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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Aug 7, 2000 (Vol. 5, #34 - Issue #208)
Ghosting: paying TWICE for the OS?
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • Three Short Takes
    • 10 Steps to Put your Network Storage Usage Policy in Place
    • Ghosting your machines costs TWICE the W2K OS price?
    • Free IBM Redbook on Tuning NT/2000 Performance
    • Rebels Pledge To Keep NT 4.0 Certification Alive
    • How Much Time Are You Going To Spend Installing SP1?
    • Network Performance Boost by Defragmentation
    • Domain Security Auditing with Sunbelt Domain Reporter
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
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Three Short Takes

Hi NT/2000 Pros,

Three short points:

1) I'd like you to renew your subscription. We are slowly phasing out the nt-list and continue with the w2k-list. You will still get your weekly pragmatic, from-the-trenches news about Windows NT and 2000.

2) Please read the NT/2000 items and voice your opinion about the MS policy about ghosting software. You'll find out what I think about it when you browse down.

3) My new book: 'Windows 2000 Administrator's Black Book' will be available THIS WEEK! I'm going to send you an announcement re this on Wednesday, Aug 9 when you get the special 'guest issue' of Certification Must Know News that I promised last week.

Warm regards,

Stu Sjouwerman
(email me with feedback: [email protected])

To keep your systems UP and SECURE, you are constantly confronted
with questions like: What was the latest Hotfix? Hot to get it on
all the systems? Which hotfix is included in what Service Pack?
What is the right sequence of installing them? Do I have the most
recent hotfix version? Well, here is finally the conclusive answer
to all these problems: The brand new V4.0 (supports NT+W2K) of SPQuery!

Visit SPQuery for more information.

10 Steps to Put your Network Storage Usage Policy in Place

How can you put a lid on network storage so you won't have to worry about servers crashing, and employees becoming server squatters?

Some organizations put in place a storage policy, which, in some cases, has become part of a large corporate computer usage policy. A storage policy defines what gets placed on the server, how much space your users get assigned on the server; and what kinds of housekeeping tasks employees will be asked to carry out if they exceed their space allotment.

Meanwhile, the corporate computer usage policy defines acceptable employee business practices for using the server, such as no downloading of pornography, and the actions taken by the company if employees don't follow these practices. A policy like this saves you tons of time, and by keeping data growth under control also saves money spent on backing up all kinds of junk-data.

Here are 10 steps for putting a storage usage policy in place.

  1. Get buy-in from corporate management, human resources, and legal. Ask a senior information technology (IT) management member to spearhead the rollout of the policy.

  2. Do an audit of all storage resources and back up procedures, and load balance servers to distribute applications across the network.

  3. Invest in storage resource management tools like StorageCentral, which has quota management and disk usage reporting capabilities and shows you current storage trends.

  4. Work with local systems administrators to set thresholds and alerts for specific storage resource attributes, such as tracking size of partitions, specific types of files, or specific groups of users.

  5. Make available certain types of servers for applications such as archiving, or storing images. Likewise, invest in document management software to keep track of specific types of files, such as Lotus Notes.

  6. Confine applications, such as data warehousing, to their own server.

  7. Establish backup procedures for both desktops and mobile PCs. Investigate storage management tools for archiving, allocating, and retaining documents.

  8. Have the senior IT management executive call an all-hands meeting with the department heads to discuss the policy. The department heads, in turn, will alert their staff to the policy and how it will be managed locally to employees.

  9. Gather historical data about storage patterns for capacity planning, budgeting, and look at the feasibility of doing storage chargebacks to departments.

  10. Make it a routine to give employees reports listing files that meet certain criteria for removal from servers. Such files could be more than a certain size, type, or inactive for a certain period. An HTML page listing with links to each file allows an employee to click on the link and instantly know the contents of that file to identify the file and delete it immediately..

    The Tool:


Ghosting your machines costs TWICE the W2K OS price?

I just read a story on CNET that made my eyes pop. My first reaction was "You GOTTA be kidding." But it seems to actually be the case. Here is the story in a nutshell. URL is below.

Market researcher Gartner has issued a report that says confusing and ornate contractual terms in Microsoft's licensing agreements are forcing many corporate customers to buy two copies of Windows 2000 for the same computer or to invest in additional upgrade packages.

Everyone has been using tools such as Ghost to wipe out the software on hard disks of new computers and install their own "software image". We do this too at Sunbelt, it's an OS plus a standardized desktop with all the apps we have for end-users. And you only need to buy one OS license for that workstation, because they are virtually identical, right? Well, think again!

