Sunbelt W2Knews Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Dec 11, 2000 (Vol. 5, #57 - Issue #232)
This issue of W2Knews contains:
- EDITORS CORNER
- Get Rid Of That Budget: Top Sellers in 2000
- TECH BRIEFING
- High Availability with Double-Take and RadWare
- Round Robin DNS explained
- NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
- RUMOR: MS May Extend Deadline for NT4 MCSE Exams
- IDC Reports: W2K Gains Momentum
- New Concept: Downgrade License
- Both Sun and Microsoft support XML
- NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
- NEW Storage Management Tool: SpaceMaXX
- Dell Will Resell Unisys 32-CPU Datacenter Monster
- W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
- PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
- MCSE 2000 "Bundle of Four" Blowout!
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Get Rid Of That Budget: Top Sellers in 2000
System Administrators always ask what their colleagues are using to
solve problems. One of the ways to look at this is simply check who
buys what. It's a very effective survey to find out which tools are
the most popular. Well, here is the 2000 Top 10 Best Sellers. And you
still have enough time to get rid of that budget. Here goes the list,
they are sorted by $US millions in sales. Number 1 has sold the most,
#2 a bit less, etc.
- Double-Take - High Availability and Disaster Recovery 'in-one'.
- StorageCeNTral/Quota Advisor - Best Storage Management Tools
- Event Log Monitor - Powerful and Great Value Event Tool
- Trusted Enterprise Manager - NT/Exchange Integrated Admin Tool
- Sunbelt Domain Reporter - Detailed Domain Documentation
- STAT - 'Inside out' Security Scanner finds 900+ known holes
- Mail Essentials - Email Security and Management
- ScriptLogic - Sick & Tired of Coding Logon Scripts?
- NetOp - Fast and Powerful Remote Control
- Security Explorer - Solve your NTFS File Permission mysteries
There are four products we only announced later in the year 2000
that did not make it in the 2000 Top 10, but that show a lot of
promise. They will likely make it in next year's Top 10. Here goes:
OpalisRobot, SuperBoost, QualysGuard and GeoCluster. You'll find
them here - http://www.sunbelt-software.com/search_alpha.cfm
So, when did you say we would receive your Purchase Order? [grin]
Our upgrade of 60 workstations from NT to W2K last weekend went
very smooth. It was an issue of taking a ghosted standardized
snapshot and plugging that on each WS. We got about 15 new Dell
Optiplexes to replace old 133's that were still lurking around.
I was wrong in assuming we would use Office 2000 Service Pack 2.
We didn't put any O2K service packs in place, way to many issues
with SP1 and our Techs didn't want to put a brand new SP2 in there
either. The security enhancements for Outlook can cause havoc.
We did not get to creating round Robin DNS yet, as another part
of the migration ran into a big snag. We use SalesLogix (SLX) for
our Sales Force Automation, and the upgrade to SLX 2000 to the Paris,
France mirror server lost all the sales notes. (Pretty difficult to
talk to your contacts if you do not know what was discussed earlier)
The Sunbelt database was so big that the receiving intermediate
Interbase database started throwing stuff out indiscriminately
and we did not see that was happening. So our Techs were in
emergency scramble mode to get that problem fixed this week, and
we have not yet been able to work on the DNS round robin. A lot of
you asked for some more detail so our VP Tech did a write-up in
the Tech Briefing below. We need to choose between the DNS solution
and a third party product like RadWare.
(email me with feedback: [email protected])
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High Availability with Double-Take and RadWare
Like I promised here is a customer case study using Double-Take and
Radware. On the Double-Take page we have a white-paper in Word format
you can download that goes into great detail on how to set this up.
Egghead.com was so friendly to help out with this case study. The
way they are using the product is in a 'many to one' configuration
for web page updates. This has saved them both time and money while
improving their overall availability with the combination of Radware's Web Server Director and NSI Double-Take.
With the holiday rush staring them in the face, the IT staff at
Egghead.com and OnSale.com had another formidable challenge tossed
their way -- merge the two company's ecommerce sites as the two
online powerhouses became one site. Did they pull it off? When the
dust settled the combined site ranked #7 in holiday traffic and #1
in their category.
