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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Oct 9, 2000 (Vol. 5, #47 - Issue #221)
What Is The Whole DOT-NET Hoopla About?
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • What Is The Whole DOT-NET Hoopla About?
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • Life In The Microsoft Zone (By Ed Tittel)
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • Read Microsoft's 2000 Annual Report Online
    • How is Windows 2001 going to look?
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • QualysGuard announces new '1-IP' entry level price: $1,995
    • Need To Monitor Exchange? Compare Real-View with NetIQ
    • AutoPilot For Windows 2000 Released!
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  6. PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • Windows NT/2000 ADSI Scripting for System Admin
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  EDITORS CORNER

What Is The Whole DOT-NET Hoopla About?

Hi NT/W2K Pros,

Last year, Gates said that he 'bet he company' on W2K. This year he said the bet is on .NET. Does that mean W2K is now no longer important? Well, MS invested about 7 Billion in W2K so they cannot afford to lose interest. However, MS has a tradition of working under pressure (or under siege) to get their work done. Ballmer likes to say that he is able to turn the company on a dime.

Did MS win the bet on W2K? Not yet! It's a slow process and although they put a good face on it, they would like to see adoption go much faster than it really is. The vast majority of us is still planning for it. However, Gartner Group said that in 2001, 70% of new servers are going to have W2K installed. It's those over 3 million NT servers and 30 million NT workstations that need to be migrated.

So now, since W2K is here, we hear about all this .NET stuff. What is it? It is not a new OS, it's a new way to develop software. In the next phase of the 'Net, we're going beyond simple Web pages and move toward powerful Web services. That means we need to enable resources and information so they can be programmatically accessed. This way, they can be used as services instead of remaining 'silos of stranded data'. MS is going to provide developers the tools to write this stuff, and morph all their own software to .NET enabled versions too.

The magic language to do that trick? eXtensible Markup Language (XML). That will transfer rich data sets among ultra-distributed (web) systems. XML also allows developers to aggregate and assemble data from a variety of sources in new and more valuable ways. Think: "Which of my vendors has this SKU available in the shortest time for the lowest cost?"

Another example: Supposed you want to find restaurants in your area that serve a specific type of cuisine and you'd like to know if a particular one has seating available at 7 pm tonight. Can't be done as there are no standards in place for integrating all this data. Vendors have their own way of describing items they sell. More over, it is difficult to develop the code necessary to integrate such services, but XML will do the trick.

.NET promises to make the Internet a two-way, interactive, anytime, anywhere and more integrated environment, and voice-driven if possible. All the MS applications will be 'dotNETted' so they can use both XML and SOAP which stands for Simple Object Access Protocol. You can use these apps sitting on top of either NT or W2K. MS is developing their own mobile phone with all this stuff built in by the way.

Oh yeah, that means the Application Service Provider model will get some legs too, as at this moment in time I see very few ASP success stories out there. I'm sure that MS will come out with a subscription fee per month for MS-Office.NET, that you can run from where ever you are from whatever browser with all your personal stuff right at your fingertips, so you can happily work 24 hours a day. ;-)

Coming Wednesday I'll be sending you a NewsFlash from the show floor with all the latest Exchange hot news. More over, I'll let you all know who the winners are of your W2Knews Target Award 2000 vote!

EEEK! The mslinux.org site I gave you last time had a direct link to a porn site that we had not noticed. My apologies. But the funny thing is, MS just bought about 25% of Corel for over a $130 Mil, so the joke is almost true anyway. Corel is going to develop .NET stuff as a 'thank you'. EEEK! The mslinux.org site I gave you last time had a direct link to a porn site that we had not noticed. My apologies. But the funny thing is, MS just bought about 25% of Corel for over a $130 Mil, so the joke is almost true anyway. Corel is going to develop .NET stuff as a 'thank you'.

