A network administrator's job is not a simple one. Administering a network using Windows NT Server 4.0 can be daunting, with the seemingly endless configuration combinations that are possible with Primary Domain Controllers (PDCs) and Backup Domain Controllers (BDCs). Factor in integrating non-Windows machines, migrating from non-Windows networks, handling security issues, and administering hundreds--maybe even thousands--of users, and suddenly hairdressing starts to look like an attractive career option.
But help has arrived, in the form of the Windows NT Server 4 Administrator's Guide, a book and accompanying CD-ROM edited by Paul E. Robichaux with coauthors Robert Chronister, James Kany, Sean Leinen, Ted Malone, and William R. Williams. This guide is so comprehensive that you can use it as your primary reference manual for NT Server 4.0, and so readable and well organized that you can use it as a self-paced teaching guide.
The key to this book's utility and reader friendliness is its well-thought-out organization. There are 27 chapters grouped into 8 sections (e.g., installation, management, security, and performance), each of which highlights one area of concern to NT Server 4.0 administrators. Each chapter follows a uniform format, beginning with a bulleted list entitled "In This Chapter," which presents an outline of the subjects covered in the chapter's text. Following this list is the "How do I..." section, a textual hyperlink to the how-to sections within the text. After the chapter's substantive text you'll find a concluding section, "Where Do I Go Next?" which references related information in other chapters.
The Windows NT Server 4 Administrator's Guide offers a wealth of detail, including step-by-step instructions and illustrations. Such in-depth practical information is reason enough to use this book. But what makes the Administrator's Guide more valuable as a resource is that it directs you through the various decisions related to planning and implementation that every NT Server 4.0 administrator must make. It will take you from planning and implementing NT Server 4.0 into maintaining and upgrading your system. For example, in Chapter 15, "Planning and Using Domains and Workgroups," you'll find a number of domain and workgroup scenarios, information about domain trust relationships and various domain models, and guidelines for how to decide what is right for your network and how to manage domains.
Let me give you a quick tour through Windows NT Server 4 Administrator's Guide, and I'll point out areas of particular interest as we go along. Parts I and II give you a solid understanding of NT Server basics, and they include coverage of NT Workstation and Windows 95. (The inclusion of Win95 is particularly useful, because most books about NT Server 4.0 don't acknowledge that many organizations will be running Win95 as a client to NT Server.) Part I, "NT Server Fundamentals," presents a brief history of NT evolution and a concise refresher course that covers NT architecture and its networking and memory models.
|Windows NT Server 4 Administrator's Guide|
Author: Paul E. Robichaux, ed., Robert Chronister, James Kany, Sean Leinen, Tel Malone, William R. Williams
Publisher: Prima Publishing,; Rocklin, 1996
Price: $50.00; 792 pages (paperback with CD-ROM)
In Part II, "Installing Windows NT Server," you'll find information about planning, installing, and customizing NT Server 4.0. Chapter 4, "Installing Windows NT Server," gives particularly good coverage of the features specific to NT Server 4.0, including information about the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) and about performing unattended or Systems Management Server (SMS) installations. I particularly recommend the section entitled "Troubleshooting the Boot Process" in Chapter 5, "Beyond the Installation."
Part III, "Administering Windows NT Servers," discusses many of the advanced management features of NT Server 4.0. You'll find information about configuring printers (including network printers); planning, implementing, and maintaining accounts; managing servers; and tackling essential system Registry issues.
In Part IV, "Protecting Your Network Environment," you'll learn how to implement a bulletproof network. The two chapters in Part IV present information about the fundamentals of the NT security model (including the Security Accounts Manager--SAM), permissions and rights (through the access control listACL), events, data backup, virus protection, and disaster prevention and recovery.
In my opinion, Part V, "Managing Your Network with Domains," is the core of this book. This section is where you'll learn how to understand, plan, implement, and maintain networks of workgroups, domains, users, and groups. This excellent reference material gives you a solid understanding of the domain-management options in NT Server 4.0.
Part VI, "Watching and Tuning Performance," is a great source of information about postdeployment enhancements that optimize your network. You'll learn how to get the most from Performance Monitor, plan for remote access, and optimize system performance.
Part VII, "Integrating Windows NT with Your Network," is all about achieving network interoperability with DOS, Windows, Novell NetWare, Mac, and TCP/IP. This section is required reading no matter how complex your network is.
In Part VII, "Extending Your Network," you'll understand and learn how to plan for dial-up networking, Remote Access Service (RAS), modem/ISDN pooling, and Internet access and security. Chapter 27, "Running Microsoft Internet Information Server," gives you all the tools you need to put your business on the Internet.
Throughout Windows NT Server 4 Administrator's Guide you'll find context-appropriate sidebar references to reviews of the applications on the accompanying CD-ROM. In fact, the CD-ROM contains so many applications that you might think it's worth the price by itself. An autoloading installation application helps you review and install the software. And the book's "Appendix: What's on the CD?" helps you find the software you want.
It's obvious that the authors and publisher of Windows NT Server 4 Administrator's Guide took care in producing this book--I didn't find any technical errors, and only one typo. It's one of the finest books available on administering a network with NT Server 4.0. Not only that, but it gives you a CD-ROM full of software to add to your collection of essential tools. I don't think you'll find this book gathering dust on IS department bookshelves--more likely, you'll find it dog-eared, and well-used, on the systems administrator's desk.