"Customers from both companies were able to shop with their old
logon at the newly combined site without missing a day of buying"
said Barry Hills, CTO for the newly merged companies. Barry credits
the success with a strong IT solutions architecture, dedicated
employees and cutting-edge tools. "We've designed a very redundant,
very scalable and fault-tolerant site, without sacrificing our
performance or cost" said Mr. Hills.
When it came time to merge the two sites, corporate databases,
search engines, SKUs and URLs all needed to be seamlessly joined
and protected. Each business function - from online catalogs to
shipping and receiving - forms a fully integrated solution that
Egghead.com can scale as it sees fit.
Using Pentium III and Xeon servers, Windows NT, and load balancing
switches such as Radware's WSD, the IT staff dropped in server
muscle and fault tolerance before, during and after the merge-all
without a minute of downtime. "With 30Mb of data streaming in and
out of the site constantly, we cannot afford to have any issues"
"We demanded scalability and fault tolerance when we merged our two
e-commerce mega sites," said Barry Hills, CTO for Egghead.com. "Using
Radware's WSD we're able to drop in additional servers and apps on
the fly. Double-Take will give us the ability to be fully fault
tolerant and host data at remote sites. Our customers get great
performance and 24X7 access at our site with this great combination
of hardware and software."
Case Study of Radware and Double-Take at Egghead (DOC-896,512 bytes)
Fourth item in the White Papers, Documents and Other Files section:
Round Robin DNS explained
(by Chad Kemmerlin, VP Tech Services Sunbelt)
There are many of you that wanted to know how Sunbelt is going to
be resolving our recent issues with our ISP having some connectivity
problems and the fact that our DNS servers were both on the same ISP.
Stu mentioned in his last newsletter that we were looking at using
round-robin DNS as well as Radware (explained above) to solve the
Here is a quick explanation of round-robin DNS: It is, essentially,
providing two or more IP addresses for a domain using A records in
your DNS server. When requests are made for that domain the DNS
server will alternate between these IP addresses pulling the site
from several servers.
In Sunbelt's case, we have four servers that serve up our site. We
will be putting several DNS servers in place. Our primary will be
local but using a separate ISP than our local web servers. Another
will be on our current ISP and the last is located at our disaster
recovery site in Texas. We use Double-Take to replicate all content.
Using round-robin DNS, our site will be pulled from all locations.
In the event that our main ISP has connectivity problems, I can
modify the DNS records on our primary DNS to use our off-site
location. Conversely, if the off-site location has problems a
modification will be made to use the Florida site only.
If the primary DNS' ISP goes down then the secondaries will handle
the requests. By using the round-robin DNS our downtime will be
minimized. I can also use monitoring software, like Event Log Monitor
or scripting software like Opalis Robot to automatically make the
modifications to the DNS servers if there is a failure.
Our objective is to have everything redundant and accessible, just
in case. This has been on our "To Do List" and the recent problems
have pushed it to the top! :-)
NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
RUMOR: MS May Extend Deadline for NT4 MCSE Exams
MCPMag.com reported just yesterday that according to sources outside
Microsoft, the company is considering an extension on the deadline
for completing three key Windows NT 4.0 exams (70-067 Server, 70-068
Server in the Enterprise, and 70-073 Workstation). The new deadline
is estimated to be Feb. 28, 2001.
Sources say the extension consideration is likely the result of the
influx of test takers who have been turned away from test centers
due to test slots being filled to capacity. Simply put, seats have
sold briskly and Microsoft may extend the deadline at the behest
of test centers, so that those centers can accommodate candidates
for another two months. Members of the Microsoft Certification and
Training group couldn't be reached for confirmation.
Microsoft isn't expected to extend the deadline for updating MCSE
certification to the Windows 2000 track. MCSEs who have certified on
NT 4.0 will still need to take the new exams by the end of 2001 in
order to retain their certification titles.
In a related issue, the new Rebel Alliance for an independent NT
Certification got a carefully worded approval from Redmond. Quote:
"Microsoft acknowledges the IT industry has the need for a broad
range of certifications. These certification types range from
credentials for IT job market entrants to specialized credentials.
The newly announced NT Certified Independent Professional credential
may meet the needs of some organizations." End Quote.
