, Windows NT, and old-fashioned subnetting. Joseph serves as a consultant and trainer. He is an author of several books covering topics ranging from Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure, Windows 2000 Security, and the A+ Certification Exam.


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