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December 10, 2002—In this issue:
- Microsoft Management Initiative Takes the Pain Out of Enterprise Planning and Deployment
2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
- Microsoft Lobbies Governments to Reject OSs
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
- MDAC Critical Security Hotfix
- The Microsoft Mobility Tour Is Coming Soon to a City Near You!
- Get the New Windows & .NET Magazine Network Super CD/VIP!
5. HOT RELEASE (ADVERTISEMENT)
- Implementing SLA's: Tools for Success
6. INSTANT POLL
- Results of Previous Poll: Passwords
- New Instant Poll: Spam
- Tip: Hiding Core Icons from the Windows XP Desktop
8. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Transfer Large Digital Files Online
- Remotely Defragment Disks
- Submit Top Product Ideas
9. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected])
If you haven't looked at the Microsoft TechNet Web site recently (see the first URL below), you're missing a variety of excellent documentation, including the fruits of a recent management initiative that I only recently discovered. Designed as a central location for IT-oriented documentation and related resources, TechNet has grown to meet the needs of Microsoft's most demanding customers: The types of large companies that need to perform massive server consolidations, design and deploy complex data centers, and accomplish similar tasks. Microsoft's management solutions arose in part from frustration on the part of Brian Valentine, Microsoft senior vice president of the Windows Division, who often encountered customers interested in rolling out Microsoft technology. The problem, he says, was that Microsoft didn't often acknowledge that large enterprises weren't interested in running only Microsoft technology. Furthermore, customers asked that Microsoft lower costs and risks by helping them plan deployments. Who knows Windows Server better than Microsoft, after all? The result was the Microsoft Solutions for Management (MSM), a suite of scenario-based prescriptive guidance blueprints from the Windows Server team, which provides Microsoft solutions directly to customers and through solution partners. Microsoft quietly released the first offering in this initiative — the Microsoft Systems Architecture: Internet Data Center — a modular and prescriptive guide to creating an Internet data center, in February 2002; however, the company didn't officially announce the guide until this past summer, after large customers such as T-Mobile rolled out production Internet data centers by using the Microsoft-supplied blueprints. The prescriptive architecture kits are rich and deep, designed so that customers can incorporate their existing technology or replace Microsoft products with those from competitors. This modular approach makes the kits applicable to a wider range of customer scenarios, although Microsoft solution partners can offer customized solutions. The company calls the underlying scheme Microsoft Systems Architecture (MSA), which harkens back to the old IBM SNA scheme, with one major difference: Microsoft doesn't assume you're going to use only its software and services. And because Microsoft isn't a hardware company, it's working with a wide range of hardware partners in areas such as storage devices, network devices, and server hardware to create these guides. The second kit — Microsoft Systems Architecture: Enterprise Data Center — shipped this week. Like the Internet Data Center kit, the Enterprise Data Center kit documentation is freely available on the TechNet Web site. "We supply the architectural guides, the how to do it stuff, on TechNet," Michael Emmanuel, a senior product manager for MSM, said. "Our partners or any consulting group can make use of these guides, take pretested components, customize them for customers needs, and add their own pieces. The solutions are in the form of blueprints, guides, and templates." Emmanuel said it wasn't enough for Microsoft to ship technology products anymore; the company has to help customers understand how to use the technology most effectively, and that help must apply to a wide range of usage scenarios. In the early days, these requirements meant a simple users guide. But today, Microsoft's documentation cuts a wider swath. At the next level is something Microsoft calls solutions guides, which are specific to certain tasks. For example, the company might describe how to use Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) to deliver a patch to 10,000 workstations. At the level above that, Microsoft creates MSA customer-oriented guides that are like cookbooks. Here, customers can use the free pieces from TechNet or find a solutions provider that can build a custom solution. The idea is that the solutions Microsoft delivers are tested and validated in the real world before they become available to a wider range of customers. In the future, Microsoft will release other prescriptive architectural guides, and the company told me that it's working on guides for department data centers and branch offices. The company also has offerings for UNIX migrations and solutions for intranets and enterprise project management. Under the MSM umbrella, the company also offers operations assessments, critical patch deployment guides for SMS and Software Update Services (SUS), and blueprints for application deployment. Resources Microsoft TechNet
http://www.microsoft.com/technet Microsoft Solutions for Management
http://www.microsoft.com/solutions/msm Microsoft for Partners
http://www.microsoft.com/partners/management Microsoft Systems Architecture: Internet Data Center
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/itsolutions/idc Microsoft Systems Architecture: Enterprise Data Center
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2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
Microsoft is waging a major lobbying effort to prevent the United States and other international governments from choosing open source software (OSS) solutions, especially Linux. Observers believe that Microsoft launched its campaign in response to several South American and Central American governments that recently began looking into requiring OSS solutions; the campaign has popped up all around the globe, including South America, and in numerous US government and military agencies. The company has even lobbied the new Office of Homeland Security, asking it not to fund OSS research. For the rest of the story, visit
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
(contributed by Paula Sharick, [email protected])
Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) are embedded in Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 9x OSs. MDAC functions let clients and servers connect to, query, and return information stored in a remote database. In a typical three-tiered application environment, a client uses MDAC to query a Web server. The Web server processes the client query and uses MDAC functions to forward the query to the target database. In late November, Microsoft identified a critical security vulnerability in MDAC's remote query functions that affects clients and servers that operate in a three-layered application architecture. Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-065 (Buffer Overrun in Microsoft Data Access Components Could Lead to Code Execution) states that this problem doesn't affect XP systems. For more information about the MDAC hotfix, visit the following URL:
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5. HOT RELEASE (ADVERTISEMENT)
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6. INSTANT POLL
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "How often does your organization force users to change passwords?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 271 votes:
- 17% At least once a month
- 41% Every 2 to 3 months
- 15% Every 3 to 6 months
- 4% Every 6 months or more
- 24% We don't force password changes
The next Instant Poll question is, "Is email spam a problem in your work environment?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, it's a serious problem, b) Yes, it's somewhat of a problem, or c) No, I receive very little spam.
(contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com)
Q. How can I hide core icons from the Windows XP desktop?
A. In earlier Windows versions, you could use various registry hacks or Microsoft's TweakUI utility to hide core icons such as My Computer and Network Places from the desktop. With XP, Microsoft provides an interface in the product that lets you accomplish the same task. To hide core icons from the desktop, perform the following steps:
- Start the Control Panel Display applet (go to Start, Control Panel, Display).
- Select the Desktop tab.
- Click Customize Desktop.
- Select the General tab.
- Under the "Desktop icons" section, clear the check boxes next to any icons that you don't want to appear on the desktop.
- Click OK.
8. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])
Niwot Networks released Gigabyte Express (GBX) 5, file-transfer software that supports Diffie-Hellman key exchange and 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption. The software lets you transfer large digital files across the Internet and private intranets. For pricing, contact Niwot Networks at 303-772-8664 or 800-657-3278.
Winternals Software announced that Defrag Manager, a clientless defragmentation server, can now remotely defragment the disks on all Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows NT computers that are accessible through a TCP/IP connection. Other new features include support for any Active Directory (AD) or NetBIOS network domain and the ability to defragment notebook computers outside the network. Defrag Manager is licensed by number of nodes. Contact Winternals Software at 512-330-9130.
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected].
9. CONTACT US
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