I'm baffled. Microsoft is telling customers it's not that simple. The software that comes on their computers and the software that is part of their software image are covered by separate license contracts. Although they might be identical technically, customers cannot legally replace one copy for another without incurring consequences.

If they want to replace the software that comes on the computer with their software image, they have to buy all of the software twice. Wiping off the software on the computer also voids any obligation on the part of the PC manufacturer to provide technical support. Technical support can be had from Microsoft, but at a cost of $375 per incident, according to Gartner.

The scenario does not apply to all corporate customers or all buying situations, but it does affect a large population. Business customers with fewer than 10,000 employees that subscribe to Microsoft's Select licensing plan can be affected, according to Gartner. Microsoft hotly denies this contention and says the problem occurs because the two Windows versions--the one that came with the PC and the one added later --cannot be considered the same. I respectfully disagree. That is basically nonsense, and I'm sure something lawyers cooked up.

Ultimately corporate buyers are responsible and have to take action to avoid being caught in a licensing violation.


CNET thinks the following: "One option is to receive new PCs without any operating system and use Microsoft's Select media to create custom software images, although this could prove more costly than getting Windows from the system manufacturer. In this situation, the customer would pay only Microsoft for the cost of Windows and not the PC maker as well.

Another option is to use Windows software provided by the PC maker to create the custom software build. A third workaround is to have the PC maker load the custom software images at the factory, but this adds $25 to $35 per system".

CNET did not propose a fourth solution that I would suggest. Get your Purchasing Office to talk to your Legal Department, and have both of them communicate their discontent to Bill Landefeld, Microsoft's general manager for pricing and licensing. You all know me by now, I'm a fairly easy going kinda guy, and relatively tolerant. But in this case I'm saying: MICROSOFT, GIVE ME A BREAK !

Here is the CNET article:

Free IBM Redbook on Tuning NT/2000 Performance

IBM just published the 2nd edition of their Windows NT and W2K Performance book. Just like the 1st edition, a complete 6.8MB PDF of the entire 600-page book is freely downloadable from the IBM Web site (URL below). You can also buy it online as a regular book, (list $49.99) via Amazon or other booksellers if your laser printer is going to choke on such a big PDF as mine did last week.

When I announced the first edition of this book back in December 1998, IBM got 18,000 hits right after. Looks like you guys would be interested in hearing about the new edition. It's been updated to include the latest info on tuning Windows 2000, tuning IBM Netfinity hardware and tuning some of the major NT/2000 server applications.

IBM sent me a copy for my library, and this is worth giving your address info and email address to them. (You have to register to get access to it). Check out:
http://www.redbooks.ibm.com ISBN: 0-13-040612-0

Rebels Pledge To Keep NT 4.0 Certification Alive

Client Server News reported yesterday that Lanop (a 13-year old IT training company offering Cisco, Novell and MS courses) decided to create independent certification called NT Certified Independent Professional: NTCIP.

They are supported by a consortium of independent training professionals, and plan to keep NT4.0 certification alive after MS will no longer offer NT4 Exam tests December 31-st 2000. All MCSE Certs expire a year after that date. By that time MS would like all MCSE's to have upgraded to the new W2K certs to meet the need for W2K certified engineers.

It is obvious that a whole bunch of MCSE's are very unhappy with this and say that MS does this to forcefeed migration to W2K in a faster pace. And a lot of people have spent thousands of dollars out of their own pocket to get certified. Those certs will be void and that's an unhappy scene. The good news is that current MCSE's will be grandfathered into the new certification if they can supply the documentation.

Lanop claims there will be sufficient demand for NT 4 MCSE's for quite a while and that W2K migration is not going to go as fast as MS thinks it will. John Goodfriend is Lanop's head honcho and said: "Many companies upgraded to NT 4.0 in 1999 because of the Y2K scare and they're not about to foot the bill for another upgrade until they've gotten their money's worth out of the NT 4.0 upgrades".

Well, there is something to say for that. We just started our W2K preps in Sunbelt and this _is_ the mother of all migrations. Not something we are particularly looking forward to. NT has been running pretty well for us in the last few years. We have a file server that gets rebooted maybe twice per year.

