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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Jun 30, 2003 (Vol. 8, #26 - Issue #432)
Service Pack 4 Is Here
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • W2K Service Pack 4 Is Here
    • Exchange 2003 Goes RTM
    • Microsoft's Antivirus Plans
    • Technical Windows eBooks
    • Invitation To New ListServer: WLANs
    • AD Problems? DNSLint To The Rescue
    • Redmond Entices Users To Upgrade Servers
    • A Sneak Peak at Microsoft's 70-291 Exam
    • Exotech: How's XP SP1 PlugAndPlay work with Gateways?
    • More On Spam Filtering
    • "Business Continuity Planning ? Where Replication Fits"
    • LanHound Solves Network Outages
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • How Can You "Bulletproof" Your Windows 2000 Network?
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W2K Service Pack 4 Is Here

And they are even early with this one. We have had a look at it here, and for the moment we see no anomalies. Nice not having 4 billion hotfixes to put on every new machine. Looks like there are some 669 public fixes. Some of the fixes are quite funny. Have a look at some of 'em: "An attempt was made to remember a device that had previously been remembered", and something like: "Stop error occurs when you start the computer for the first time". I personally like a "Laptop computer has no IP address after hibernating". [grin] They updated the W2K End User License Agreement to clarify address privacy concerns. You are now told exactly which features in the product will "call home" to Microsoft.

But all these fixes still do not mean that it is W2K heaven. Make sure you TEST, TEST, and TEST in a sandbox that mimics your own environment and DO NOT just blissfully install this thing on all your production machines. You'd be surprised how many people still do this and stuff breaks... Download and ALL the goodies like FAQ, ReadMe file, installation guide, are here:

Exchange 2003 Goes RTM

(RTM means Release To Manufacturing by the way) MS Officials said prices will hold the same for E2K and E2K3. This puppy took 3 years to build. We have it running over here and our Tech guys like it. They will introduce a new per-user licensing option with the E2K3 release, basically legitimizing the way many companies already use their existing versions of Exchange. The new license type will be offered in addition to the per-device license introduced with E2KServer.

Quotes Of The Day:

"I have taken all knowledge to be my province." -- Francis Bacon
"Humankind cannot bear very much reality." -- T.S. Eliot
"Reality is fundamentally agreement. What we agree to be real is real" -- L. Ron Hubbard

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

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Microsoft's Antivirus Plans

On June 10, Microsoft agreed to acquire GeCAD Software, to "enhance the Windows platform and extend support for third-party antivirus vendors so they can provide customers with increasingly secure and comprehensive levels of virus protection".

The major AV developers took a stock price hit on this news. Up and coming AV players like Panda Software like the news - they think this will level the playing field for them. They think that security managers should "salt" their network with a diversity of AV vendors and this should make it easier.

W2Knews has made a special arrangement for USA subscribers to get a complimentary copy of their Platinum software offer. Live in EU? They plan to come out with something soon:

Want to read some independent review of Panda? Check this:

I've got a major article in the works for next week's issue that will look at what this means for IT departments, resellers and the AV industry itself. We'll look at both the immediate and mid-term consequences. Should be interesting!

You can help me by giving your opinion now. Take the new SunPoll:

Q: What is your outlook on Microsoft's AV initiative in 2003?

  • Zero interest or concern
  • It's just another OS extension in the works
  • Will improve delivery of existing AV services
  • Will cause a major review of our AV deployments
  • We won't commit to any AV service with the MS framework
Vote here, leftmost column:

Technical Windows eBooks

Windows eBooks: Get Dozens of Complimentary Books from the Industry's Top Authors! Realtimepublishers is bringing quality eBooks to IT readers at no charge. Written by the industry's top authors and published "real-time," as they're written, these books provide the most up-to-date information available. Each book is sponsored by a leading vendor, however, they aren't marketing brochures or white papers - they're information-packed learning tools. Current titles include The Definitive Guide to Windows 2003 Terminal Services, (www.tricerat.com/ebook) and The Definitive Guide to Migrating and Upgrading Windows Desktops (www.eisenworld.com/ebook.asp).

Browse all of their current titles at:

Invitation To New ListServer: WLANs

You are invited to participate in a new Sunbelt Sponsored List Server: WLANs. This list was created to discuss Wireless LANs. You can subscribe here:


AD Problems? DNSLint To The Rescue

A lot can go wrong with Active Directory if you don't have a correctly configured DNS infrastructure. DNS problems are the root cause of well over 80% of Active Directory (and by inference, Exchange 2000) problems. By proactively verifying the DNS configuration of your servers and domain controllers, and doing so on a regular basis, you'll increase the reliability of your infrastructure and keep your users and managers happy. And now, Windows Server 2003 Support Tools has just such a tool. It's called DNSLint. Here's what it does, good little article:

Redmond Entices Users To Upgrade Servers

Starting July 1, Microsoft will launch a promotional program that could benefit companies that want to upgrade from the standard to enterprise editions of its server software products. ComputerWorld has a good story about this option:

A Sneak Peak at Microsoft's 70-291 Exam

Part 2 of an article about 70-290 and 70-291. Missed the earlier one?

Moving onto the 70-291 exam, you will be wise to spend some extra time brushing up your level of knowledge in the following areas. Again, these are all listed in the objectives, but the objectives don't exactly tell you how important they can be to you.

  • Software Update Services. First introduced for Windows 2000, it was laughed at by many administrators. It wouldn't even run on a Domain Controller for a while--putting those using SBS in the out of luck category. SUS is not only updated, it is partially integrated into Windows Server 2003 in that its MMC templates install with Windows Server 2003. You will want to download, install, configure and manage SUS for some time to get familiar with it.
  • DHCP reservations. The simple to configure, but very powerful DHCP reservation doesn't get too much respect in a majority of network today. Don't mistake the importance of using properly configured DHCP reservations for your network. Work on troubleshooting DHCP reservations as well and you will be on your way to DHCP nirvana.
  • DNS. Ah yes, what would a Network Infrastructure exam be without a good bit of DNS thrown into the mix? The best way I can relate to you what you need to know about DNS goes like this: If you can create it, configure it, manage it or connect to it from the DNS management console you would do well to spend some time learning about it. Pay attention to those little thought of SOA and NS resource records as well.
A common theme to both of these exams was a tendency to look at new features in Windows Server 2003. It's always a safe assumption that new features will be an important part of any certification exam and these exams are no different. As an example, you might not have much cause to use ASR or Shadow Copy on a daily basis, but you should get a good grasp on what they are and what they can do for you. Of course, the "oldies but goodies" such as mandatory user profiles, group nesting, printer configuration and subnetting--yes I said subnetting--are still around in full force for these exams.

With some time spent in a non-production lab environment with your favorite group of Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional computers, you will be well on your way to readying yourself for the new Windows Server 2003 exams. The exams are slightly more challenging than their Windows 2000 counterparts, but they will actually test your hands-on knowledge--and that, after all, is the most important part of ensuring that a certification is credible. Have any comments on these exams? I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say: email me at [email protected]tners.com.

Will Schmied, BSET, MCSE, CWNA, TICSA, MCSA, Security+, A+, N+
Area 51 Partners, Inc., http://www.area51partners.com

Exotech: How's XP SP1 PlugAndPlay work with Gateways?

(Exotech is a word I just coined that means pretty "exotic technical" stuff.)

The intent of this article is to collect and document various observations made regarding the functionality of the UPnP? technologies built into Microsoft® Windows® XP Service Pack 1 when interacting with UPnP?-based Internet Gateway Devices (IGDs). The intended audiences are IGD developers interested in making their gateways compatible with Windows XP and implementers trying to troubleshoot issues associated with IGDs and Windows XP:


More On Spam Filtering

OK, perhaps I have been letting my youthful enthusiasm take me a bit too far last week, but iHateSpam Server is a smash hit and we're thrilled to be able to get so many of you a great solution. Here are some random news-bits that I was sent this last week. Most of them have been edited.

  • "Just had a law firm tell me that OUTSOURCING SPAM Filtering violates the confidentiality agreements that attorney's have with clients. That might be true for any HIPAA compliant organization".
  • "Regarding costs: Cute editorial. But looking at just the lost time of users is incomplete. See what companies with highly paid professionals who also depend on email for market research go through. My view from Wall St. is quite different. Time spent in the IT dept on the software, support, patching, hardware and maintenance to keep up a good enterprise-wide (and redundant - I use 3 of them) content scanning system. Time and resources that are just wasted in my opinion. Time & money I could use proactively for making other systems work better or adding new systems to our infrastructure to help our productivity. Now multiply that loss across not just companies but industries..."
The recent webinar has been recorded so if you could not make it, here is the link to the version you can now watch anytime you want:

"Business Continuity Planning ? Where Replication Fits"

By Jason Buffington, Director of Business Continuity

Business Continuity describes the actions an organization puts in place to ensure that critical operations can continue during and after a disaster. Business Continuity Planning addresses processes to prevent interruption of mission-critical services, and measures that will help to reestablish full functionality as swiftly and smoothly as possible.

Despite the broad scope of business continuance it is safe to assume that almost every business continuity plan requires that an operating unit's data be available. So, data protection (a.k.a. replication) is key to every business continuity plan. If you don't have the data, most other business-resumption activities will be very limited.

Getting more deeply into a discussion on data protection specifically, we can look at how much of an organization's environment is typically made to be fault-resilient. Consider an environment of 100 production platforms:

  • 2-3 percent will be identifiable as "critical" for the enterprise and every option for fault tolerance will be explored. This might be the market for the fault-tolerant servers.
  • 8-12 percent will be understood to be "important" and may receive some level of resilient technology. A business might consider approaches to clustering on these platforms.
  • For the remaining 85 percent or more of "normal" servers, it is typically assumed that fault-tolerant technology is too expensive. However, this assumption is wrong, especially considering these servers house key applications including e-mail and databases.
A business must first recognize that every server has a purpose, or it would not be powered on. This means that there are users that rely on the server's functionality, and an outage of this resource will cause a decrease in productivity. A recent survey reported that the average white-collar worker costs $36 per hour. If a small department of 20 users were to be down for a single day, the flat estimated cost would be almost $5,800. Most licenses for replication products cost less than half of this. This means that even two licenses of software, plus installation fees, has an ROI that is covered by a single department experiencing a one-day outage.

But what makes the ROI more significant for that 85 percent of most "normal" servers is that replication technology tends to support "many-to-one" server replication. Fault-tolerant and clustering server technologies tend to be dedicated platform(s) that are non-scalable and therefore cost-prohibitive for the "normal" servers. But by protecting 6, 8 or 10 production servers to a single target, high availability for all of the production platforms becomes cost effective.

Therefore, by leveraging replication software's ability to deploy "many-to-one," companies can broaden their business continuity coverage while keeping cots in line with the needs of the business. Check out the leading replication tool in the industry:

LanHound Solves Network Outages

This is an actual success story received at Sunbelt Software:

"Yes, we were having random and brief network outages. Every so often the network would completely hang for about 10-15 seconds. Well, thanks to LanHound I was able to witness a broadcast storm, capture the packets and narrow it down to a particular machine. By examining the packets themselves, I learned it was the Novell client that misconfigured. Very happy to say that the problem is now gone!

"Fortunately, the person whose computer was causing the problem was the CEO and I hope this will be all it takes to convince him to fork over the cash for the product. I was sold on it within 5 minutes. Mark H " - (Network Admin, Dallas TX)

SPECIAL Q3 OFFER: The normal price for LanHound is $595 for user with three agents. But if you buy in the third quarter 2003, you get 5 remote agents thrown in. Single remote agents are $149 each so this allows you to monitor five segments. Killer deal: Get The Hound.


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

  • IRS Workers Abuse Net Access. Probably need some real work to do. A large number of Internal Revenue Service employees browse sexually explicit websites, play games and read personal e-mail during the workday:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=030630FA-IRS
  • FDA: Children Shouldn't Use Paxil Antidepressant because of a possible increased risk of suicidal impulses associated with the drug:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=030630FA-FDA_Paxil
  • The following link describes MS's contribution to the ongoing SpamWars:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=030630FA-Microsoft
  • Here's another robot vacuum cleaner, from Dyson. This one has a mood indicator light that tells you how it is feeling about its environment:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=030630FA-Robo_Vacuum
  • Very cool animations. An ad from HP for their technology (on Linux BTW):

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=030630FA-HP
  • The FARK site. Lots of the links are broken, but the ones working are funny!

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=030630FA-Fark

    How Can You "Bulletproof" Your Windows 2000 Network?

    You've implemented AD and you want to take advantage of Group Policy to automatically manage servers and workstations, but its complexity is discouraging. Don't spend the next year testing GPOs and learning from your mistakes - download Bulletproof Your Windows 2000 Network with Group Policy, an expert white paper by renowned Windows/AD guru Darren Mar-Elia, and put best practices to work for you today.