Warm regards,

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

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  TECH BRIEFING

Life In The Microsoft Zone (By Ed Tittel)

Dear Readers:
Life in the Microsoft zone continues to stay interesting and somewhat unpredictable. In this column, I'd like to share some recent items that have popped up on the MS Training and Services Web site, and warn against the dangers of making assumptions. On the plus side, here's a little tidbit that popped up in the "Frequently Asked Questions about MCSE" there:

Q. If I have passed all core exams in the Windows NT 4.0 MCSE track by December 31, 2000, but have not yet passed my elective exams by that date, can I still continue to earn my certification?

A. Yes, if you have passed all core exams in the Windows NT 4.0 MCSE track exams by December 31, 2000, you may continue to earn your MCSE certification in the Windows NT 4.0 track, as long as the electives you select have not retired.

OK, this is pretty good news. Before Microsoft made this official pronouncement, pretty much everybody assumed that the end of 2000 would also be the end for anybody trying to get a Windows NT MCSE. In fact, in light of this rather late pronouncement (it appeared in September), I recommend that anybody who's close to meeting the 70-240 requirements (passing 70-067 Server, 70-068 Server in the Enterprise, and 70-073 Workstation) should hurry up and finish those exams along with 70-058 Networking Essentials (all of these retire on 12/31/2000). Then, you can take 2 electives early next year, being careful to pick electives that (a) apply to Windows 2000 MCSE at the time you take them and (b) are unlikely to retire soon (I think this means that it's best to avoid exams like 70-081 Exchange 5.5 which is bound to be supplanted by 70-225 Exchange 2000, 70-079 IEAK 4.0 versus 70-080 IEAK 5.0, and 70-088 Proxy Server 2.0 versus 70-227 ISA Server 2000). If you manage to pull this off, you'll have exactly two exams to take (best case) to upgrade your MCSE from NT 4.0 to Windows 2000:

  1. 70-240 Accelerated Windows 2000
  2. one of the three "Designing" exams:
    (a) 70-219 Designing Directory Services
    (b) 70-220 Designing Secure Windows 2000 Networks
    (c) 70-221 Designing Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure
As long as you can gut the retiring exams out by the end of the year this approach makes sense because NT 4.0 looks like it will remain the dominant server operating system for at least another year. And if you're already at least one or two steps down this path, it will be more efficient to follow it to its conclusion than otherwise.

But here's another way to look at this situation: count the number of exams you have left to take to finish the NT 4.0 MCSE, then add 2 to that number (for 70-240 and one of the designing exams). If that number is greater than or equal to 7, you can switch straight to Windows 2000 and take that route, because you have to take 7 exams anyway to get the Windows 2000 MCSE from scratch. But if the number is less than 7, you'll be better off taking the route I've suggested above--assuming, of course, that you can pass 70-240 on your one and only try. If you take it and fail, you must then take all four of the core Windows 2000 exams (70-210, 70-215, 70-216, and 70-217) to upgrade or obtain your MCSE.

This makes things a little more tricky than you might like, but it's Microsoft's game and we must all play it by their rules. That's why I found another e-mail from a reader who approached Microsoft to ask if he could then obtain an MCSE+I next year, assuming he had taken all exams that would be retiring by 12/31/2000 on or before that date. Seems like a reasonable request, given the statement in the FAQ about finishing the MCSE electives in 2001, right? Unfortunately, Microsoft's response is that since they aren't planning to keep the MCSE+I alive after the NT 4.0 exams retire, they "don't know" if they're going to allow this certification to be obtained posthumously, if you know what I mean.

To me, this underscores the notion that no decisions are entirely logical, and that it's a waste of time to try to predict what Redmond is going to do down to the last detail. If you want an MCSE+I, you'd better finish it before 12/31/2000, because at least then Microsoft will know what to do with you!

Good luck in your future certification adventures. Feel free to e-mail me with questions, comments, or strange findings of fact at [email protected]

--Ed--

Ed Tittel, VP, IT Certifications, LeapIt.com
Online certification info, training, & support community
Visit our Web sites at:
www.lanw.com
and
www.leapit.com

  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

Read Microsoft's 2000 Annual Report Online

You can now download or view it online. Microsoft's dynamic Online Annual Report is available It features Gates and Steve Ballmer's Letter to Shareholders. Translated in 11 languages, sits over here:
http://www.microsoft.com/msft/ar.htm

How is Windows 2001 going to look?

