Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE, brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies.
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(Below COMMENTARY)


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July 23, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • Microsoft Returns to Its Small Business Roots

2. HOT OFF THE PRESS

  • Intel to Roll Out 3GHz Pentium 4 Early

3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT

  • The Perils of UPnP

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Energize Your Enterprise at MEC 2002, October 8 Through 11, Anaheim, CA
  • Submit Top Product Ideas

5. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS)

  • Free Download - Solve PC Problems 70% Faster!
  • New from Winternals: Defrag Manager 2.0!
  • FREE Security Webcast from Microsoft and NetIQ

6. INSTANT POLL

  • Results of Previous Poll: Change and Configuation Management Software
  • New Instant Poll: Small Business Server

7. RESOURCES

  • Featured Thread: Four User Profiles on One PC but Only I Can Use IE
  • Tip: What's Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)?

8. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Manage Hardware and Software on Your Network
  • Achieve Network Analysis from One Desktop

9. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. COMMENTARY
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@winnetmag.com)

  • MICROSOFT RETURNS TO ITS SMALL BUSINESS ROOTS

  • I find Microsoft's fascination with high-end enterprise computing somewhat confusing. After all, the company made its millions from individual consumers and small businesses, and emphasizes rapid version turnaround and volume pricing. Big businesses, however, aren't interested in constant upgrading and might not even be interested in saving software costs upfront. So when Microsoft started stressing terms such as scalability, I had little hope that the company would succeed in the markets that Big Iron once dominated. Surprisingly, however, Microsoft has done well in these markets. Thanks largely to the continued success and resiliency of Intel's 32-bit x86 product line, Microsoft has been able to take advantage of PC economics to get a toehold in the high-end enterprise. And some of the company's products, notably Windows 2000 Datacenter Server and Microsoft SQL Server, are powerful enough in their own right to compete against the entrenched UNIX competition.

    While Microsoft's expansion into enterprise computing was going on, however, the company seemed to be abandoning its smaller and midsized customers. The company quietly discontinued its BackOffice suite of products and inauspiciously launched the last revision of Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS)--based on Win2K--many months after Win2K shipped last year. However, Microsoft will issue a compelling SBS 2000 Service Pack 1 (SP1) update later this summer that makes this product line the perfect entry into the Windows server world, especially for small businesses that can't afford onsite IT staff. The update couldn't come at a better time: Despite expected flat overall server growth during the next year, market-research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that shipments of small business servers that serve less than 10 PCs will grow more than 10 percent during the same period.

    I haven't worked with SBS since the early days, when the Windows NT-based SBS 4.x product line was current. Back then, I had a few thoughts about the product: First, the SBS management tools were friendlier and more accessible than their equivalents in stock NT installations. Second, SBS included a few features that weren't widely available, at the time, including a fax service. And finally, the idea of installing Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL Server, and Proxy Server on the same machine seemed a bit dicey to me, even if SBS' scripted install routine made the process fairly simple.

    The situation has improved dramatically since then. SBS 2000 includes Win2K Server, Exchange 2000 Server, SQL Server 2000, Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, and several other useful components, including shared fax and modem services, server health monitoring, and the Microsoft FrontPage 2000 and Outlook 2000 clients. With SBS 2000 SP1, Microsoft is updating each server component to the latest service pack release, including Win2K SP3, which will ship soon. Microsoft will update the Outlook client to Outlook 2002 (XP).

    But the most compelling changes in SBS exist outside the box, if you'll excuse my use of that tired phrase. First, SBS 2000 SP1 includes support for the new server-based Windows Update service, Software Update Services (SUS), which provides all the server components in SBS with the same updating capabilities that Windows XP users enjoy. Second, because SBS 2000 is typically installed in small businesses with no IT staff, Microsoft is providing incentives for VARs and other channel partners to support the product, while making SBS 2000 easier to maintain.

    "With Small Business Server, the customer typically buys the product from a VAR \[or other channel partner\], who then comes and deploys it onsite," said Katy Hunter, group product manager for Windows Small Business Server. "The VAR trains the users, and perhaps integrates an application on top of it, \[and\] signs a maintenance agreement with hourly rate services. With our new Channel Incentive Program, we will rebate up to $500 to the channel partner. Our partners can simply make more money this way, of course, or they can pass the savings through the customer. Others sign up customers for long-term agreements, and then give them 2 free months of maintenance or similar."

