Pocket Protection for Windows 2003
Day-to-day admin duties spelled out in detail in 285 short, narrow pages.
At MCP Magazine
, we've reviewed our fair share of Windows Server
2003 books, with most pushing the upper limit for detail, pages and sheer
Danielle and Nelson Ruest, who've also written a whopper of a Windows
2003 book, went the opposite way with Windows Server 2003 Pocket Administrator.
In contrast to the Ruest's 490-page Windows Server 2003: Best Practices
for Enterprise Deployment, the Pocket Administrator is positively
puny. At just 285 pages including the index, and narrower than the average
softcover, it's small enough to replace your pocket protector.
There are two ways to look at this little book: It's ideal for those
who've waded through the big ones and already have some form of Windows
2003 installed. The idea is to carry the Ruest's book and refer to it
when handling day-to-day admin tasks. But these 285 pages also serve as
a neat, easily-consumed intro to Windows 2003, and a handy outline for
installing and managing the still relatively new Microsoft OS. [Editor's
note: The Ruests are frequent contributors to Microsoft Certified
As an on-the-job reference guide, Pocket Administrator is organized
to the max. You can't go through a single page without encountering a
highlighted security tip, set of procedures, or advice on how often to
perform a particular task. And the authors hope readers add to this with
highlights and scribbled notes of their own.
The guide is set up as a logical progression, and starts with general
administration. The text assumes you know what you're doing, but doesn't
write over a typical Windows aficionado's head. The practical aspects
are apparent almost immediately, as page 2 includes a detailed schedule
of administrative tasks, along with their precise frequency.
After 60 some-odd pages of general info, the Ruests launch into File
and Print servers, the bread and butter of the Windows networking world,
and most often the first, and sometimes only, services used. Always practical,
this chapter begins with a schedule of weekly, daily, and ad-hoc tasks
for print, file and cluster services. The Ruests understand that they
aren't the end-all, be-all of Windows 2003 administrative information,
and point constantly to other resources. In the case of file and print,
they suggest Microsoft TechNet Script Center, a gold mine of handy and
sometimes critical scripts.
The next 34 pages focus on administering network infrastructure servers,
and delve into the intricacies of DNS, DHCP and WINS. Because DHCP and
WINS have become so reliable on Windows, most tasks are done on an ad-hoc
rather than regular basis. Even still, it's nice to have the detailed
schedule the Ruests provide. This section also explains exactly how to
manage deployment servers and remote access/VPN services.
Active Directory fans will be tempted to leap ahead to the chapter "Administering
Identity Servers." Here you'll learn all the ins and outs of managing
domain controllers and DNS servers. This section is peppered with tips,
schedules, resources and screen shots. And the Security Scan items warn
against actions that could compromise the network.
Application Servers conclude the book, which makes sense as a lot of
administrative groundwork should be laid before allowing users to share
applications. Different tasks are defined for different categories of
applications, including dedicated Web servers, application servers, terminal
servers, and performance and monitoring services. While each of these
could fill a book, the Pocket Administrator offers the fundamentals
and a framework for managing day-to-day application operations.
This is a terrific book for Windows 2003 admins, and if you're a manager,
a great way to make sure your employees know what they're doing.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.