Lanop claims it has gotten the agreement of testing houses Sylvan Prometric and Virtual University Enterprises (VUE) to run their rebel exams. Tests are already being assembled, and will be very similar to the existing MCSE exams, and perhaps even a bit more difficult. The first tests will only be offered Jan 1, 2001 and will cost the same 100 bucks.

Well I can tell you that Microsoft ain't gonna like this one, and perhaps they'll even sue, but if I can make a suggestion to them, I'd say 'leave this puppy alone'.

Here's the rebel base:


How Much Time Are You Going To Spend Installing SP1?

Attention Windows 2000 users: How much time are you going to spend installing SP1 on your Windows 2000 machines?

St. Bernard Software has made life easier with SPQuery V4.0, the latest version of its service pack and hotfix management software. SPQuery's Now supports both NT and W2K. More important it has a really cool "Live Update" feature that complements the just released SP1 for W2K.

SPQuery's "Live Update" provides you with a notification when new service pack or hotfix information is available for download. You You receive the most updated information available every time you launch SPQuery. With these and other enhanced features, SPQuery plays a key role in maintaining the security of your NT/2000 boxes.

Some more detail: SPQuery gets you real-time data about what service packs and hotfixes are available, as well as what operating system issues they address. You can now _remotely_ query, identify, and update service packs and hotfixes on multiple NT/2000 systems from the convenience your own chair. The SPQuery central console finally means no more manual updates on each individual machine!

Additional enhancements include:

  • Support for Microsoft's Terminal Server Edition (TSE)
  • Ability to schedule or cancel service packs and hotfixes installs
  • File distribution capability for self-contained silent-install- based .exe files
    You can now stop wearing down your sneakers and wasting valuable time managing service packs and hotfixes the old fashioned way.

    If you need to present your management with a cost justification, here is an example we worked out for you: A company with ten servers and 100 workstations with NT/2000 and Terminal Server will spend approximately $2,250 every time an update is distributed. Not to mention additional costs incurred for research and testing. If your company deploys SPQuery you will not only eliminate unnecessary expense, but you'll gain back the time to get your real job done. Now supports both NT and W2K. Price indication and Eval over here:

    Network Performance Boost by Defragmentation

    NSTL's is an independent testing lab, that recently confirmed a boost in performance of 85.5% for Windows 2000, combined with a whopping increase of 80.6% for Windows NT on computers that were being defragmented on a regular basis. And their results were also interesting to see on a whole network. Where it has been deployed to all machines on a domain, similar results for the entire network were being reported.

    More over, it was noted that disk fragmentation is responsible for a wide array of service desk calls and trouble tickets. System admins who have installed and run a defragger have reported significant drops in server and desktop support costs. They simply got a lot less complaints about why the 'computer was so slow'.

    Sunbelt has two solutions to boost your network's performance.
    (this is a super bundle of a disk cache, defragger and tuner)

    Domain Security Auditing with Sunbelt Domain Reporter

    Security auditing is a major concern in many organizations. Security of data contained in NT file systems can be challenging to evaluate as there simply are no native tools that can report on file system permissions. SDR's 2.61 NTFS reporting allows you to get specific info about where a particular user or users have been given explicit access - something which is not normally done outside of users' personal directories.

    Another security-related use pertains to employees leaving an organization - where did that employee have access and what data might they have taken when they left? If you use Sunbelt Domain reporter to assess you company network, the following point is important: Offline Reporting on Collected Data.

    Offline Reporting (enabled by offline Scopes) is a feature that will be very useful if you do network assessments as part of an inside or perhaps outside service offering. You want to be able to review the data you have collected after leaving the customer's site. Using "create offline scopes" in Scope Manager, it is now possible to create a stored copy of all the network objects to permit offline viewing of collected historical data.

    The Sunbelt Domain Reporter generates automated and customizable reports quickly and easily from historic and real-time data from multiple, enterprise-wide Windows NT domains, and Microsoft Exchange Server application directories. Eval for download:


    This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

  • Need to Audit Windows 2000? Here is a cool article about that
  • Need to know what ASAP, AFAIK, TIA, LOL, ROTFL mean?
    http://www.acronymfinder.com/ has a 156,000 of them. Useful on-line.
  • Vote for your FAVE TOOLS! See what tools your NT/2000 colleagues like best:
  • Microsoft's launch into the home games market with the XBOX - running Windows 2000 as it's kernel operating system has been exposed by the guys over at www.xbox365.com. They have a cool story detailing the W2K software behind it after they got their hands on an xdk - xbox software developer kit. Check it out at: