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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, Jun 28, 2001 (Vol. 6, #47 - Issue #282)
MS Monopoly Vigil Intensifies
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • It's A Fat One This Time
    • Microsoft Readies 64-Bit Windows
    • Exchange 2000 Service Pack 1 is out
    • Microsoft Monopoly Vigil Intensifies
    • No More Than 1000 Users In Cluster?
    • 100 Hours of FREE Windows 2000 Training
    • The CORRECT address of Sunbelt in The Netherlands
    • Compaq Drops Alpha Chip, Bets on Intel's Itanium
    • Hacker Exploits and Advanced Incident Handling Course
    • Maxtor & Microsoft Shatter Capacity Limits On Drives
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • All of the Windows 2000 Library
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It's A Fat One This Time

Hi All,

There is a LOT of news again. I filtered out the stuff I thought was most useful. Get ready for the Target Awards Vote for the fave tools you are using. We will start it in July, and also include an 'onion' vote for worst tech support in the industry. Going to be fun!

Thanks to the people that helped me out of my "HDS" mystery. HDS stands for Hitachi Data Systems. Their SAN solutions have been around for a while and they seem to be gaining momentum. HP even offers a SAN solution that is basically rebranded HDS.

Warm regards,

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

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Microsoft Readies 64-Bit Windows

Customers and vendors are cautiously welcoming Microsoft's first major non-x86 platform in eight years. Application support and stiff competition from new and existing 64-bit operating systems are among the challenges Microsoft faces.

It's safe to say that Robert Pennington is happy with Intel's new 64-bit Itanium processor. As associate director of computing and communications at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, he's responsible for all the production supercomputing systems, including several new Itanium clusters. "We've been able to port 32-bit Windows applications to Itanium by recompiling them, and the performance is outstanding," Pennington says.

On one particular system that relies heavily on the Itanium's number- crunching capabilities, a molecular dynamics modeling application called Gamess, performance was leading-edge. "We had a visiting scientist spend two weeks tuning it for Windows on Itanium," Pennington says. "When we ran it on a cluster of four machines, each with two Itanium CPUs and a fast Ethernet interconnect, the aggregate performance was over 12 gigaflops-1.5 gigaflops per processor-the fastest performance that had been seen anywhere on a per-CPU basis for that application."

The surprise is the OS that these clusters are going to run in production though. The rest of the article in InformationWeek that I chose for this week's Tech Briefing is here:


Exchange 2000 Service Pack 1 is out

And what MS wrote about it is as follows: "Exchange 2000 Server Service Pack 1 (SP1) includes a number of feature enhancements and utility updates, as well as fixes to server issues, some of which were previously available as Microsoft Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) patches. Exchange 2000 Conferencing Server SP1 introduces new features and improvements in a separate service pack.

We recommend installing SP1 on all servers running Exchange 2000. Exchange 2000 SP1 does not require an update to the Microsoft Active Directory(tm) schema, except for Lotus Notes and GroupWise calendar connectors, which are installed by means of a separate installation program."

The initial responses from early users are positive, but as with any Service Pack, please test first on a development machine, and not on a production server. Then test your custom applications. You should also read the release notes carefully, as you need to have the remote registry service turned ON, and upgrade front-end boxes before back-end ones. Keep in mind that single-server installations actually are back-end servers.

Download here:

Marketing presentation here:

List of all the bug fixes here:

Subscribe to the Sunbelt sponsored free Exchange-List here:

Microsoft Monopoly Vigil Intensifies

You may know WIRED magazine, I have to admit this is my #1 fave mag over the last 5 years. They also run a news service that covers the Net and IT industry. This time they have an article about the coming decision of the Appeals Court in the Microsoft Monopoly case. It's an interesting article, but the most surprising element was the fact that you can plug your email address on a list server, that will then warn you when the appeals court releases an opinion. The court has a website, or you can send a message to [email protected] with a body that includes "subscribe usvmicrosoft FirstName LastName". Well, well, well. We are indeed living in the 21-st century. ;-)

No More Than 1000 Users In Cluster?

This item was contributed by Steve Bink. His web site is at the end.

"As earlier discussed in Exchange forums, Microsoft is likely going to advise not to have more then 1000 users connected to a node in an active/active cluster. This was first mentioned in Win2k magazine's exchange newsletter by Jerry Cochran. When I read that, I was just finished designing a 3000 users per node active/active cluster based on MS and Compaq docs. I never saw anything on this limitation in the Docs. I tried to contact Jerry Cochran, but he didn't reply.

So I posted questions in forums and someone contacted me and said it was true, he was in MS "non disclosure agreement" so couldn't say to much. It seems that there were concerns in fail-over when using more than 1000 users a node. He also said when SP1 is released the Docs will be updated with this new limit advisory. I was disappointed in the Scalability and "Enterprise"-ness of Exchange 2000 and was still hoping in some way it was a misunderstanding. I contacted Microsoft Engineers in Holland, they didn't know anything about this, but when they contacted US engineers I got the truth:

The Bug:

When MAPI clients (Outlook) connect to Exchange 2000 box it fragments the memory, when a lot MAPI clients do this all memory is claimed. So in an active/active cluster, when a node fails over to the other active node, the STORE.EXE fails to start because there is no memory available.

