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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Jul 30, 2001 (Vol. 6, #57 - Issue #292)
Business Continuity
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • Business Continuity
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • How To Choose Backup Utilities
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • Business Continuity Budgets
    • Microsoft Training At Fire Sale Discounts
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • Business Continuity Monitoring
    • New InstallShield AdminStudio 2.0
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  6. PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • MCSE Windows 2000 Core Exams
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  EDITORS CORNER

Business Continuity

This issue I'm focusing on tools that will tell you what is up and what is down in your whole network. That is typically the kind of thing that you want to know before users (and a bit later your manager) start blasting you on the phone. Being able to quickly fix what went wrong makes life a lot easier. Getting these alerts to your pager or handheld, with a little explanation what crashed is even easier. And that pager or cell-phone can be passed around in the team. A great way to make sure things stay up & running. We have also created a new category on the site, with just tools for that purpose. So here goes!

Warm regards,

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

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  TECH BRIEFING

How To Choose Backup Utilities

This tip is from a chapter of the book "Windows 2000 Power Toolkit" Written by Barry Shilmover and yours truly.

"Windows 2000 now includes an advanced built-in backup tool. Instead of developing the backup program, Microsoft opted to license software from Veritas Software (formerly Seagate Software). Compared to the Windows NT backup utility, this tool is a big step forward. Although some of the inherent problems with the Windows NT version of the program have been fixed with Windows 2000, the backup utility still has some problems:

  • Remote Registry backup is not supported.
  • Remote files are accessible only if a drive is mapped to a local drive letter.
Scheduling backups with the native backup utility requires the use of the "Task Scheduler service." This service is enabled through the Services tool in the Administrative Tools menu. You'll need to set its startup parameters to Automatic. You no longer need to use the AT.EXE and WINAT.EXE utilities to schedule the backup. Instead, you simply click on the Schedule Jobs tab and configure the backup.

Aside from its ability to back up and restore files (including the registry), back up and restore from non-tape devices such as floppy disks, Zip disks, Jaz disks, or a file on a hard drive and schedule these tasks, it also creates the Emergency Repair Disk (ERD). In previous versions of Windows, the ERD was created using the RDISK.EXE utility.

We provide pointers to a number of excellent third-party backup utilities at the end of the chapter in the "For More Information" section of our book "Windows 2000 Power Toolkit."

When selecting a third-party backup solution, make sure it exhibits the following features:

  • Backs up to tape, disk, floppy, and other media types
  • Backs up and restores local and network resources
  • Backs up and restores local and remote registries
  • Includes internal automation and scheduling of backups
  • Fully supports Windows 2000 security including Active Directory
  • Supports backup tape locking, encryption or other media security features
With these requirements, you are sure to find a backup product that meets your needs and can keep up with an expanding network. Note that many backup programs are rated as "enterprise solutions." This is often a term used to indicate that the product can support a large network. You also might notice that these products have a price tag of over $1,000. This doesn't mean that you'll have to shell out that much money to obtain good backup software. You should take the time to shop around.

To check out Windows 2000 Power Toolkit, or to buy the book, go to the Sunbelt Online Shop. There are some other emergency type tools there, like an admin password cracker and tool to quickly promote a machine to become a domain controller (which you normally can't do)
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=073001-OnlineShop

  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

Business Continuity Budgets

Microsoft is currently spending millions of dollars with their "five nines" campaign. They claim that W2K is just as reliable as Big Iron with downtime measured in just minutes per year. They are definitely moving up in the food chain, but just W2K is not always cutting it by itself. You need some additional tools to get completely covered in many cases. Here is some ammo you can use to get your budgets approved:

A site in the UK called Globalcontinuity recently did a survey that showed the changes in business continuity budgets from the previous financial year to the current one.

The results so far seem to indicate that, on average, business continuity budgets are growing, despite the economic slowdown that is having an impact upon many companies worldwide. Survey returns from globalcontinuity.com members show that 46.5 percent of business continuity budgets had increased for the current financial year, 27.9 percent had remained the same and 25.6 percent had fallen. In fact 16.3 percent of respondents had seen their budgets increase by 40 percent of more and 39.5 percent of budgets had risen by at least 10 percent.

The majority of responses came from the United States (67.5 percent) with 13.9 percent from the United Kingdom and the remaining 18.6 % from the rest of the World. The United Kingdom appears to be faring better than the US, with no UK respondents reporting budget reductions. 50 percent of UK members reported that their budgets remained the same, with the remainder seeing significant budget growth.

