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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, May 24, 2001 (Vol. 6, #37 - Issue #272)
Known Bugs In W2K Service Pack 2
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • New W2K Survey Results!
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • Disk Crash Horror Stories
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • Known Bugs In W2K Service Pack 2
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • Puzzled By Mysterious System Behavior?
    • Need Help With Your Firewall Install & Configuration?
    • UltraBac Software Launches UltraBac 6.3
    • Network Associates Gives 10 Products the Heave-ho
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  6. PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • Hack Proofing Your E-Commerce Site
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  EDITORS CORNER

New W2K Survey Results!

Hi NT/W2K-ers,

As you know, Sunbelt does regular surveys together with the Giga Information Group. The most recent one sheds light on the payback of installing W2K in your environment. The results are eye-opening to say the least. Here are the Study Highlights:

  • An overwhelming majority of corporations have not sufficiently determined the internal economic impact of a Windows 2000 or Active Directory deployment, either in terms of costs, business benefits or risks.
  • Windows 2000 Professional is a clear winner in terms of performance and reliability. Unnecessary reboots declined by 59 to 83 percent over Windows 9x and NT Workstation.
  • The Windows 2000 Server and Active Directory adoption rate has fallen below expectations. Complexity, limited business justification and a lack of trained IT staff will continue to hamper deployments.
  • Novell's NDS/eDirectory shows strong performance in the marketplace and will continue to be a competitive alternative to Active Directory.
  • Windows 2000 Professional and Server provide vastly improved hardware management capabilities. However, IT organizations are spending nearly as much time managing applications and software in W2K networks as they were with Windows 9x and NT 4.0.
  • Colliding new product releases (Windows XP, Office XP and Windows 2002 Server) are confusing to end-users and will further stall upgrades.
There are some very interesting graphs that illustrate these results, and show more detail. This is stuff you might need one of these days, as it has deployment costs graphed out too. This survey will stay up on the Sunbelt website, in the Market Survey Archives. Giga is making these results public in their GigaWorld in Las Vegas this week. Here is the link with the results for W2Knews subscribers:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=052401-NewSurvey

And then some news snippets I liked: IBM just released new drives with a higher density. By using stuff they called 'pixie dust' (ruthenium really) they can now get 400 GB on a desktop drive and 200GB on a notebook. Stuff is already in production and shipping. And Intel is readying new P4 Xeons with 1.4, 1.5 and 1.7 gigahertz speeds.

Warm regards,

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

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  TECH BRIEFING

Disk Crash Horror Stories

I spent some time this week installing and using the new DiskAlert software from Executive Software. I also had a chat with the head of the DiskAlert developer team to get a better understanding of the technology behind this new product. Overall, this is actually a pretty cool tool. Why? Read on.

As the name suggests, DiskAlert's main function is monitoring your physical drives and gives you early warnings when these drives start to go bad. And as a secondary function, it also pings you when free drive space drops to low levels (you can set the percentage). Alerts are sent via e-mail, pager, phone and screen popup to you and/or the staff you designate. In order for the pager/phone alerting function to work you need a modem on the machine that the Administrator?s Console is installed on and if it?s a voice modem, DiskAlert can call and play .wav files over the phone.

I installed the Administrator Console on my desktop and then using the 'Add/Remove Disks' Wizard from the within the Admin Console, I was able to quickly push-install monitoring agents on the machines with disks I wanted to have monitored. The remote agents transparently poll drives once a minute. They capture all kinds of data about the disks from the OS, RAID cards and the physical drives.

What I did not mention last time, is that DiskAlert monitors the throughput and error rates on your drives using proprietary algorithms. It automatically determines disk health, and pings you when a disk starts to get into trouble. It also supports SMART drives, but you may not know what SMART is. It's kind of a "disk quality reporting standard" that disk drive manufacturers have created, but each of them has implemented it in a different way. So much for standards ;-) DiskAlert reads the SMART data on drives, but goes far beyond SMART and can even monitor older drives that don?t have SMART enabled.

We?ve all heard of or experienced our own disk crash horror stories; the sys-admin who didn?t notice the red light blinking on the drive in the server room, the workstation of the CFO with spreadsheets that were not saved to their share on the server. Many of you W2Knews readers are Resellers or Consultants that do system management for your business clients. Imagine having DiskAlert page and e-mail an early warning to you when one of your client?s server disks starts to go bad, before it crashes and turns into a crisis. Alerts tell you the exact disk and machine that is having trouble. Pretty cool, huh?

We now have DiskAlert installed on our company network and all our disks are healthy. This deceptively simple product was developed as another of Executive Software?s "Set It and Forget It"[tm] system tools. You need to get used to the GUI, as the graphs are logarithmic (instead of linear) and it takes a minute to understand what they show.

But once you have it installed and configured, you will never notice or have to think about it again, until that inevitable day when one of your disks start to go bad, only this time you?ll get the early warning.

If there are any disks on your network that you?re a little nervous about, I suggest you grab a special promotional copy off the Sunbelt Online Shop: 2 disks for just $45, and install DiskAlert right now. It's one of these tools you cannot afford not to have running, you know how expensive downtime really is. Here's more specs about this new member to the family:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=457

Email me with feedback on how it worked for you?

  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

Known Bugs In W2K Service Pack 2

Windows 2000 Magazine has a page where they keep track of these. I'm quoting a short list, but I expect there to be more. What they did not mention was some reports about SP2 having problems with Exchange 2000 installation. These need to be confirmed though, but be careful with SP2 if you run E2K!

