A Mixed Guide to Server Administration

There's good information here, but you might have to dig for some of it.

Mission Critical! Windows 2000 Server Administration ranges widely in value depending on your needs as a network administrator. It may be your best friend or definitely not the best tool for you. Overall, the book is well written and has some excellent technical gems of information tucked inside. Some of these are easy to find and well introduced, while others are buried in the bowels of concepts that are illogically linked together.

The book starts off a little slow for a desktop reference book. The first couple of chapters, including some of the technical chapters of the book, read like a novel more than a "Mission Critical" desktop reference for network administration. The early chapters give an overview of what a network administrator can expect when implementing Active Directory, but don't go into any real depth. Although an interesting read, these chapters won't solve too many AD problems. The main problem with these chapters on AD and the related AD topics is that they lack organization and flow. At one moment you're reading about the depth of the Schema, then you're redirected to a brief overview of the different FSMO (Flexible Single Master Operator) roles. Before you know it, you're back into the Schema, reading about attributes.

As the introductory chapters fade and the meat of the book is revealed, you'll discover plenty of good tips and network administration nuggets tucked into the chapters. You'll need to dig for these, but they're certainly there. After the chapters on AD, the book changes tempo and takes on the role of a high-quality reference book. The chapters related to Group Policy, Users and Groups, and Server administration give excellent descriptions of these technologies and their implementation in Win2K. These chapters also give important step-by-step instructions, illustrating how to get the critical aspects of the system up and running properly.

The chapters on network services have some excellent illustrations that'll help you understand how to implement some of the basic functions and configurations. The chapters on DHCP, DNS, WINS, security, TCP/IP, and connectivity will serve as an extremely useful guide.

Overall, the book is well written, but really has two different personalities. The first portion of the book, including the AD chapters, is hard to follow and not extremely detailed. The chapters that cover administration and the network-centric technologies are well organized and written to flow well, and have some excellent step-by-step illustrations to help you understand and administer your Win2K network. Overall, this is a worthwhile guide to network administration, but you'll need to look elsewhere to understand AD.

About the Author

Derek Melber (MCSE, MVP, CISM) is president of BrainCore.Net AZ, Inc., as well as an independent consultant and speaker, as well as author of many IT books. Derek educates and evangelizes Microsoft technology, focusing on Active Directory, Group Policy, security and desktop management. As one of only 8 MVPs in the world on Group Policy, Derek’s company is often called upon to develop end-to-end solutions regarding Group Policy for companies. Derek is the author of the The Group Policy Resource Kit by MSPress, which is the defacto book on the subject.


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