Sunbelt W2Knews Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Aug 28, 2000 (Vol. 5, #39 - Issue #213)
Your System Admin Checklists
This issue of W2Knews contains:
- EDITORS CORNER
- TECH BRIEFING
- Your System Admin Checklists
- NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
- Did You Know All Hardware Compatibility Lists Are On FTP?
- Transcenders For W2K MCSE Almost There
- ENT Magazine Significantly Improved
- NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
- Netop Remote Control Wins PC PRO "EDITOR'S CHOICE"
- Brand New Double-Take Page and GeoCluster Add-On.
- W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
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More on Security
Hi NT/2000 Pros,
Well, what you told us is that Security is still your headache #1.
So I did some research and found a whole new category of security
tool that has just been introduced. Sunbelt is getting geared up
to delivering this new tool which would be a great companion for
our vulnerability scanner STAT if you already use that. Why is this
new concept so interesting? Well, it allows you to scan your
networks from a completely new perspective.
I cannot say more about it just yet, but you'll be happy when you
see what you can do. It's another way to foil hackers before they
get to you. I'm sure you remember the old saying about 'the quick
and the dead', but for the non-USA subscribers, it boils down to
you better be quick or you're dead. .
We'll announce the new tool in our issue of September 11. And now,
let's have a look at what's out there for this week!
(email me with feedback: [email protected])
STILL MANUALLY DOCUMENTING YOUR NETWORKS? WISH IT WAS AUTOMATIC?
Now you can document your NT and Exchange servers in a fraction
of the time/cost compared to manual. Full-text with graphics--over
the Web or behind your firewall. No software to install, no agents
to load. Generate PDF, HTML, or WORD. Try it at no cost.
Visit Ecora for more information.
Your System Admin Checklists
Many of us are the Systems Manager, Network Admin, Security Admin,
Database Admin, Telecommunications Admin, Email Administrator,
sometimes WebMaster but senility is setting in and we can't remember
them all. :-))
Recently, a thread on the NTSYSADMIN list server was started about
what a System Admin really needed to do. Some people threw out a
few items, others took their resume's and did a cut & paste. Out
of the 40 postings or so, I grabbed all the items that seemed not
duplicated and plugged them into one list, for daily, (nightly)
weekly, monthly and 'incidental' activities. I'm not claiming it
is complete, but it's at least a good start. Items are not in
order of importance, and of course the activities are determined
by the size of your site. You can add the items that are relevant
to your own job. Here goes, and hope it helps!
- Check event log of every server, fix/try to fix as needed.
- Creating new directories, shares, and security groups, new accounts,
disabling/deleting old accounts, managing account policies.
- Make sure backup runs and verify the files.
- Plugging Security holes.
- Exchange Management including DL's, users, etc.
- Train the training people, helpdesk people, and end users.
- Answer all important emails from CFO/CEO/IT-MIS Director.
- Glance over DSU/TSU, switches, hubs, make sure everything is green.
- Check router logs.
- Check firewall logs.
- Various calls to MS Support for things that really aren't your fault.
- Check for free space on all servers, for file pollution and quotas.
- Ensure that all server services are running.
- Ensure that antivirus definitions are up-to-date.
- Run defrag and chkdsk on all drives.
- Monitor WINS replication.
- Monitor directory replication.
- Maintain performance baseline data.
- Monitor network traffic with sniffer or NETMON to keep performance up.
- Keep Service Pack and Hotfixes current as per company policy.
- Monitor Web traffic for indications of attacks.
- Install software for users
- Monitor user email for corporate policy violations.
- Check Print Queues.
- Keep a log of everything you have fixed or performed maintenance on.
- Make sure all apps are shared.
- Permissions and filesystem management.
- Check for bad system and ini files on database server (Btrieve).
- Make sure load on database server is acceptable and ghosted users
are cleared as well as multiple logons.
(Next Applies to Terminal Server admins only)
- Reboot each Citrix server.
- Delete all autocreated printers stuck.
- Clear out rogue local profiles.
- Clean Servers, check for .tmp files, jetdb files, etc.
- Implement any new policy, permission, logon script, or scheduled
- Research, Research, Research.
- Change any active monitoring & alerting (third party tools) as needed.
- Update Website, External and Intranet, send website log reports.
- Check PerfMon, NetMon, (or 3rd party tools) for OK baselines.
- Reboot Servers if needed.
- Keep up-to-date on IT news regarding my networks.
- Evaluate software for System Admin purposes.
- Try to get some MCSE study time in.
- Performance Monitoring/Capacity Planning- Budgeting for the future.
- Uptime/Downtime reports.
- Auditing network for unauthorized changes, ideally both from the
inside but also outside-in.
- Plan for W2K migration.
Initial or Occasionally:
- Rebuild Databases as needed.
- Gather statistics on Webservers. Send to CEO/CIO/CTO/CFO (Whomever).
- Clean exchange mailboxes.
- Change Service Account Passwords (not doing this is russian roulette).
- Convincing your boss that most of this stuff _needs_ to be done.
- Extended testing backups with restores.
- Maintaining applicable Service Level Agreements.
- Set System and Application priorities: If more than one thing is
broken, what needs to be fixed first.
- Managing off-site storage of backup tapes, whether you take them
home or a service picks them up.
- IT System vulnerability analysis: like "This mail server uses this
mail router- what's the impact if one or both are down (if mail
server is down mail router will store inbound mail and may run out
of disk space).
- Periodically reviewing all of the above, is documentation up to
date? Has the Disaster Recovery Plan been updated to reflect
changes in the environment?