The NTCIP found a group that is willing to do its testing for it as
well: the National Electronics Service Dealers Association. And the
talks with VUE have been reopened. Lanop (who created the NTCIP)
stated it received more than 2,500 applications for NT-CIP Certs
and that more than a thousand have already been issued under its
'grandfather' clause. (means existing MCSE-certs are valid to be
transferred into NTCIP ones that only expire in another 5 years)
Check out the NTCIP site over here. (The site looks like a beta but
I guess they have been too busy with things like fighting MS)
IDC Reports: W2K Gains Momentum
IDC is one of the largest IT market analysis firms. They just came
out with a new research reports that shows MS is selling W2K at a
healthy clip. And as one would expect, they also predict that sales
will accelerate over all new versions in 2001.
Al Gillen, manager of IDC?s System Software research said: "This is
the first quarter that Windows 2000 shipments will exceed Windows NT
shipments, and that gives you an indication that the product is
growing nicely for Microsoft"
According to the analyst firm, W2K shipments will outpace NT by 1.7
million units during Q4, 2000. They expect that by the end of next
year, W2K would be around 70% of all combined W2K and NT sales.
Microsoft has been pretty cagey about their W2K sales figures, and
even at this seemingly happy occasion declined to comment.
Obviously the largest chunk of these numbers are for W2K Pro. Nobody
is going to happily upgrade all their NT servers for W2K just for fun.
But that is just the thing we will see happen over the next 2 years.
I have seen numbers predicting 50 to 70% of all new servers in 2001
having W2K preinstalled.
New Concept: Downgrade License
What the heck is that? This allows you to buy a W2K license, but
actually install an NT license until you are ready to upgrade to W2K.
IDC's Gillen continued with: "I think one of the factors that is
helping Windows 2000 shipments is Microsoft?s downgrade license".
Microsoft cannot see what people actually deploy so they allow you
to use either option. Makes sense.
W2K Pro is going to see the fastest growth for obvious reasons. It
now supports stuff that NT4 could not deliver: USB, improved power
management, and plug-and-play instead of plug-and-pray. It is not
quite clear yet how much W2K Pro is going to cannibalize W98 and ME,
but it's really two different markets, respectively commercial and
Both Sun and Microsoft support XML
In a welcome relief from the Java Wars, both Sun and MS stressed
their commitment to XML a the XML 2000 conference in Washington.
Both outfits discussed the ways they will deploy and promote the
technology. IDG news said that Sun believes XML is the center of
the Internet and likes the way XML fits its view of open standards.
As reported in W2Knews recently, Microsoft views XML as the glue
to exchange data on any platform an language and across any network.
Looks like we have 'pure brew' undiluted standard for a change.[grin]
SMS and W2K User Conference in Las Vegas March 5-9, 2001
I wanted to alert you on the SMS & W2K User Conference that Altiris
sponsors with Microsoft and Compaq. This is the 4th annual SMS & W2K
User Conference. The conference was formerly hosted by Computing Edge, which was recently acquired by Altiris. The event is now sponsored by Altiris, Microsoft and Compaq.
The conference is devoted to Microsoft SMS and Windows 2000 admin and
how each will be used in the enterprise. Keynote presentation will be
by both Microsoft and GartnerGroup. Dates of the conference are: March
5-9, 2001 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Register by December 31, 2000 and save
$200. Click http://www.sunbelt-software.com/redir.cfm?id=121100sms
THIRD PARTY NEWS
NEW Storage Management Tool: SpaceMaXX
Q: What is it? A: SpaceMaXX is a low-cost disk space monitoring
& alerting tool. It can report on a disk partition level (e.g. drive
letters D: E:). It reports via a web interface on your disk space
usage on all Windows platforms: 95/98/ME/NT and 2000. It recognizes
and reports on traditional server-attached storage, but also storage-
attached networks (SAN), and network-attached storage (NAS) devices.
(The latter two are modern storage architectures that do not need a
separate server to manage the disks)
Q: On what platforms can I install it? A: SpaceMaXX Server runs on
Windows NT/2000, 9X servers and NAS devices, while the 'Pro' version
runs on single Windows NT/2000, 95, 98, or Millennium Edition
Q: How easy is it to use? A: It's literally "a matter of just minutes". Using SpaceMaXX's web based and interactive HTML reports you can keep servers, desktops and NAS devices from turning into dumpsters. SpaceMaXX's storage resource management reports can identify the need for other ways to manage your storage. An example would be to archive files to a tape device. SpaceMaXX is extremely easy to use directly out of the box with its 27 Standard reports and limitless number of custom reports.
Q: What kinds of report formats does it output? A: HTML (and this
actually is interactive and you should see it), Excel and Text.
Q: What is the difference between the Server and 'Pro' versions?
A: You can fire up the Professional only via the icon on the task
bar. It just includes partition level monitoring/alerting, the Best
Practice report set and the ability to clean up Temp files. The server version also includes 27 more reports and the ability to create custom reports and report sets.
This puppy is actually pretty useful. Download it and take a test
drive, you'll be up and running in minutes! Make sure you try the
pre-configured interactive HTML "Best Practices" report. It shows
you immediately the storage health and content on any of your NT/2000
boxes, 9x, Me desktops and NAS appliances.
I am pretty sure you'll like what you see. Best thing is, this tool
is really a good value, only $149 for a Server and it's not 'Client/
Server' so you only need one per admin. SpaceMaXX Pro for individual
desktops is $29 per workstation with a 100-workstation minimum. You
can map a drive to any storage device and manage it from your own
Gary Giberson, IT manager for SAP America in Newtown Square, Pa.,
has looked at SpaceMaXX. "We would deploy it most likely in our
network operations center to monitor our NT storage," he says. "It
would monitor disk storage utilization so we could redeploy storage
across our EMC SAN as it filled up in one location or another."
Giberson has EMC Symmetrix Fibre Channel arrays connected to NT,
Solaris and HP-UP servers via McData switches.
Last Q: Where can I get an eval version? Last A: Why, here of course:
Dell Will Resell Unisys 32-CPU Datacenter Monster
A little birdie from within Unisys told me this a few days ago and
another trusted industry source confirmed the news yesterday. You
may remember I reported on the Unisys 'Big Iron' in the Feb 28, 2000
issue. it's 8, 16- and 32-CPU capable.
So Dell is now doing the same thing that Compaq and HP already did.
Resell the Unisys monster as the high-end of their product lines.
The mainframe quality hardware now allows Dell to offer a combo of
both 32-bit PIII's and 64-bit Itanium chips in the same box. It will
run W2K Datacenter, but you can chop it up in partitions an run NT on
it as well (concurrently). Dell sells a lot of storage, and I think
this is another avenue for them to sell even more into the enterprise.
PS, I just bought a Dell Dual Pentium III 933MHz box for my home LAN
with W2K, 256MB ECC RAM, a 40Gig HD, TNT video card and CD burner.
I need to hook it up and then I'll write about some benchmarks I'm
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
The best IT rumor and inside scoop site:
The WebOpedia has a bunch of good stuff! Here is a definition you'll like:
SecureLogix Corp has a tool called TeleWall that protects against
breakings in your telephone networks:
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
MCSE 2000 "Bundle of Four" Blowout!
MCSE Training Guide: Core Exams "Bundle of Four!" By: New Riders
(70-210, 70-215, 70-216, 70-217) Suggested Retail: $149.99.
But the Sunbelt BookClub Price is only: $89.99! Killer deal.
The bundle includes the four core Training Guides for Windows 2000
MCSE Training Guide (70-210): ICA Windows 2000 Professionals
MCSE Training Guide (70-215): ICA Windows 2000 Server
MCSE Training Guide (70-216): I & A Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure
MCSE Training Guide (70-217): I & A Windows 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure
You must take four core exams-ICA Windows 2000 Professional (70-210),
ICA Windows 2000 server 970-216), and I & A Windows 2000 Directory
Services Infrastructure (70-217)-in order to obtain your MCSE for
Windows 2000. New Riders Training Guides have changed to address the
new needs of the audience, since the entire MCSE exam structure has
changed, with the release of Windows 2000. Adaptive testing, emphasis
on hands-on knowledge, and a more skills-focused design are all