All You Need to Know about Designing a Windows 2000 Network

More than just the information required to pass a single exam.

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 exams.

[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.

About the Author

Greg Saoutine, MCSE, is an IT Consultant working in New York City.


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