The workaround:

  • Use no more then 1000 users per node
  • Use an active/passive cluster
  • Manually restart STORE.EXE on the working node, so memory will be freed and start unfragmented, then fail over. (Yeah right, so much for High Availability)
The Fix:

Maybe in sp1 (small chance it will be released in July) Maybe as pre- sp2 hotfix Maybe never cause the problem is deep in Exchange. More at:


100 Hours of FREE Windows 2000 Training

Paying for training is fine if you can afford it...if you can't there are lots of resources on the web that can provide you with hours of training for FREE. I found a site that researched and included some of the best FREE sites on the web. More info at:

The CORRECT address of Sunbelt in The Netherlands

You can find at the home page of Sunbelt Software. It had a few errors in there when we published it last. All OK now. Dus, als je in Nederland of Belgie woont, hier is het juiste adres! (That was a little Dutch if you had not caught on yet. :)

Compaq Drops Alpha Chip, Bets on Intel's Itanium

Well, that's the last one to go. NT support for Alpha was already dropped by MS more than a year ago, but this kills all hope for a come-back. The Wall Street Journal reported this Tuesday that Compaq is calling it quits with independent chip development. They are handing it over to Intel, and they will phase the Alpha out in 2004. One more new chip and that's it. "We will consolidate our entire 64-bit family of servers on the Itanium processors family, and this will be completed in stages by 2004," said Compaq CEO Michael Capellas in a news conference.

Compaq is moving away from hardware development (chips) to systems and services in an attempt to cut costs. They will transfer a variety of resources -- including microprocessor compilers, Alpha development tools and even Alpha engineers and compiler experts - to Intel over the next few years.

And of course no one will admit it, but indirectly Intel got control of the installed base of Alpha machines with that kind of move. These sites now will have to migrate to Itanium when the time comes. That's their chance to get back to the NT platform, but on 64-bit this time. Compaq also announced that it planned to move its NonStop Himalaya systems (MIPS processor based) to Itanium by 2004. No real surprise there, obviously they decided to consolidate their platforms.

HP also decided to focus on Itanium (which they co-developed with Intel), and move away from their own PA-risc architecture. And that leaves only one player out there that is becoming more and more isolated: SUN. They initially pushed Itanium hard, but they had a falling out with Intel and their commitment to Itanium has became more unclear over the last years.

Rob Enderle from the Giga Information Group was quoted saying: "At the end of the day, even though [Compaq CEO] Capellas really liked the Alpha product, Compaq just really couldn't afford to be in the chip business. So how long can Sun realistically maintain this stance, especially when their competitors will be able to routinely beat them on price?"

Hacker Exploits and Advanced Incident Handling Course

If you are the designated security person in your organization, it makes sense to get trained. I would suggest you check our the following course: The SANS Institute is very pleased to be offering a special session on July 13-17 of our Hacker Exploits and Advanced Incident Handling course in Boston. This program was rated higher than every other popular hacker exploit training. One of its great strengths is that it teaches you not only how the exploits work, but also how to block them -- a feature missing in other popular hacker exploit programs.

This program is a signature track of the Global Information Assurance Certification. It seeks to prepare people for the critical role of incident handler and seeks to identify the people who can take a leadership role in incident handling in their organizations, their communities, their nations and globally. This is a fascinating and challenging program for security professionals who seek to understand how live, "in the wild" hacker tools work, what vulnerabilities they exploit, and how to block them. It also teaches the step-by-step process proven in dozens of organizations by which they prepare for and respond to attacks at their organizations. For more information please go to

And if you really want to go for broke, just before the SANS training, visit the BlackHat Security Training, July 9th-10th - Location: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada. The Black Hat Briefings is a conference for researchers, IT professionals and experienced security administrators. Every year, leaders in the security field are brought together to Black Hat to discuss the latest threats, trends, products, and influences in the Internet and security environment - it's not something to miss. This year's topics include: Reverse Engineering, the Honey Net Project, the CVE, 802.11b WEP security, ICMP scanning, SQL security configuration, GSM and WAP security, and more:

Maxtor & Microsoft Shatter Capacity Limits On Drives

Maxtor, MS and some other industry players announced support for the industry's next generation ATA interface standard that breaks the 137GB barrier for ATA hard drives. This breakthrough allows the creation of ATA hard drives that can access more than 100,000 times more data than the current 137GB interface standard.

"Surpassing the 137GB limit is another notch in the evolution of storage capacity. We are very pleased to be working with Maxtor to enable increased capacity for our mutual customers," said Rob Short, VP of Windows based operating system development at Microsoft Corporation. "Customers are participating in an increasing number of storage intensive scenarios such as data warehousing, application servicing, multimedia, video and music. Increasing the drive limit allows them to easily meet their needs with fewer drives and, in the case of enterprises, in far less physical space." The "Big Drive" interface initiative succeeds in breaking through the barrier with an upgraded ATA interface allowing for up to 48 bits of address space on a single drive, and therefore the maximum capacity of an ATA device up to 144PB. If you want to break the 137GB barrier you can get further information at Maxtor's "Big Drive" Initiative Web site about technology requirements and participating vendors.


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

  • Don't expect Chip prices to drop very hard. Intel cannot afford that:
  • This site is a riot: System Administrator Appreciation Day. Check it out.
  • Pretty cool site, How Stuff Works. All kinds of interesting topics.

    All of the Windows 2000 Library

    You should check out the full library that is available, and see which ones you do not have yet. All of them with significant discounts for W2Knews subscribers.