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Windows Networking Strategies

Free e-mail newsletter on Windows networking strategies news and resources from Network World.
Until we meet again
It was just over nine years ago that Network World began publishing e-mail newsletters, and one of the first was called “Network World Fusion Focus on Windows NT,” the predecessor of the “Windows Networking Strategies” newsletter you're reading right now. The last in its line, I’m afraid. Many of the topics I’ve covered in this newsletter, though, will continue to be discussed in my “Identity Management” newsletter (Active Directory, Identity Lifecycle Manager, Federation Services, CardSpace and more) which you can subscribe to - go ahead, sign up now, I’ll wait.
Directory Experts Conference attendees rate their Active Directory priorities
I’m not shy about telling people that the NetPro Directory Experts Conference (DEC) is THE place to be for anyone involved with Microsoft’s Active Directory and its related technologies, including CardSpace, Identity Lifecycle Manager, Active Directory Federation Services and Rights Management Services. One thing I look forward to is the results of the survey NetPro conducts among the attendees. I’ve now got this year’s results in my hands, but you can get your own copy (go to NetPro’s Web site and follow the link to the survey results) and see what your peers have to say.
Mission Control for Microsoft identity management
NetPro has just released Version 2.2 of its Mission Control product for Microsoft’s Identity Lifecycle Management service. ILM is the successor to the metadirectory system originally called Via, which Microsoft inherited through its purchase of Zoomit Technologies late in the last century. Microsoft first shipped it as Microsoft Metadirectory Services (MMS) and later rechristened it as Microsoft Identity Information Server (MIIS).
Ex-Aelita execs bounce back at Veeam
Last week, in talking about Quest Technology’s acquisition of ScriptLogic, I mentioned in passing that Quest had acquired Aelita Software three years ago. Now, I can tell you that the same folks who powered Aelita have launched an organization, in a new hot area of server management.
Sunbelt streamlines e-mail disclaimers with Ninja Disclaimers
You probably don’t examine the disclaimers at the bottom of e-mails you receive as closely as I do. They do, on occasion, give me a chuckle. Far too often, a note from a senior exec – or even a marketing, or PR contact – will end with something similar to:
Quest's buy of ScriptLogic good news for Windows users
A couple of companies that often grace this newsletter with their presence made an announcement a week or so ago, when Quest Software purchased ScriptLogic.
Microsoft and you – the dynamic duo
Earlier this month at Microsoft's TechEd conference, Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft server and tools business, introduced a new initiative called Dynamic IT.
Password management for dummies
One of the neglected security holes in a Windows network is the local administrator password for your users’ desktop machines. Many organizations synchronize these, so that the same password can be used for each. This makes it much more efficient for IT personnel to maintain and modify those machines. Of course, it also means that everybody knows the password – someone will eventually tell a user what it is, or let a user watch them type it in. In any event, it really is a “shared secret,” shared by most of the organization, and probably a few outside of it. Even periodic changing of the password only protects the systems for a short time until the secret is out once again.
Survey: IT pros admit to peeking inside confidential data files
As long as it’s just the two of us talking, you can tell me – don’t you sometimes go snooping inside the storage servers? Not to be nosy, of course. But, perhaps, to see just what those disk hogs (you know, the ones who seem to need 10 times the storage space) are squirreling away? Well, evidently, you aren’t alone.
SharePoint Server becoming the tool of choice for collaboration
It’s TechED week in Orlando, and I’ll wager than a goodly portion of you are in attendance, hopefully getting a good look at Microsoft’s new “PC as a table” (codenamed “Milan”). It certainly looks cool, and offers some interesting possibilities as a game table, a network trouble-shooting helper or a way to collaborate in real-time in the same room. It’s almost retro in that regard as most people are looking for ways to collaborate at a distance or even asynchronously.
NetPro takes Directory Experts Conference to Europe
I’d mentioned a couple of weeks ago that this year’s Directory Experts Conference was the biggest and most successful yet. Evidently that meant something to NetPro and its partners (especially Microsoft) as last week NetPro announced that – after a lapse of three years – DEC was returning to Europe. But you’ll have to plan quickly as it’s coming up in just a few short months. DEC Europe 2007 will be held Sept. 24–26, 2007, at the Sheraton Brussels Hotel in Brussels, Belgium.
Windows Server 2008 – the name is official
How does “Windows Server 2008” sound? Yeah, it sounds pretty bland to me, also. But it’s now official; Bill Gates himself declared that to be the shipping name for what we’ve been calling Longhorn for what seems like decades but, in reality, barely goes back to the last century.