Paul Thurrott's Wininformant Site reported this week that Microsoft released a new interim build of the next version of Windows 2000 to testers for evaluation. It's expected next year so I have nicknamed it W2K1. It has a code name: Whistler, and build 2267 was released late Tuesday, offering small improvements to the previous alpha build, but no major new features.

There is a new policy for beta testers where builds of Whistler are now downloaded or installed live over the Web using Microsoft Passport validation. This is an attempt to stop piracy.

Paul has been able to spend a few hours with the Professional and Personal editions of Whistler build 2267, and found that Microsoft was probably wise to delay Beta 1: The new skinnable user-interface is finally coming together, but it's taken the company months to get it to this state. You can find the whole article here:
http://www.wininformant.com/display.asp?ID=2938

And talking about SKINS, Sunbelt will shortly come out with a custom version of MS Internet Explorer that will blow your socks off. Much more about that later. Watch for something very cool!

  THIRD PARTY NEWS

QualysGuard announces new '1-IP' entry level price: $1,995

The interest is not letting up, and the orders are flooding in. Looks like we have a hit on our hands here. This is a great tool to combine with STAT. QualysGuard allows you to scan outside-in and STAT allows you to scan inside-out. A perfect way to catch all the vulnerabilities.

Anyway, the feedback has been so voluminous, and so many system admins said they wanted to start the service with just 1 IP, (but the initial price was to steep for just one IP), that Qualys answered with an excellent offer: Scan one IP for just $1,995 per year. This new entry-level subscription allows you to scan for instance your website IP address and is your insurance policy that existing holes are fixed, and new holes that open up all the time are also caught. You can even try this out on your existing machine as it is now possible to fill out a fax form and get a 1-time, 1-IP scan of your own box as an evaluation.

Just like STAT, this is a nobrainer. Try it out!
QualysGuard:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=545
STAT:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=899

Need To Monitor Exchange? Compare Real-View with NetIQ

Quite a few people asked me: "I run Exchange but we already have NetIQ's AppManager so why would I need this?" Let me try to answer that question here. I'll compare the two tools on these four areas: Configuration, Architecture and deployment, The GUI and Remote Notification Methods. Here goes:

You might work in an IS division that already owns NetIQ's AppManager suite either with or without the Exchange management option. Which product would work best in that environment?

CONFIGURATION: Collecting Exchange Data for NetIQ's AppManager: NetIQ's AppManager uses knowledge scripts to collect data for MS Exchange. The AppManager has knowledge scripts for over 25 different subsets of Exchange counters. Each Knowledge script must be either created, configured, enabled, or a job needs to be scheduled for a threshold to be flagged.

CONFIGURATION: Collecting Data For SoftCell's Real-View Softcell's Real-View does not have knowledge scripts. Real-View only requires the names of the Exchange servers to monitor. It then dyna- mically finds all management attributes for those Exchange servers. No configuration is needed beyond that.

ARCHITECTURE AND DEPLOYMENT: NetIQ- System Architecture Knowledge Scripts must be configured first, before any data collec- tion begins with the AppManager to manage Exchange attributes. Agents must be installed to reside on each server to obtain the data for specific Exchange servers and are brought into a repository where the data is stored. Agents add more load to an Exchange server and can cause problems. If the server crashes then the agent is no longer effectively delivering data to the central repository. The AppManager relies on a distributed architecture to deliver core management of the Exchange server. A ten-server deployment of NetIQ's applications usually takes an IT department a few weeks for it to successfully work and enable thresholds.

ARCHITECTURE AND DEPLOYMENT: Real-View System Architecture Real-View is a passive application that does not need agents, which unnecessarily add server load to your Exchange environment. Real-View resides on a dedicated PC running NT workstation. Its data collectors make passive API calls to obtain the same information that NetIQ does only without the need for a data repository. Real-View keeps its real-time data in memory also with historic data in CSV files for detailed reporting. A ten-server deployment of Real-View takes one individual of the IT department less than a day to successfully configure Real-View. In fact data collection can literally begin only minutes after installing the software.

