Taming the NT beast

In the movie Shine, David Helfgott's music professor tells him that Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 is a monster, a pterodactyl. In some ways, the Windows NT operating system is also a beast (though not a dinosaur).

Hidden away under an attractive GUI, NT is a complex set of interconnected systems attempting to function as a symphony. Windows NT Server 4 Unleashed helps you tame the general complexities of NT 4.0. If you enjoy networking and NT, you'll find this book enjoyable and educational reading.

The Nature of the Beast
Getting a handle on NT requires knowledge in four general areas. These areas are NT architecture; planning, installation and configuration; administration and management; and troubleshooting. In addition to covering these four basic areas, Windows NT Server 4 Unleashed focuses on the particular strengths and formidable tasks of administering an NT 4.0 server-based network. The book also shows you how to manage single and multiple domains, provides tips about improving system security and data integrity, and gives you ways to optimize network performance. The book details how to successfully integrate NT with other network operating systems such as NetWare, LAN Manager, and UNIX.

Five Parts
The book contains five parts. Part One details NT Server fundamentals. Many users mistakenly jump into an NT installation without knowing NT's key concepts and components. You must know these fundamentals to make your system succeed over the long-term.

For example, the book states the importance of the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). Microsoft Technical Support has stated numerous times that many problems occur when people install hardware that is not on the HCL. If people understood the consequences of using noncompatible hardware, the support issue would never come up.

Part Two covers the aspects of a complete NT Server installation and configuration, including file system selection, disk partitions and volumes, networking and protocols, Remote Access Service (RAS), principles of browsing, and working with clients (MS-DOS, Windows, UNIX, Macintosh).

Part Two takes you to the halfway point of the book. At this point, you should be able to perform a complete installation of an NT server and its peripheral software components.

Part Three covers network management and administration, including important concepts such as user, group, and remote administration. The Registry, security, and RAS are also covered. This section is crucial to establishing a working and effective production network.

Part Four of the book details crucial, but often neglected, topics such as security and auditing. Many network administrators are so overwhelmed just putting out fires that they do not have the time or resources to ensure that network security is adequate.

Part Five concludes the book with information about NT as an applications server for Microsoft BackOffice and other Microsoft products. In addition, this section details how to use NT as an Internet and database server. If your environment includes SQL or Oracle, read this section in detail.

NT also operates particularly well as an Internet server. You can easily place all your Web, FTP, Newsgroup, and Telnet service onto a NT server. NT operates gracefully as a complete Internet gateway.

Tools
The book also includes a CD-ROM with an assortment of NT-specific third-party tools. Applications on the CD-ROM include Web servers, disk and network utilities, excellent security utilities from SomarSoft, HTML tools and the source code, and examples from the book. Some of the applications are out of date, but you can easily update those from the vendors' Web sites.

NT Tamed
NT is a wild beast. But taming that beast is not so difficult as long as you have direction and control. Windows NT Server 4 Unleashed lets you tame the beast and take control of your NT network. If you want to master NT or are responsible for NT systems, consider this book required reading.

Windows NT Server 4 Unleashed
Author: Jason Garms
Publisher: SAMS Publishing
ISBN: 0-672-30933-5
Price: $59.99