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Learning Windows Server 2003 by Jonathan Hassell

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Organization and Structure

In structuring the contents of this book I have tried to make a logical progression through the product, from a high-level overview through complete discussions and treatments of all its major components. Let’s walk through the Table of Contents a little more thoroughly.

Chapter 1, covers the product on a very general basis, from Microsoft’s philosophy behind the product itself and the different versions of the product that are available, to an overview of the features in this release that are new or otherwise improved and a complete overview of the system design. This chapter is designed to give the administrator a complete and systematic overview of the product.

Chapter 2, provides a detailed guide to installing the product in a variety of different environments. I’ve included scenarios for upgrade and new installations, and considerations with regard to security, user requirements, hardware necessities, and distributed installation (mass deployment). I also cover the System Preparation tool (Sysprep), which allows mass duplication of a single OS image on deployment to multiple computers, and Remote Installation Services (RIS), another tool for installing the OS over the network.

In Chapter 3, I discuss the basic file and print services built into Windows Server 2003. The chapter begins with an overview of sharing and a guide to creating shares, publishing them to Active Directory, mapping drives, using the My Network Places applet, and accessing shares from the Start Run command and from within Internet Explorer. Then I dive into a detailed discussion of the Windows permission structure, including permission levels, “special” permissions, inheritance, and ownership. Here, you’ll also find a guide to settings permissions. Also covered in this chapter is an overview of the Distributed File System (Dfs), how to set it up, and how to manage it.

Chapter 4, covers the domain name system, or DNS. Because DNS is such a fundamental component of Active Directory, I wanted to include a separate treatment of how it works, including a discussion of the different types of resource records and zone files supported, integration with Active Directory, the split DNS architecture, and backup and recovery of DNS data.

Most installations of Windows Server 2003 will include installation of the Active Directory technology because so many products which require the server OS are tightly integrated with Active Directory. Chapter 5, provides a complete guide to the technical portion of Active Directory, including its logical and physical structure, hierarchical components (domains, trees, forests, and organizational units), scalability, and replication. Coverage of the LDAP standards is included, as well as a discussion to migration and security considerations. Then I move into planning strategies, installing Active Directory onto Windows Server, and the day-to-day administrative tools.

Group Policy (GP) is one of the most underappreciated management technologies in any server product. Chapter 6, is dedicated to introducing GP and its structure and operation. I begin with a survey of GP and Active Directory interaction, objects, and inheritance. Then I provide a practical guide to implementing GP through user and computer policies and administrative templates, installing software through GP, administration through scripting, and redirecting folders and other user interface elements. I also discuss IntelliMirror, a cool technology for application distribution (similar to ZENworks from Novell).

Chapter 7, helps ensure that you are well versed in locking down your systems to protect both your own computers and the Internet community as a whole. I cover security policy, including ways to manage it using predefined templates and customized policy plans, and an overview of the Security Configuration and Analysis Tool, or SCAT. Then I provide a complete procedural guide to locking down both a Windows network server and a standard Windows client system (despite the fact that this is a server book, administrators often are responsible for the entire network, and client and server security go hand in hand).

IIS received a major revamp in this release, and Chapter 8, will cover the details. In version 6, IIS is ready for primetime hosting. I cover the architectural improvements and new features in this release, and then move on to a practical discussion of daily IIS administration. Guides include administering basic web sites, the SMTP listener, the new POP3 service, the NNTP service, and the FTP server.

Chapter 9, covers the .NET Framework services introduced in this server revision. I discuss their purpose and then provide a guide to administering the .NET Framework on a standard server. A complete list of references to other works that cover these services in more detail is provided as well.

Chapter 10, provides a guide to Terminal Services, including an overview from the server administrator’s perspective and a similar overview from a typical user’s point of view. Then I cover how to install both Terminal Services itself and applications such as Microsoft Office and other tools inside the Terminal Services environment. A guide to configuring Terminal Services follows, including procedures for general configuration, remote control options, environment settings, logons, sessions, and permission control. Concluding the chapter is a guide to daily administration using Terminal Services Manager, the Active Directory user tools, Task Manager, and command-line utilities.

Chapter 11, covers the standard networking architecture of the operating system, including addressing and routing issues. Then I move into a discussion of the various network subsystems: the Domain Name System (DNS), the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), and a discussion of VPN connectivity, the different phases of VPN, tunneling and encryption, and the RADIUS server bundled with .NET Server, the Internet Authentication Service (IAS). Finishing up the chapter, I discuss IPSec, its support from within the OS, and how to install, configure, use, and administer it. Coverage of client quarantining is also included.

The penultimate chapter, Chapter 12, covers Windows clustering services. First, a discussion of the different types of clustering services is provided, and then I cover successfully planning a basic cluster and its different elements: the applications, how to group the machines, capacity and network planning, user account management, and the possible points of failure. A treatment of Network Load Balancing clusters follows, and I round out the chapter with a guide to creating and managing server clusters, as well as an overview of the administrative tools bundled with the OS.

Finally, Chapter 13, discusses the other elements of Windows Server 2003 not covered elsewhere, including the Indexing Service and the Microsoft Message Queue. Tips for managing each are discussed.

Appendix A, provides a peek at two anticipated updates to teh OS: Service Pack 1 and Release 2 (also known as “R2”).

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