THE GUI: Net IQ's App Manager Designed to replicate Performance monitor and File Explorer's inter- face, Net IQ's Knowledge scripts are placed on the left pane. Once a specific data source is selected, the right hand view represents the values of specific Exchange attributes. The bottom pane allows users to view other server attributes such as NT drive space.

THE GUI: Real-View Real-View dynamically discovers all Exchange Objects/attributes and NT/2000 Server information and places them in the Object Explorer. Data can be viewed directly from the Object Explorer, but more importantly Administrators can create dynamic Exchange network topologies of their own environment. When any Exchange attribute breaks a communication link with the environment or any threshold is exceeded, the triangle object changes in color. Charts are available in Real-View just like AppManager for multiple sets of Exchange attributes.

REMOTE NOTIFICATION METHODS: Net IQ With Net IQ, remote notification modules are separate from the main AppManager suite. Remote Notification modules included in the software are only Exchange Mail (MAPI).

REMOTE NOTIFICATION METHODS: Real-View Real-View comes complete with SMTP Mail, Pager, Audio/Video and notifications into 3rd party applications via the Application Log. All of Real-View's notifications are built in to the software. NetIQ's AppManager, Tivoli and CA Unicenter TNG can pick up Real- View alerts without having to add extra modules or connectors to Real-View or any of the other applications.

SUMMARY:

While NetIQ's AppManager has different pieces to its Server Management operations for Windows application, it lacks intuitive summary and detailed information for MS Exchange. This information is mission-critical if you are an Exchange admin and need to perform on-the-spot analysis and problem resolution of your Queues, MTAs, Connectors, and Public/Private Information Stores.

While NetIQ offers many types of Windows application management solutions, its applications are distributed on many servers. This agent based approach can tax the server and may hinder performance. Real-View remains passive making simple API calls into the Windows system to obtain real-time data placed cleverly in a user-friendly GUI. No agents are required, and Real-View does not reside on the server.

Both products fit well in the management of the Windows operating system. Although NetIQ remains better at managing the operating system as a whole, Real-View's strengths lie in real-time Exchange server management. Fortune 500's specifically select Real-View to proactively insure uptimes and timely message flow. Real-View and NetIQ are more complementary than competitive, you will have to see for yourself about the partial overlap and which tool you want to use for what function.

Real-View's intro-price till Oct 31, 2000 is $995 per server. 30-day eval:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=341

AutoPilot For Windows 2000 Released!

Like I promised, we released AP for W2K in Q3. It was the very last day but we made it . Runs on all flavors of W2K and is priced the same way as for NT. If you want to upgrade from NT to 2000 and you are not under maintenance, you get it for half price. (You can buy online via the Sunbelt OnlineShop).

If you bought the book: Windows NT Power Toolkit, you are entitled to a free upgrade to W2K as was promised earlier. I'll let you know shortly how you can download this!

As a little illustration, we have an Intranet in Sunbelt that offers all the corporate policy, training, in-out board, news, automated internal forms and a host of other stuff. People were complaining it was getting slow. Our Intranet WebMistress put the new AutoPilot for W2K on that box, and people were asking: "What did you do to the Intranet? It's three times faster!"

It's here:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=222

  FAVE LINKS

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

  • I'd like to thank Andrew Baker for his unrelenting support of the NTSYSADMIN list. Over the years he has built an excellent site with a wealth of extremely useful hints and tips, born out of battling in the trenches and documenting the solutions. This site is a gem and gets a 'Stu's Warmly Recommended' award. Andrew, you can choose a software product from the Sunbelt Site for you personal LAN as a token of appreciation for your contributions to the community. One of the very useful pages on his site is here:
    http://www.ultratech-llc.com/Personal/Files/
  •   PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

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    Here is a reader review! "There are very few books that address the need for scripted administration within the realm of Windows NT, especially in regards to ADSI. This book's approach of using code examples in both visual basic and Java Script is better than the approach in the Wrox books. This way the administrator can see both the web based and the visual basic application methods for developing their tools. Anyone familiar with VB can also change the VB code to word as VS script in a web page."
    Nick Otto
    Network Analyst, Circuit City stores, Inc.

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