    The idea, obviously, is to jumpstart technology adoption in places that have historically shunned local servers. "The more the customer sees, the more they get, the more they are going to want," Hunter told me. To this end, companies that outgrow SBS 2000 can upgrade to full Windows Server products later.

    SBS 2000 SP1 will ship by the end of August, with widespread availability in September. A future release, SBS 2003, will include Windows .NET Server and SharePoint Team Services 2.0 and ship after that product line is completed late this year.

    Follow-up: Change and Configuration Management
    In last week's Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE commentary about change and configuration management, I didn't make clear that my product recommendations were based, in large part, on reader feedback. One of the most wonderful side effects of this newsletter is the number of high-quality email responses I get from each issue. To give readers the full benefit of this resource, I often provide follow-up articles that are based almost solely on reader feedback. This feedback also enables me--one person--to write about 50 of these newsletters each year. Coming up with unique and interesting articles on a weekly basis is an intimidating task, but UPDATE readers make it a pleasure.

    That said, I've written about change and configuration management several times in the past because I feel that this area of system administration is incredibly important and, curiously, largely ignored by Microsoft. I don't believe that any one tool is the definitive solution: As I mentioned at the end of last week's commentary, you need to research the tools that are available, including those I mentioned, and pick one that's right for your specific needs. For example, some tools provide configuration management for non-Windows products--important consideration in heterogeneous environments. Thanks to the excellent feedback I received to last week's issue, I'll have more to write about change and configuration management in the future. Thanks for reading.


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    2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
    (contributed by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@winnetmag.com)

  • INTEL TO ROLL OUT 3GHZ PENTIUM 4 EARLY

  • Intel plans to roll out its 3GHz Pentium 4 microprocessor in the fall, ahead of its previous Q4 2002 schedule. The timing will let PC makers ship PCs based on the new chip in time for the holiday season, and further extend Intel's performance lead over the competition. Additionally, Intel says that it will be able to release an interim speed bump--its 2.8GHz Pentium 4 microprocessor--within the next few months. Today's fastest Pentium 4 runs at 2.53GHz. To read the complete article, visit the following URL:
    http://www.wininformant.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=26002

    3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
    (contributed by Paula Sharick, paula@winnetmag.com)

  • THE PERILS OF UPNP

  • Last week, I did a routine check of a client site's firewall log and discovered, as usual, the log was clogged with records showing that the firewall had blocked Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) packets from three Windows XP systems on the network. Every time the UPnP specter raises its ugly head, the traffic pattern is always consistent: The firewall logs four UPnP packets every 25 seconds from each system, 24 hours a day. Aside from the fact that these packets consume bandwidth and are useless on a corporate network, UPnP events clog the firewall log. If you haven't yet tackled the constant UPnP chatter on your network, visit the URL below to discover what UPnP traffic is, the security concerns around UPnP, the XP services and components that generate UPnP traffic, and a few commands you can use to identify and kill the responsible process.
    http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=26008

    4. ANNOUNCEMENTS
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

  • ENERGIZE YOUR ENTERPRISE AT MEC 2002, OCTOBER 8 THROUGH 11, ANAHEIM, CA

  • Don't miss the essential Microsoft infrastructure conference where you'll connect with a world of expert information, technical training sessions, best practices, and hands-on labs. Be among the first 1000 to register and receive a free MEC 2002 DVD valued at $695--plus save $300!
    http://www.microsoft.com/corpevents/mec2002

  • 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 What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to whatshot@winnetmag.com.

    5. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS)

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  • NEW FROM WINTERNALS: DEFRAG MANAGER 2.0!