In the US, contrary to what might be expected given the current economic climate, the results were ahead of the global average. 50 percent of US companies reported budget increases (compared to 46.5 percent for the whole sample), 26.6 percent retained the same budget (27.9 percent globally) and 23.5 percent showed a decrease (25.6%).

The results for the rest of the world show the most decline, although no particular country trend could be determined. Here 50 percent of respondents reported a decrease in budget (almost twice the global average) and only 37 percent of respondents had had an increase. To check out this site, click:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=073001-Globalcontinuity

Microsoft Training At Fire Sale Discounts

One of the things you just gotta have behind your belt is training sufficient to not make stupid mistakes and bring the server down. Microsoft is currently providing training for next to nothing via their "Hand-on Labs" for just 50 bucks. (USA only unfortunately)

They offer "one segment training sessions" on Active Directory, SQL 2000 and Exchange 2000. You can get training locations all across the USA. During each of the these lab-sessions, you get to play with the product and see how it would be to administer. This stuff fills up quickly, so check it out right now.
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=073001-MSHandsOn

  THIRD PARTY NEWS

Business Continuity Monitoring

The two areas that are high on system and network admin's lists of things to do (or get in place) are high availability and security. Those are also the two things that organizations actually are willing to spend budget for. These are the nutshell results of a survey we did a month or so ago. Things have not changed much during that time.

One product that Microsoft recently came out with is called MOM. (an acronym for Microsoft Operations Manager). What do they say about it? "Windows manageability is a top priority for Microsoft," said David Hamilton, director of product management for management technologies at Microsoft. "Microsoft Operations Manager helps our customers maintain their mission-critical Windows environments through proactive management of Windows 2000, its Active Directory(TM) service and Internet Information Services."

Obviously, proactive monitoring is important to keep your infrastructure up & running. You need tools to get you that data quickly. When you do have an outage, you want to know about it immediately to correct it and avoid further problems.

Out of the box, MOM gives you event monitoring and monitors performance, and costs something like $800 PER CPU. Yes, you read that right. But we are in the Third Party News section here, how come we talk about MOM? Well, there is a third party tool that does all of what MOM does, (and then some), and is a way better value. I'm talking about ELM. ELM is a great Business Continuity Monitor. It does the following:

  • Filters and consolidates event logs on both NT and W2K & alerts you (that includes alerts on security breaches via the security log)
  • Monitors your systems and applications in real-time & alerts you
  • Monitors system performance and application availability & alerts you
  • Monitors Firewall logs and alerts you
  • Monitors network devices for uptime & alerts you
  • Monitors NT/W2K services, alerts you when they crash and restarts 'em
  • Monitors MS Cluster Server and its Resource Groups
  • Easy to set up for monitoring Exchange, IIS, and SQL
  • AND allows you to execute corrective actions
ELM's Enterprise Edition is also just $345 PER SERVER (not per CPU), so if you are looking at high availability and business continuity tools, we recommend you have a look at ELM and grab that 30-day eval. From our perspective ELM provides a great value (and job security!).
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=073001-ELM

New InstallShield AdminStudio 2.0

This new product allows complete repackaging, customizing, and conflict resolution capabilities for System Admins.

InstallShield recently introduced InstallShield AdminStudio, a new suite of solutions for repackaging, customizing, and resolving app conflicts prior to deployment. AdminStudio combines an intuitive wizard-driven, checklist-style environment with InstallShield's proven knowledge of installation technology to deliver a broad range of capabilities.

Developed specifically for systems admins, desktop engineers, and corporate IT project teams, AdminStudio offers an integrated suite of pre-deployment software configuration capabilities. AdminStudio enables administrators to perform the critical tasks in the pre- deployment process and obtain completely standards-compliant Windows Installer setups, with features such as application auto-repair and install-on-demand. For more info, go to:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=073001-InstallShield

  FAVE LINKS

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

  • Cool site that shows you how the Internet is performing
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=073001FL-Internetweather
  • The Dshield site shows you the "virus" weather and if you are cracked
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=073001FL-DShield
  • Pretty funny site where Microsoft tries to debunk mainly SUN's marketing
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=073001FL-MicrosofTruth
  •   PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

    MCSE Windows 2000 Core Exams

    This bundle include the four core Training Guides for Windows 2000 exams, including: (1) MCSE Training Guide (70-210): ICA Windows 2000 Professionals, (2) MCSE Training Guide (70-215): ICA Windows 2000 Server, (3) MCSE Training Guide (70-216): I & A Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure (4) 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 their MCSE for Windows 2000. New Riders Training Guides have changed to address the new needs of 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 addressed. Normally $150, but W2Knews BookClub subscribers get it for $120 over here:
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=073001BOW-MCSE2Kcore