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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, Dec 6, 2001 (Vol. 6, #93 - Issue #328)
What's New In Win DotNet Server?
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • 2002 Crystal Ball Issue
    • Documenting and Disaster Recovery
    • MS Certification Price Goes Up
    • What's New In Win DotNet Server?
    • New MS Support Site
    • 2001 Top 10 Admin Tools
    • IBM Endorses Double-Take As NAS Replication Engine
    • Transcender Holds $99 Sale Dec. 4-13, 2001
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • Hacking Exposed Third Edition
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2002 Crystal Ball Issue

It is a tradition that once a year, in the first issue of January, I make predictions for the year to come. And last time around I did not do all that bad. However, for 2002 I'm going to let you guys do the predicting. The person with the best set of 10 predictions will be published !! Here is the link to last year's as an example:

So, pull that time machine out of the garage, travel 13 months in the future, and tell us how 2002 is going to look?

PS: We are skipping the issues of December 24 and 27 during the X-mas vacation. So nobody do something dramatic that would force us to drag our sorry behinds back into the office!

Warm regards,

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

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Documenting and Disaster Recovery

What do these two have to do with each other? Well, if you need to recover from a flood, it helps to know how many servers, workstations, and other peripherals were there, what their function was, how they were configured, which systems were really critical, and what their interdependencies were. That means which one needs to be rebuilt first, then second and so on.

The above shows that your DR-plan might not be complete. Your backups are not the only thing you need for a fast and effective recovery. This means that up-to-date configuration information goes hand-in-hand with getting back up & running.

The Sept 11 attacks have clarified more what the DR trends for 2002 are going to be. DR-plans are going to extend beyond just the data center. Boardrooms are now much more responsive to the idea of allocating significant budget to building in redundancy for the whole operation in an integrated whole. Often separate departments do not work as a unit, but disciplines like business continuity management, crisis management, communications, IT recovery, and facility and risk management teams will have to band together and coordinate.

You will need to think in terms of dividing, distributing and dispersing the mission critical units. This relates to the building as well as the staff and your servers. An additional viewpoint to take is called "impact-based planning", instead of "probability-based" planning. Who is going to spend money when the chance of a wipe-out is 0.01%? But it is much more painful to admit: "We did not do our homework, and we were not really prepared for this."

Lack of time simply prevents many system administrators to actually DO this really important task of documenting their domains. Especially if you have to do it manually. That's why a few companies have jumped into this segment and provide detailed configuration data. I'm giving you the three that I have found to be the most effective. I'm sure you will sleep better knowing that all your mission-critical boxes are well documented.

  1. Ecora:
  2. Sunbelt Domain Reporter:
  3. ConfigureSoft:

MS Certification Price Goes Up

Microsoft is changing the prices of certification exams worldwide. The price changes will be effective for all registrations and voucher purchases from January 4, 2002. The current exam price of USD $100 in North America has remained the same since the Microsoft Certified Professional program began in 1992. Exam prices in other countries have remained the same since 1999. The price of exams in the United States and Canada will increase from USD $100 to $125 per exam, effective January 4, 2002.

What's New In Win DotNet Server?

Here are the new features in a nutshell, so you at least know what to expect and what not. Keep in mind, DotNet is the server flavor of WinXP. (We are really talking NT version 5.2 here.)

General Added Features:

  • Support for the 64-bit Itanium CPU
  • Enhancements in the clustering, 4-node support in Enterprise Server
  • Improvements in remote management
  • .Net framework integration with native support for XML and SOAP.
  • Integration of Common Object Model and XML web service.
  • Support for LDAP-based single connection authentication of multiple users
  • Support for the popular inetOrgPerson class of objects to identify users
  • Ability to load directory content from CD's, DVD's or tapes
  • Built-in real-time communications server for app sharing, voice and video
  • Support for SharePoint Team Services
So from an Admin perspective, there is not much news to talk about. However, more and more people are moving toward Win2K and Active Directory, and we have found that the tool that really shines in that area is Fazam2000. If you are going to W2K, or already have rolled out and now run into admin trouble (group policies to be precise), this tool is worth looking at. It will be just as beneficial under Win .Net Server. Here are more specs:

New MS Support Site

They have pulled together a bunch of up to now different functions on one centralized spot. The whole thing starts with the Knowledge Base. The visibility of the KB search pane is persistent, so that prevents the eternal moving forward and backward between pages. Good.

Also, it is now finally clear where to call if you want paid support, both telephone and online.

The KB-search options are powerful. I'm not going into detail but you should try them out. You'll like them, and there are more than 250,000 articles in it by now. The recent Windows 2000 Update e-zine mentioned: "The search sorts articles by modification date, not original posting date, which makes it difficult to identify new problems and issues. Keep this feature in mind as you use the new search engine." Good point.