  • Defrag Manager is the powerful new enterprise defragmenter from Winternals. FEATURES: defrag systems enterprise-wide from single console; fast, thorough defrag engine; easy-to-use schedule wizard; drag-and-drop system scheduling; Active Directory-compatible; competitive licensing. FREE 30-DAY TRIAL CD!

    http://www.winternals.com/es/hotreleasetrial

  • FREE SECURITY WEBCAST FROM MICROSOFT AND NETIQ

  • Learn how to combat hackers during the free 8/20/02 Webcast, "Computer Crime Forensics," Part II of the "Defending the Enterprise" series. Security experts will cover how to safeguard and harden your Windows network. Register now!
    http://webevents.tpcnet.com/netiq/20020820/start/default.asp?origin=W2Khotrelease722

    6. INSTANT POLL

  • RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLL: CHANGE AND CONFIGURATION MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

  • The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Does your organization use any type of change and configuration management software?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 115 votes:
    • 41% Yes, we use change and configuration management software
    • 16% Not yet, but we plan to use change and configuration management software
    • 42% No, we have no plans to use change and configuration management software
    • 2% I don't know

  • NEW INSTANT POLL: SMALL BUSINESS SERVER

  • The next Instant Poll question is, "Does Microsoft Small Business Server Offer a compelling solution for your enterprise?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, we already use SBS, b) Yes, and we plan to roll out SBS in the near future, c) No, SBS doesn't offer a compelling solution for my organization, or d) I don't know.
    http://www.winnetmag.com/magazine

    7. RESOURCES

  • FEATURED THREAD: FOUR USER PROFILES ON ONE PC BUT ONLY I CAN USE IE

  • John upgraded his PC from Windows 98 to Windows XP Professional and now only he can access the Internet. When other users click the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) icon, they receive an Access Denied error message stating that the ACL settings prevent their use of the program. Read more about his problem and offer your suggestions at the following URL:
    http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?app=83&id=108891

  • TIP: WHAT'S WINDOWS MANAGEMENT INSTRUMENTATION (WMI)?

  • (contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com)

    Microsoft introduced WMI as a Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4 (SP4) component. WMI is now a core component of Windows 2000 and later OSs. WMI lets you access most elements of your operating environment and configure and manage hidden settings for many tools you use every day.

    WMI is especially beneficial to administrators. Before WMI, you had to use Win32 API calls to access the information and facilities that WMI offers, and those API calls weren't available to scripting languages. WMI supports scripting languages (e.g., Windows Script Host--WSH, VBScript) that provide COM automation to manipulate and query any aspect of a system that WMI exposes. Other languages, such as C++, can also reference WMI within their source code. For more information about WMI, visit the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Web site at the URL below.
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnclinic/html/scripting06112002.asp

    8. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Bob Kretschman, products@winnetmag.com)

  • MANAGE HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE ON YOUR NETWORK

  • Alchemy Lab released Asset Tracker for Networks 1.8, software that helps administrators manage software and hardware components on network computers. Asset Tracker for Networks collects up-to-date information about installed software and hardware from each network workstation, including OS, processor data, memory information, WinSock information, storage device information, and software package information. The data can help administrators make better-informed decisions about system management. The product, which runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 9x, is priced from $199 for 25 PCs to $799 for 500 or more PCs. For more information, visit Alchemy Lab's Web page.
    http://www.alchemy-lab.com/products/atn

  • ACHIEVE NETWORK ANALYSIS FROM ONE DESKTOP

  • AdRem Software released NetCrunch, software that provides full network analysis from one desktop to help systems administrators easily detect faults, determine their origins, and correct them. The program discovers all devices in a network, displays them on hierarchical maps, and monitors their loads. Users can define traps for particular parameters, and the product includes advanced alerting features to let users know as soon as a problem develops. NetCrunch runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 98. For pricing and other information, contact AdRem Software at 212-319-4114 or email sales@adremsoft.com.
    http://www.adremsoft.com

    9. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    • ABOUT THE COMMENTARY — thurrott@winnetmag.com
    • ABOUT KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT — paula@winnetmag.com
    • ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — gayle@winnetmag.com
      (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)
    • TECHNICAL QUESTIONS — http://www.winnetmag.net/forums
    • PRODUCT NEWS — products@winnetmag.com
    • QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR WINDOWS & .NET MAGAZINE UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION?
      Customer Support — winnetmagupdate@winnetmag.com

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