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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Oct 1, 2001 (Vol. 6, #75 - Issue #310)
Hotfix Management
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • Your Letters
    • Only See Half Of W2Knews? Fix This Bug
    • Sunbelt Knowledge Base Revamped
    • What Does It Take To Get Datacenter Certified?
    • Real Boot Camps vs. Cheat Camps
    • Automate Hotfix Management: IIS, SQL, E2K, IE, NT, W2K, WXP
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • FREE STUDY GUIDES-MCSE Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for Dummies!
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Your Letters

Thanks very much for all your feedback on the last issue. And another thank you for everyone that filled out the Microsoft Licensing survey. We had a whopping 4,500 people respond. After we nixed the double votes the preliminary results show that MS has not made many friends with this new licensing scheme. Coming Thursday you will get the Executive Summary. Giga and Sunbelt are now busy tabulating all the results.

And quite a few of you commented on my rant about Gartner and IIS in issue #74. You mentioned that Apache already had double the market share of IIS and would not necessarily become a target for cracking. You are right of course. IIS is being attacked because it is an easy target that still has more vulnerabilities than Apache. MS is rewriting IIS for the .Net environment in a secure way but that may take a while. Another thing they should have come out with by now is a Service Pack for IIS!

In the mean time, if you want to stick with IIS and not move to Linux and/or Apache, you are forced to manage it well and keep hotfixes applied (there are automated tools for that purpose).

When you read this on Monday, I will be at the Microsoft Exchange Show in Orlando where we will present the Target Awards to the lucky winners. Coming Thursday I'll tell you about all the new stuff at the show!

And? we have a new SunPoll that might be interesting for everyone:

Q: Are you going to do what Gartner proposes and trash your IIS?

  1. Yup! Moving away to another one.
  2. Seriously thinking about it.
  3. Not so likely.
  4. No Way! We're standardized on IIS and we like it, holes and all.
You can vote on the W2Knews Site over here, left most column, down

Warm regards,

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

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Only See Half Of W2Knews? Fix This Bug

The Langalist reported last week the following, and we've seen this with W2Knews as well: Outlook would truncate some -- but not all-- HTML emails; especially if IE6 had been installed. Messy problems like this are sometime a bear to resolve.

But this one turns out to be a re-occurrence of a problem we previously covered when IE6 was in beta: A corrupted system file - MLANG.DLL - is the culprit. Originally, it tended to cause HTML pages (and emails) sometimes to display as blank pages.

If that bad beta DLL file is on your system and did not get over- written when you installed the final version of IE6, one consequence now is that you may see arbitrary page cut-offs. This issue occurs because the Mlang.dll file for IE6 Public Preview for Windows 98 is incompatible with Outlook 2K and Outlook Express 5, 5.01, and 5 .5.

What Win 98 users must do is run System File checker and extract the MLANG.DLL file from the Win 98 CD. That has and will solve the problem.

Sunbelt Knowledge Base Revamped

Did you know... that we have thousands of technical questions and answers available for you 24/7? The Sunbelt Knowledge Base has been cleaned up, given a new interface and updated. You can:

  • Search for Answers
    We store all resolved problems in our solution database. Search by product, category, keywords, or phrases.
  • Ask a Question
    Submit a question to our technical support staff who will reply to you by e-mail.
  • Account Login
    Login to check the status of your questions, modify your answer update notifications, update your personal profile, or access restricted information and features.
  • Provide Feedback
    Submit a suggestion, complaint, or other feedback about the site.
Check it out over here, our techies are proud of the results and a lot of work has gone into it!

What Does It Take To Get Datacenter Certified?

To get the highest approval rating from Veritest, the company that does the torture tests for Microsoft's Datacenter certification, an app has to survive a 48-hour stress test on a 32-CPU monster, and a 24-hour four-node cluster failover test, all this while the vendor must provide and log 24x7 technical support calls.