The other sections are:

  • Download Software: you can find software updates, service packs and patches, device drivers, and complete Microsoft products. They are now really easy to find.
  • Product Support Center - Important Information by Product, like Common issues, instructions, latest versions, and related sites for your product (FAQs).
  • Newsgroups: Collaborate with others who use our products within Newsgroups by subject. Still young but will fill up soon. Here it is!

2001 Top 10 Admin Tools

For your year-end budgets, it's always nice to know which tools are the ones that have floated to the TOP 10, so you can spend your money on the actual winners in the market. So here is the year-to-date list of best selling tools:

  1. Double-Take - Disaster Recovery and High Availability
  2. Event Log Manager - Security and Business Continuity Monitor
  3. Trusted Enterprise Manager - Admin Task Consolidation and Automation
  4. UpdateEXPERT - Automated HotFix and Service Pack Management
  5. ScriptLogic - Login Scripts Fully Automated
  6. StorageCentral & Quota Advisor - Storage Management
  7. TIE: STAT and RETINA - Network Vulnerability Scanners
  8. SecureIIS - Application Firewall for Web Servers
  9. Sunbelt Remote Admin - Remote Control Tool: Specific For Admins.
  10. Diskeeper - Still The #1 Defragger
And you can find them all here:

IBM Endorses Double-Take As NAS Replication Engine

It is clear that NAS and SAN are needed to protect your data and reduce downtime, Many vendors are now in the market with these kinds of solutions. NSI (the Double-Take developer) announced that DT now supports IBM's TotalStorage Network Attached Storage (NAS) products. Double-Take is now certified for use with IBM's NAS 200, NAS 300 and NAS 300G products.

"IBM is committed to providing open and interoperable storage solutions to our customers, especially in the area of data protection and business continuity," said Roland Hagan, vice president of Storage Networking Marketing, IBM Storage Systems Group. "By combining NSI Software's Double-Take with IBM's NAS family of products, we enable our joint customers to have a high performance, open system that protects data and ensures data availability."

According to industry analyst firm, Gartner, the market for NAS devices is expected to grow at 48.2 percent between 2000-2005.

"By extending the set of functionality offered through Windows Powered appliances, independent software vendors (ISVs) like NSI Software are able to enhance the capabilities, performance and availability of NAS products for OEMs like IBM," said Keith White, senior director of marketing for the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at MS. "NSI Software's Double-Take application is a great example of how replication technologies and service capabilities can be quickly and easily extended to Windows Powered NAS appliances to provide a complete high availability NAS solution for IBM's customers."

It cannot hurt to bet on a winner for your business survival. Here are the specs of Double-Take:

Transcender Holds $99 Sale Dec. 4-13, 2001

Transcender announces a special sale on single-user licenses for its top-rated TranscenderCert exam simulations. Single-user licenses for any TranscenderCert are available for $99 each from Dec. 4 thru Dec. 13. That's a savings of up to $80.00 off each license. There is no limit on the number of single-user licenses that can be purchased during this time.

"Since our last $99 sale was quite popular, we wanted to give our customers another chance to take advantage of such tremendous savings - up to $80.00 per single-user license," says Kim Giles, vice president of marketing.

Sale prices apply to single-user licenses for both released and pre- released TranscenderCerts. TranscenderCerts feature full-length exams that simulate the actual tests in nature and difficulty, detailed answer explanations with references to study resources, and a score report history that pinpoints progress and weak areas. All Certs are backed by Transcender's Money-Back-If-You-Don't-Pass Guarantee.


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

  • The Goner Virus tries to delete firewalls. Here's a good page:
  • Protect Exchange systems from disaster with RepairDisk Manager?
  • FREE TOOLS to Manage While You Migrate with Quest Software:
  • And of course, how could I NOT? This is a significantly new IT application.

    Hacking Exposed Third Edition

    The updated content includes a new tools CD-ROM that includes security software cited in the book and fully updated coverage of hacks and countermeasures for the latest technologies like 802.11 Wireless networking, Windows XP, and Windows.NET Sever. Of course, the great content that pushed HE to the top of best seller lists is still there and completely updated: late-breaking information on the newest Windows, UNIX, Linux, and NetWare hacks and countermeasures in the tried-and- true Hacking Exposed format, updated content on Web attacks (including the newest IIS 5 vulnerabilities like Code Red), new techniques used by today's hacker to pinpoint potential targets via ping sweeps, TCP/UDP scans, traceroutes, whois queries, and zone transfers; an updated remote access chapter covering analog dial-up, VPN, as well as the latest known security holes associated with software like Timbuktu, pcAnywhere, ControlIT, and ReachOut; and much more. It's 35 bucks at Amazon and reads like a spy novel. Recommended!