"W2K SP2 updates W2K to 128-bit encryption. If you remove SP2, the system remains a high-encryption version. However, SP2 doesn't upgrade the Protected Store to high encryption. You must install security hotfix MS00-032 to upgrade this component. Download this hotfix from MS.

SP2 doesn't always remove the SP1 entry from the Control Panel Add/ Remove Programs applet even after a successful upgrade. You can manually remove this entry by editing the registry.

Several SP2 DHCP server patches require that you manually edit the registry to activate the SP2 functionality. See Microsoft article Q297847 for more information.

If you upgrade from Internet Explorer (IE) 5.5 to IE 6.0 on a Win2K SP2 system, SP2 no longer appears in the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet. If you reapply SP2 after upgrading to IE 6.0, SP2 reappears and IE 6.0 disappears.

The full article and more data about W2K SP2 is over at Win2000mag:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=052401-SP2BugsArticle

  THIRD PARTY NEWS

Puzzled By Mysterious System Behavior?

How often have you been puzzled by mysterious behavior of your critical servers or desktops? It's almost always an issue of finding out what changed, as the system used to be running fine before. Tracking changes to files and the registry is made easy with WhatChanged for Windows. The information provided by this useful tool can help you resolve these pesky time consuming system problem headaches.

The program works efficiently in the background to capture snapshots of machine state for later comparison. Impact on system performance and disk space consumption is kept at a minimum. The Enterprise Edition scales to hundreds of machines and provides a central console for Change Management. The vendor claims it can have significant impact on Total Cost of Ownership, but personally I think that is just ammo for the higher- ups. This tool will cut down bigtime on your own trouble-shooting.

To get your White Paper on Change Management for the Enterprise and a 30-Day trial, go to:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=052501-WhatChanged

Need Help With Your Firewall Install & Configuration?

Sunbelt Software Security Consulting is able to help you out. It does not matter if you are using Cisco's PIX, Network-1 or the new MS ISA Server. Our security wizards will be able to come on site and help you out. Does not matter where you are on the planet either. We know firewalls and will travel! Check out all the other security related assessments and audits we can do for you on this page:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=810

And if you are migrating from one server to another, or are in an evolution to consolidate from many servers to a few, you can get one of our SE's on site as well to help you guys with this in a secure way, leaving all file permissions in place. Check the options at:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=200

UltraBac Software Launches UltraBac 6.3

UltraBac Software today announced the shipment of UltraBac 6.3 Backup and Disaster Recovery software for NT/2000 servers and workstations. New features include Windows XP support, Network Disaster Recovery (UBDR), and integrated disk Flashing technology for rapid cloning and setup of servers and workstations.

UltraBac Software has a reputation for being first to market with key features customers want. V6.3 is the first to offer Network Disaster Recovery from a single boot floppy, integrated disk Flashing technology and Windows XP support.

UBDR allows a user to boot a machine and restore an image of a partition that was previously backed up by simply booting from a DOS-based floppy and running the new program. With UBDR, users can restore failed machines from either a local tape drive or disk path (local/CD/remote) to perform a fast and simple network recovery in a matter of minutes.

Support for Windows XP and the most popular versions of Unix and Linux operating systems are now available with this release of UltraBac as well, making the software more compatible than ever with today's diverse network architectures.

Optional Flashing technology has also been incorporated into UltraBac 6.3. "Flashing" an image of a disk, storing it to media, then replicating it to another disk, is the process that the software uses to enable rapid cloning and setup of servers and workstations.

"With UBDR, integrated Flashing technology, and Windows XP support, we continue to be first to market with real features that companies are looking for in a complete backup and recovery solution," said Paul Bunn, CTO of UltraBac Software. "These new features, combined with the simple, yet rock solid backup and recovery that UltraBac is known for, will continue our leadership in the market." 30-day eval at:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=177

Network Associates Gives 10 Products the Heave-ho

InfoWorld Mag reported that Network Associates CEO Samenuk said the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company will terminate development of 10 products that cannot attain leadership in their markets.

Among the products singled out for elimination in the PGP Security product line are CyberCop Network, CyberCop Monitor, CyberCop Sting, and Gauntlet for Windows NT. Although it is ceasing its intrusion-detection line, Network Associates will continue its CyberCop Scanner risk assessment product, a representative said. More at:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=052401-heave-ho

  FAVE LINKS

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

  • Turn your car into a moving billboard. Your URL seen thousands of times!
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=052401-CarBillBoards
  • Short .avi of a robot 'skating' on office floor. Cute!
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=052401-SeeRobotWalk
  • The latest version of SneakerNet. A High-Tech version at that.
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=052401-DiskOnKeyring
  •   PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

    Hack Proofing Your E-Commerce Site

    This book shows you - whether you work for a Fortune 500 company or run your own small Web-based store - how to protect yourself and your business from the ever-increasing threat of hackers. It provides insights into the tools and techniques that hackers use to compromise sites and gives Web architects and engineers instructions on how to use those insights to design and implement better security measures. Beginning with the story of how one hacker managed to cripple the Web, it covers secure credit card transactions, content networking, redundancy and reliability, and security secrets, as well as configuring Cisco's LocalDirector and DistributedDirector.
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=052101BOW-HackProofing