Recently three major players received this high standard: SAP AG, Tivoli and NSI Software's high availability / disaster recovery Double-Take have received Redmond's kudos and are now certified to run on the Windows 2000 Datacenter Server platform which last Wednesday was 1 year old. For Double-Take, check this link:

Quite a few other enterprise software outfits are in the same process of obtaining their apps certified. Some examples are Baan, CA, SAS and Software AG, and IBM that got its DB2 certified. And Microsoft's very own SQL Server 2000 got through the trial by fire.

The certification process is slow. There are just 15 vendors that made it. Outfits like NetIQ, Veritas, BMC Software, and CommVault have certified apps, but like always it's the chicken or the egg type of scene. Why buy Datacenter when your apps do not run on it?

So, the wait is for killer apps that are Datacenter certified. Next step is the implementation which usually means a replacement of either a high-end Unix machine or even a small mainframe. Those vendors will go through great lengths to stop that from happening.

Microsoft needs to show a skeptical MIS management audience that Datacenter can compete in the truly mission-critical glass house environment. Apps like SAP and DB2 are the way MS will break into the super high end as the cost of high volume, off the shelf Intel components with MS software will be lower than boxes from for instance Sun. Or so MS hopes. Source: ENT Magazine.


Real Boot Camps vs. Cheat Camps

Let's face it: Boot Camps are about getting your Certification. In good economic times, you get certified to cash in and get better pay. In bad times, you get certified to hold on to your job when laid off techs out there are trying to get yours. In both cases certification is needed. Certification can be a valid measure of real world skills. According to one study, only 8% of today's NT 4.0 MCSEs will have upgraded their certification to Windows 2000 by January 1st. Now, that might end up to be a bit more, but still the number will drop drastically. This does represent an opportunity! Read More at:

Automate Hotfix Management: IIS, SQL, E2K, IE, NT, W2K, WXP

Been hit by viruses lately? Need to keep IIS up to snuff? The new version 5.1 of UpdateExpert adds a tremendous amount of value to overworked and underpaid system- and security administrators. Just ask yourself if any of these statements apply to you:

"Microsoft just released the latest security hotfixes for IIS and W2K but unfortunately...

  • I don't have time to write scripts and test them.
  • I'm too busy cleaning up after Nimda.
  • I need to know if the hotfix installations I deployed last month are still valid.
  • Since Microsoft's updates are not regular, I am forced to reprioritize my day, as well as figure out which ones apply to my machines.
  • I need to define what hotfixes are required and detect what machines conform to my policies".
UpdateEXPERT solves these and many more problems. Here are the new features in Version 5.1. UpdateEXPERT now supports Windows XP and the following Microsoft apps:
  • IIS
  • SQL Server
  • Exchange Server
  • Internet Explorer
  • Media Player
  • Windows Media Services
  • NetMeeting
  • Office (Summer 2001)
  • Outlook (Summer 2001)
In addition to installing the updates, UpdateEXPERT will ensure that the update is correctly installed. This validation can be performed at any time and as part of the deployment process. You can designate updates as required. This enable you to manage hotfixes by policy, something that is regarded as the holy grail but just wasn't available up to now.

You can simply define what updates are required with a click of the mouse. The sum of required updates equals the user's policies. Policies are used for many configuration parameters. Security and staging are just a couple of policy factors.

You can run reports to verify your policy adherence. This report makes it easy to see how your inventory matches up against what updates are required. Policy management is enforced by defining policy (with required Updates) and managing by exception those machines that are incomplete. Note on the Eval you can download: This version of UpdateEXPERT will allow you to evaluate 5 machines for 15 days.


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

  • Silicon.com reports on IT managers not so happy with MS licensing
  • A new, technically leading edge, blisteringly fast virus scanner
  • Hit back against worms by throwing them into a tarpit. Article here:

    FREE STUDY GUIDES-MCSE Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for Dummies!

    This book of the week concerns the Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam 70-240 and is written by an author who has developed an entire web site dedicated to helping people pass their Windows 2000 exams -- www.ActiveCert.com -- and who has personally trained hundreds of Windows NT/2000 professionals. You can both learn about the book and pick up FREE study guides for the core exams by following the link below. MCSE Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for Dummies takes a "just the facts, ma'am" approach to providing you with the essential information you need to pass the Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam. It will also tickle your funny bone along the way! Highly recommended.