Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--June 2, 2003

This Issue Sponsored By

Quest Software



1. Commentary: Integration ... or Snow Job?

2. Hot Off the Press
- TechEd 2003 Kicks Off Exchange 2003 Rollout

3. Keeping Up with Win2K and NT
- IPSec Enhancements for Windows XP and Win2K

4. Announcements
- Cast Your Vote in Our Annual Readers' Choice Awards!
- Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Fall Dates Announced

5. Instant Poll
- Results of Previous Poll: Network Security
- New Instant Poll: WLAN

6. Resources
- Featured Thread: Managing Print Jobs at the Command Line
- Tip: Where Can I Find My BIOS Version in Windows?

7. Events
- Security 2003 Road Show

8. New and Improved
- Monitor Active Jobs
- Submit Top Product Ideas

9. Contact Us
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

==== Sponsor: Quest Software ====
You've implemented Active Directory and you want to take advantage of Group Policy to automatically secure and manage servers and workstations, but its complexity is discouraging. You can't afford not to use it, but where will you find the time?
Don't spend the next year testing GPOs and learning from your mistakes! Download "Bulletproof Your Windows Network with Group Policy," a free white paper by renowned Windows/AD author Darren Mar-Elia. Put our Group Policy best practices to work for you today!


==== 1. Commentary: Integration ... or Snow Job? ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

This week at Microsoft TechEd 2003, more than 10,000 IT administrators, professionals, and developers are convening in Dallas to learn how the products in the Windows Server System, combined with those in the Microsoft Office System, will not only save them time and money but also, presumably, cure cancer and solve the energy crisis in one fell swoop. OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. In his keynote address Monday morning, Microsoft Senior Vice President Paul Flessner pointed out several times that his company's products still have plenty of room for improvement--but listening to the bizarre variety of servers, services, and applications that Microsoft will foist on unsuspecting enterprises this calendar year, I was struck by how confusing (and expensive) the entire situation has become.
As I've discussed previously in Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE, the cost of Microsoft's server products can quickly add up. After a Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Reviewer's Workshop Sunday, I told Exchange Server Group Product Manager T.A. McCann that most of Microsoft's customers probably share a similar decision-making process before licensing any of the company's products. First, they determine all the benefits Microsoft's various products will supply, tack them into a list, and tally the cost. Then, they start trimming back on the least essential products until the price matches their budget. This somewhat backward approach to licensing is unfortunate but necessitated by Microsoft's high prices. Let's hope the company can rectify this situation over time.
Adding to the burden is the problem of convincing companies that they need new versions of Microsoft's products and services. Certainly, a hefty percentage of Exchange users, for example, are still using Exchange Server 5.5 running on Windows NT 4.0; Microsoft says the figure could be as high as 60 percent. This market, presumably waiting to upgrade, has a confusing challenge ahead.
For Exchange 5.5 users wanting to upgrade to Exchange 2003, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the upgrade is simpler and less error prone than the upgrade to Exchange 2000 Server. The reason is that the Exchange 2003 setup routine won't let you continue until you meet all prerequisites; Exchange 2000 doesn't check for prerequisites, often with disastrous results. The other good news is that you can mix and match Exchange versions in one environment. For example, you can run Exchange 2003/Windows Server 2003 boxes, Exchange 2000/Windows 2000 boxes, and Exchange 5.5/NT 4.0 boxes, in the same topology, interoperating together.
So what's the bad news? Determining which servers run on which OSs is a confusing and daunting task. You can't run Exchange 2003 on NT 4.0, so you'll have to install Exchange 2003 on a new server OS, probably Windows 2003 (likewise, you can't run Exchange 5.5 on Windows 2003, go figure). The upgrade to Exchange 2003 will require new hardware and a migration-style upgrade rather than an in-place upgrade. Even this situation isn't totally horrible because you can use a new Move Mailbox tool to move Exchange mailboxes to the new version relatively easily. And with Exchange 2003's server consolidation capabilities, you'll likely be able to consolidate numerous older servers into one modern box, which will be easier to manage and less expensive.
Accurately showing this information in a text-based newsletter is difficult, but here's a rough product matrix that attempts to explain which Windows versions can run which Exchange versions:
- Windows 2003: Exchange 2003
- Win2K Server Service Pack 3 (SP3): Exchange 2003
- Win2K Server: Exchange 2000 SP3, Exchange 2000 SP2, and Exchange 5.5 SP3
- NT 4.0 Server: Exchange 5.5 SP3

So why might a company decide to upgrade to Exchange 2003? In this release, Microsoft has significantly updated Outlook Web Access (OWA); it's virtually indistinguishable from Outlook 2003. This change means that enterprises can save money by not rolling out a new Outlook version, and OWA users can benefit from the larger reading pane, spell checking, server-side rules, 80 percent better performance than OWA in Exchange 2000, and numerous other new features. Exchange 2003 includes improved versions of all the features found in Mobile Information Server (MIS) 2002, including a new Outlook Mobile Access (OMA) tool that lets users access their email, calendar, and contacts from virtually any mobile device, including Pocket PCs, Smartphones, or virtually anything else with a Web browser.
In a nod to one of the company's biggest customer requests, Exchange 2003 now supports HTTP Secure (HTTPS) connections to the server from Outlook 2003, negating the need for expensive or complicated VPN solutions. Other good reasons for using Outlook 2003 with Exchange 2003 include a new cached mode, which silently copies a local copy of your Exchange mailboxes to the local machine so that you always have a quicker, more easily accessible copy, especially when offline. Also, network bandwidth requirements between Outlook 2003 and Exchange 2003 are significantly lower than before, resulting in faster performance. And when you combine Exchange 2003 with Windows 2003, you gain the benefits of the better performing platform, as well as enhanced versions of backup and restore functions that use Windows 2003's Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to provide Exchange database snapshots and backups that don't require the server to go offline.
The largest problem with Microsoft's big happy product family is expense. Because of the company's mad dash to integrate features across several products, only those customers who can afford the full meal deal--in this case, Windows 2003, Exchange 2003 and Office/Outlook 2003--will realize all the benefits the new "system" supplies. For those who can afford only part of the product matrix, the capabilities drop off quickly, as does the resulting cost/benefit ratio. Microsoft's marketing plan essentially boils down to the old adage that you have to spend money to save money. And I'm not sure that's a path many enterprises are prepared to travel.


==== Sponsor: Oracle ====

Trade your SQL Server for an Oracle9i Database and get up to 100% license credit-and peace of mind. In the time it takes you to apply the Microsoft patches to your servers, you can successfully migrate your database to Oracle9i Database and be worry-free. Click here to download Oracle9i Database on Windows for free.;5656009;8125618;n?


==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

TechEd 2003 Kicks Off Exchange 2003 Rollout This week at Microsoft TechEd 2003 in Dallas, Microsoft will unveil Exchange Server 2003 Release Candidate 1 (RC1), a near-final build of the company's next-generation messaging server that will ship to customers later this summer. TechEd, historically a technical training event for IT administrators, this year will focus largely on Exchange and other so-called "iWave" products--including Microsoft Office 2003, Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003, and Windows Server 2003--that Microsoft is targeting at information professionals. For the complete story, visit the following URL:

==== 3. Keeping Up with Win2K and NT ====
by Paula Sharick, [email protected]

IPSec Enhancements for Windows XP and Win2K
Many of us implement Network Address Translation (NAT) on firewalls and routers as the first line of defense in protecting internal systems. When NAT is active and a user connects to a system on the Internet, the firewall or router repackages the request so that the client system remains anonymous. In technical terms, the NAT device remembers the address of the system making the request and the destination address. The NAT device then replaces the original client address with its own address (or one of a range of preconfigured addresses) and forwards the request to the destination machine. When the destination system responds, the NAT device determines which client should receive the response, reformats the packet so that it contains the client's real address, and sends the response to the client. By masking the addresses of all systems on your internal network and preventing direct connections between a local system and an unknown system on the Internet, NAT technology reduces the exposure and vulnerability of your internal systems.
The combination of Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and IP Security (IPSec) offers an even more secure method of communication. Unlike NAT, which simply reformats packets with a different source or destination address, L2TP connections are encrypted and ruled by an IPSec policy that requires the endpoints to authenticate each other with a shared password or certificate. Until recently, Microsoft platforms didn't support the use of L2TP connections in combination with NAT. To improve the interoperability of Windows XP and Windows 2000 systems with Windows Server 2003 systems, Microsoft recently released an update for XP and Win2K platforms that lets clients create secure IPSec connections to a Windows 2003 server when the clients are behind a firewall or router running NAT. In real-world terms, this functionality lets clients on your internal network create secure, encrypted connections to systems on the Internet, while remaining anonymous to any systems between the firewall and the destination machine. For more details about this new functionality, visit the following URL:

==== 4. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Cast Your Vote in Our Annual Readers' Choice Awards!
Which companies and products are the best on the market? Tell us by nominating your favorites in the annual Windows & .NET Magazine Readers' Choice Awards survey. Click here!

Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Fall Dates Announced
Jump-start your fall 2003 training plans by securing your seat for Windows & .NET Magazine Connections Fall, scheduled for November 2 through 6, 2003, in Orlando, Florida. Register now to receive the lowest possible registration fee. Call 800-505-1201 or 203-268-3204 for more information.

==== Hot Release: IMANAMI ====
"GAL Problems?" Not that GAL, your Global Address List!
Synchronize your GAL with employee data in minutes.
Allow users to update or view GAL information and manage groups via the web.
Automatically create groups based on GAL attributes and external data sources.
Click for Free Carabineer!

==== Hot Release: Speed vs. Accuracy in Backup and Restore ====
Download this free technical white paper now from Windows & .NET Magazine's White Paper Central. Brought to you courtesy of Dantz.;5593261;7402808;l?

==== 5. Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: Network Security
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific
Instant Poll for the question, "Do you think that your organization's network is more secure or less secure than it was a year ago?" Here are the results from the 112 votes:
- 78% More secure
- 16% Less secure
- 6% Not sure

New Instant Poll: WLAN
The next Instant Poll question is, "Does your organization have a wireless LAN (WLAN)?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and
submit your vote for a) Yes, b) No, or, c) I don't know.

==== 6. Resources ====

Featured Thread: Managing Print Jobs at the Command Line

User Aquambo works in a department with several network printers connected to a central Linux print server. He would rather use Windows command-line tools to administer the printers and wonders whether any such tools are available. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:

Tip: Where Can I Find My BIOS Version in Windows?
by John Savill,

A. When Windows starts, the OS loads information about the main computer BIOS and video BIOS and stores the following information under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DESCRIPTION\System registry subkey:
- SystemBiosDate
- SystemBiosVersion
- VideoBiosDate
- VideoBiosVersion

This information appears in the registry for informational purposes only; changing these items' values has no effect on the system.

==== 7. Events ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

* Security 2003 Road Show
Join Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott as they deliver sound security advice at our popular Security 2003 Road Show event.

==== 8. New and Improved ====
by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Monitor Active Jobs
Advanced Systems Concepts released ActiveBatch 4.0, job scheduling and management software for XP/2000/NT. The software features a GUI that lets you view and monitor active jobs. You can also create and view dependencies and other ongoing system relationships. ActiveBatch features open database support, noncluster failover capability, file triggers to make jobs actionable when a file is created in the directory, and customizable reporting. For pricing, contact Advanced Systems Concepts at 973-539-2660 or [email protected]

Submit Top Product Ideas
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]

==== Sponsored Links ====

* FaxBack
Integrate FAX into Exchange/Outlook (Whitepaper, ROI, Trial)


==== 9. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected]
About technical questions --
About product news -- [email protected]
About your subscription -- [email protected]
About sponsoring [email protected]

This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine,
the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today.

Manage your email newsletter account on our Web site. Simply log on to change your email address, update your profile information, and subscribe or unsubscribe to any of our email newsletters.

Copyright 2003, Penton Media, Inc.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.