Windows Server Cookbook
The O Reilly Cookbook series of books have consistently offered great distillations of hundreds of hours of experience related by talented professionals who have slogged through the trenches of working day to day with the featured technology. Recently added to this recipe stable is Robbie Allen s Windows Server Cookbook for Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000. Allen, a Technical Leader at Cisco Systems, is also an active author of Sysadmin articles who has amassed a vast collection of valuable snippets designed to help Windows administrators perform their job more effectively in a much more automated fashion. In fact, Windows Server Cookbook could have more accurately been titled Windows Server Administration Using VBScript , as every one of the 285 problem sets are addressed with an accompanying VBScript snippet solution. Also accompanying each VBScript example is the GUI-based mechanism used to address the issue (if one is available) and the command-line equivalent.
Every important facet of Windows Server 2000/2003 administration is touched upon in this book, from generic operations such as file management, tasks, processes, event logs, and registry modifications to specific server manipulations for ActiveDirectory, DNS, DHCP, and IIS. One of the final chapters on Exchange may seem out of place to those uninitiated in the quirky ways Exchange is hosted symbiotically (or as some admins might consider, parasitically) on Windows. Those more experienced who have already lived through an Exchange meltdown will immediately recognize the relevance and value that this chapter has to offer.
The book is well organized, making any particular script and/or function easy to locate. In addition, every script in the book is freely available for download from the author s Web site, located at http://www.rallenhome.com/books/winsckbk/code.html. The author has extended the offer to provide a zip file containing all these examples, plus additional Perl-based and Web-only scripts (523 scripts total), to those who have purchased the book.
One addendum sadly missing should have introduced Microsoft s forthcoming Command Shell for Longhorn (codenamed Monad ) that is designed to replace the aging command-line approach to managing servers with the more robust .NET way of doing things, ideally using C# syntax. Even though it has been in beta for ages, the Command Shell should make everything from modifying ActiveDirectory records to registry keys a simple few-lines-of-code affair, potentially making many scripts in this book obsolete. Naturally, this means another publishing opportunity for the author and the publisher.
Another omission that could have reinforced the power of what all these VBScripts could do when intelligently applied is the mother of all admin scripts example that could create a new user and auto-generate custom login scripts for that user, setting up disk quotas, application access, profile parameters, creating the user s mailbox, and automatically pre-populating it with a set of group folders ... the works. Sure, there would need to be a number of insert your value here parameter placeholders, but it could have truly showcased the power of what all these individual scripts could collectively process.
Even with these minor omissions, Windows Server Cookbook is undeniably a must-have title for any Windows developer or system administrator seeking to automate virtually every key facet of the Windows administrative console.
Title: Windows Server Cookbook
Author: Robbie Allen
Publisher: O Reilly
Page Count: 696 pages