- Periodically reviewing workload. Are some things no longer done?
- Periodically review company technical environment. How can it
And then of course: drink lots of coffee, post dilberts all over
your cubicle, surf the web, smoke cigars out back, walk around the
office looking busy, make personal phone calls, look for better
work on company time, download MP3s and other stuff that slows
down the T's .. you know .. stuff like that.
- Disaster Recovery to alternate site, in case of emergency.
- Configure and maintain DNS - Internal and External, DHCP, WINS,
- Document the full network.
- Rebuild corrupt servers.
- Test the Restore Procedure.
- Reconfigure domain structure.. again.
- Get a performance baseline for things like %Processor Time,
Pagefiling, Disk Queues.
- Initial checklist should include status of administrative and
- service passwords, status of the backups, check out DHCP scope(s),
- WINS, DNS, remove unnecessary protocols.
NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
Did You Know All Hardware Compatibility Lists Are On FTP?
Most of us are so used to check out the Web, that we forget about
FTP. But these HCL lists are very handy if you want to quickly do
a text based search or print out a section. In the early years,
W2K used to be on this list too, it went away but now it's back
again so all of them are there now:
You should plug this link in your 'Faves' or some where else where
you will not lose it. It's a great time saver and definitely one
of my own fave links.
Transcenders For W2K MCSE Almost There
TranscenderCerts for the 2000 MCSE core exams will soon be released.
You can be among the first to have them by ordering the Deluxe MCSE
2000 Select Pak or the Deluxe MCSE 2000 Core Pak now and receive the
corresponding TranscenderFlash products immediately. You can check
them out and even order online at over at
ENT Magazine Significantly Improved
There is a new Editorial Team at ENT Magazine and I think their
content has improved considerably over the last months. You should
have a look at it and get a free subscription (every 2 weeks). If
you do not live in the USA or Canada, you can still subscribe to
their e-newsletter. I would say the 5 reasons to subscribe to ENT are:
- Unique content. ENT is the only publication to provide ongoing
coverage of Microsoft?s new Data Center Server and the 64-Bit
- Easily digestible market driven information on new and emerging
technologies, application development, data management, and timely
industry news and analysis.
- Portable and concise. The twice-per-month frequency lets them
keep you informed on critical issues surrounding the NT/2000
platform as they happen.
- Subscriptions are free in the US and Canada. As long as you are
working in the Windows environment and have some level of purchasing
authority, you can qualify to receive a free subscription.
- Easy, to subscribe click here.
THIRD PARTY NEWS
Netop Remote Control Wins PC PRO "EDITOR'S CHOICE"
In a review of nine popular remote control packages, Germany's PC
Professional Magazine awarded its "Editor's Choice" award to NetOp
Remote Control v6.5. NetOp proved "faster than every other tested
application, particularly when transferring many files." The mag
also added that NetOp was highly stable, simple to operate, and
suitable for workstations as well as schools. The review, which
appears in the September issue of Germany's version of PC Magazine,
went on to call NetOp "very user friendly," with simple operation
requiring no training period.
In the tests, NetOp scored an impressive 96 out of 100 points with
the closest competitor scoring 91 and pcAnywhere coming in a distant
4th with 86. PC Professional gave NetOp a perfect five out of five
points in Usability, Configuration and Performance. For the full
review click below. It's in German but the grid with numbers speaks
A recent (May 2000) review of all the major Remote Control players:
NetOp 30-day Eval Download from Sunbelt site:
Brand New Double-Take Page and GeoCluster Add-On.
You may have heard from me in earlier issues that we are done with
making our website fully database driven. The Double-Take page is
brand new (pumped straight out of SQL 7.0) and we have a whole lot
more white-papers, diagrams, screen shots, documents and other
useful stuff on the DT-page now, for you to download.
Double-Take is the World's best selling tool for job security. Well,
I guess you know what I mean ;-) It's your insurance against downtime.
Simply put, you create a set of two machines. ONE, your primary
server (called the source machine) and TWO a second server which
is called the target.
Once you have the apps installed, you do a one time 'mirror' operation
that copies all the valuable data from the source to the target. That
done, you define the replication set, which keeps the target up-to-
date with ANY change on the source. Result? You have two machines
with the same data in real-time. If the source fails, Double-Take
fails over to the target and your users may not even notice. It's an
absolute requirement for business critical NT and 2000 systems.
The Add-On I mentioned in the title is called GeoCluster. If you are
running MS Clusters, you are still vulnerable because of two points:
MSCS uses a shared drive, and it is in _one_ location. GeoCluster
solves both of these problems in one fell swoop: You can break the
cluster nodes apart! It's tested to at least 40KM but depends on how
fat your pipes are so could go much wider. (Needs to be determined
by you and our Tech Team). And a last little but very important goodie:
GeoCluster frees you up from having to have identical hardware for
MSCS. When you think about it, this is a M A J O R breakthrough.
Anyway, check out the new page and pull down the new docs or the
30-day eval. And remember to watch the Microsoft Cluster Service
Disaster Recovery Video Featuring Double-Take on the same page!
(There is a link to GeoCluster as well)
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
Remote Resource Kit Roundup for NT4.0 Article. Very useful.
All the MS Hardware Compatibility Lists on FTP. Worth gold!
Vote for your FAVE TOOLS! See what tools your NT/2000 colleagues
How to convert my Backup Domain Controller to a standalone server?
- If it's W2K, Run DCPROMO
- If it's NT, you need to format and reinstall, or use a third
party tool like u-promote and you can find it over at: