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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Feb 26, 2001 (Vol. 6, #12 - Issue #247)
Hack Four of your own IP's
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • One Year Anniversary of W2K - Where are we at?
    • Microsoft Unveils W2K-Based Small Business Server
    • You can now Hack Four of your own IP's
    • Getting Rid of Stupid Questions From End Users
    • Transcender Wins Gold Award For Best Practice Exams
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • Peter Norton's Network Security Fundamentals
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Hi All!

Some of you asked me how I do it. Now *two* newsletters per week. Well, it's actually still fun. I'm getting news input from a variety of sources: something like 15 print mags, dedicated web clipping news services, about 25 email newsletters, individual press releases from vendors that find their way to me, and technical articles from the developers we deal with.

Then I see stuff all day long in our office where we have deployed W2K wall-to-wall on the workstations and a mix of NT/W2K on the servers. So, apart from running the company I'm a sponge for NT/ W2K news full time. When I write the newsletter I'm in my home office, filter all the stuff and keep the few items that are really relevant. It's fun, I get to do the research I need to do anyway, and I'm getting paid for it! Oh, and it takes about 20 hours a week.

And, we have just reached a milestone in Sunbelt. All our mission critical applications are now SQL7 based so they can be integrated. I envisioned this 4 years ago, and we are finally here. But, that means we are now using Lyris with a SQL7 back-end for the first time and we need to test if it works well. It may stall and I may need to resend this newsletter. Do not be surprised if you get TWO instead of one [grin].

Warm regards,

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

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One Year Anniversary of W2K - Where are we at?

Well, it's a year already. And we're at the beginning of something good. But most of us are still running tried and true NT 4.0. As always most of us only change if we *have* to. Application support is crucial and often the driving force. To give an example, our CRM application in Sunbelt is called SalesLogix. Only the coming release V5.0 will support Windows 2000, a full year after W2K's arrival.

MS is doing pretty well with W2K and I think Dave Cutler has achieved what he originally set out to do when he got hired by MS in 1988. Dave Cutler was Digital Equipment's Chief OS Architect, responsible for their bigtime VMS Operating System, that still runs on thousands of now Compaq mission critical sites. Since I am an old VMS-hand, for me NT/W2K are very much like VMS, but with a GUI.

W2K was this OS that everybody in Microsoft said they would 'bet the company' on, and to a large extent they did and pulled it off. W2K is now growing faster than many of the Industry analysts said it would, and the only credible threat on the horizon is Linux. About 50% of the websites out there are running either NT or W2K with W2K taking an ever larger share. You can go to www.netcraft.com and see this for yourself. To a large extent, the fact it was slow was more a matter of timing than that it was related to product stability.

The big issue though is Active Directory. Microsoft is now really moving into the area where corporate politics can get in the way. To plan AD you have to have your IT engineers sit together with management and plan out how the company needs to be managed. You can imagine the 'disconnect' between these parties. They simply speak different languages. And then there is the political battle which group is going to manage the IP addresses: Unix or W2K!?

You really have to look at the history of Novell's Network Directory Services (NDS) to get an idea of how this is going to play. It took them several years to get it right, which is no surprise with such a complex environment. So, I'm predicting here that full scale AD adoption is still a few years out. We first need wide application support for AD to get adopted, and that is going to take a while.

Developers need to get their wits wrapped around the whole AD concept and then figure out a way to work with it. Exchange 2000 is the best example of an app that uses the AD-database as its foundation. Many apps will come in the future with AD support, but this is a slow and agonizing process.

However, similar to W2K, AD will slowly but surely penetrate up into our companies and over time MS will make it easier to use AD. It's still early days and it's got holes. What else is new. I'm pretty stoked about W2K though. This one-year old is a healthy baby, growing fast and has got a bright future ahead of it. Getting certified for Windows 2000 starts making more and more sense.


Microsoft Unveils W2K-Based Small Business Server

Just last Wednesday, MS took the wraps off their latest flavor of SBS. It's a mix of the server and most used backoffice apps in one package with a single install procedure. This was to be expected, as new versions of SBS come out right after a bunch of updates of the modules in SBS which in this case were the new '2000' releases. Dell and Gateway are going to sell pre-configured systems right off.

The new package costs $1,499 and consists of W2K Server, Exchange and Outlook 2K, SQL2K and the brand new ISA 2000 Server. Included are FrontPage 2000 web-design tool, Windows Terminal Services and a shared fax and modem service. Not too bad a deal for that kind of money, but the licensing has been changed. Used to be 50 users included, but MS restricted the license for the SBS 2000.

Initially, the software may only be installed on five clients and a single server. Additional client licenses can be added in packs of five and 20 clients, up to a maximum of 50 PCs. At that point, you have to upgrade to MS BackOffice Server 2000. The additional client-add packs are provided as a single floppy disk, which can only be used once.

A virtually unlimited number of users can use the software on a single client, and a customer could also dial in to an office PC remotely, via a notebook PC. "A user who has a primary PC with a license can connect from another secondary device...as long as that secondary device is used less than 20 percent of that time by that user," according to the FAQ.

My take: Hmmmm. Keep it simple, stupid.


You can now Hack Four of your own IP's

Tens of thousands of you looked at the new QualysGuard solution we announced late last year. Hacking your own networks from the outside in is a very tempting thing to do, so you can see all the holes, estimate your own vulnerabilities, and fix them.

However, I have to admit we did not have our act together at the intro. There was paperwork involved that had to be faxed over, the eval period was too short, and you could only check one IP. More over the price for a one year subscription caused some sticker shock. And the whole procedure took way too darn long. Hey, we admit it if we make mistakes, and then try to improve the offering based on the feedback we get from you. We were basically totally overwhelmed with the interest.

So, I hope we can entice you to try this one more time. But now with a smarter, faster procedure, more IP's you can check and a new short 3-month introductory subscription of only $495 per IP. I'd like to invite you to go to the QualysGuard page, and fill out the form. Next you will get an email from one of our reps for a form you can fill out online. With that form we'll do a quick WHOIS check and then pop you an email back how to do the scans. No More Paperwork :-)

What you can do now, is get FOUR of your IP's scanned, all the same day or over a 30-day period, and of course there are no costs for this eval. What I said last year is still true. Better hack your own networks before somebody else does. Let's retry this and hope it goes better than last time. Please go to the QualysGuard page, down bottom, and click on the 'Request Free QualysGuard Scan' link:

Getting Rid of Stupid Questions From End Users

If you read this success story of an end-user after they did the Understanding Computers course, you can see that the amount of Help Desk calls will decrease significantly.

"I use a computer on a daily basis for business as well as for recreational use but I never took the time to really understand how a computer operates. I guess you can say I took my computer for granted. By taking the "Understanding Computers" course, I was able to gain a complete in depth understanding of my computer and how it functions. I strongly recommend this course to anyone who uses a computer and wants to become more proficient with their computer skills." - G. M. (Age 25, Los Angeles, California)

Check out the course over here. It's worth training your users.

Transcender Wins Gold Award For Best Practice Exams

Transcender won a Best of the Year 2000 Gold Award, sponsored by the MCSETutor Gold Report. In a newsletter released February 3, Michael DeBussy, editor of the Gold Report, announced the winners. According to their poll, 83 percent of voters chose Transcender exam simulations as the Best Practice Exams. This was the first time the awards were held in a contest that ran in conjunction with the MCSE Live! certification discussion board.

"Being voted the #1 practice exam software by the Net's most popular certification board is indeed pretty impressive," says DeBussy. He adds that the MCSETutor Gold Report (www.mcsetutor.com/newsletter.html) is a free weekly newsletter sent to 17,000 subscribers and is targeted to individuals pursuing IT certification and who are looking to further themselves in the IT industry. The MCSE Live! forum (www.mcselive.com) is a part of the MCSETutor.com Web site.

"We were very pleased when we learned we had won the Gold Award," says Kimberly Sullivan, vice president of marketing for Transcender. "MCSE Live! has a discerning audience, and we appreciate our product being chosen as 'Best Practice Exams'." Check out Transcender's latest stuff:


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

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