Creating a Longhorn test lab shouldn’t break the bank
Okay, I’ll admit it. Sometimes I do get what some might perceive as overly enthusiastic about new technology. Not always of course (e.g., I told you not to rush to push Windows XP out onto your users’ desktops). But I have been beating the drum for Vista and, lately, I’ve been talking up Longhorn. Sometimes I might go overboard. Or, as one reader recently reminded me:
Getting going kicking those Longhorn tires
Now that you’ve had a chance to give Vista a thorough workout in your testing lab (you have, haven’t you?) it’s time to let it play with the next version of Windows Server. And, right on cue, Microsoft is making available for download the Beta 3 version of Longhorn, the next version of Windows Server.
Longhorn, Active Directory and Kermit the Frog
Last week was NetPro’s annual Directory Experts Conference (DEC), an event that anyone connected with Microsoft identity, networking and directory technologies should attend. Over the years I’ve seen the attendance grow from dozens to the over 800 folks who attended this time. Particularly noteworthy are the number of Microsoft employees who go, not to make presentations or do marketing, but to get a better understanding of their own company’s technologies.
Desktop Authority provides Vista migration
I’m a bit disappointed in you, dear reader. Last week’s issue had a sub-heading of “Deceptive marketing: An oxymoron?” and I take full blame for choosing that, but it wasn’t an “oxymoron” (“Microsoft Works” is the No. 1 choice on the exhaustive Oxymoron List). No, it really was a tautology that I meant – which the American Heritage dictionary defines as “Needless repetition of the same sense in different words; redundancy;” i.e., marketing is inherently deceptive.
What is ‘Vista Capable’?
We do live in a litigious society, don’t we? And, frequently it seems, Microsoft is the target of the legal fraternity. Recently, Gordon Murray Tilden, a Seattle law firm, sued Microsoft on behalf of Dianne Kelley (the law firm is seeking to have the suit declared a class-action). The suit alleges "Microsoft engaged in bait and switch — assuring consumers they were purchasing 'Vista Capable' machines when, in fact, they could obtain only a stripped-down operating system lacking the functionality and features that Microsoft advertised as 'Vista.'"
FullArmor aims to provide continuous policy enforcement across endpoints
My friends at FullArmor recently announced a product that takes existing security policies which have been created and enforced by Active Directory inside the network, and makes them portable, enforceable and auditable when the endpoints are outside the reach of the directory. The new Endpoint Policy Manager (EPM) makes continuous policy enforcement possible in a mobile and network-disconnected world, a world that – more and more – dominates the landscape we have to manage.
Responding to IT security incidents
According to Mary Landesman, technical editor for Microsoft Security Research and Response, “A significant evolution has occurred in the malware landscape over the past five years – a change of intent from amateur virus writers seeking attention to professional criminals seeking profit.”
Network Access Protection aims to keep your network healthy
Burton Group VP and Network World columnist Dan Blum seems to agree with me that Vista belongs on your desktops. Not immediately, he thinks, but following your normal deployment schedule of new machines. Perhaps even slowing that deployment down. He especially thinks you should wait until Vista is “playing nicely” with all of your third-party security tools.
New for you in Service Pack 2
Very quietly last week, Redmond released Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Server 2003. This should be the last major change before the next version of the server operating system (still codenamed “Longhorn”) ships, possibly by year-end but certainly before the end of the first quarter of 2008.
BMC couples Patch Manager with eEye’s vulnerability assessment tool
BMC Software is a company I’ve mentioned in this newsletter before. It has also appeared in the Identity Management newsletter – even in the old NetWare newsletter we published until late last year. But almost always BMC was listed among a group of companies involved in some niche, or standard or particular area that was the topic of that newsletter. Rarely did I talk about the company’s products, and that’s a shame.
Resources to help you plan and migrate to Vista
Some of you have corresponded with me recently, taking me to task for my seeming enthusiasm for the new Windows Vista desktop operating system. So I want to take a moment to explain my position and point you to some further reading and to some tools to help you evaluate, test and plan a rollout of the new system.
Definitive guide to Vista migration
Some readers have questioned my support for upgrading your desktops to Windows Vista. Not the upgrade itself, but the “haste” I seem to be advocating. So I’ll say again what I believe is the best path to take: commit to the upgrade, but thoroughly test the new system in a laboratory or “sandbox” environment, then gradually move one or two installations onto the production network – for trusted users – before committing to a full-scale rollout. Vista provides a more secure, more robust – and more useful – platform than the Windows XP, ME, NT or 9x that you are managing for your users.
Security Explorer centralizes file security management
I’ve mentioned ScripLogic’s Security Explorer a couple of times over the past few years but almost always as an aside, or an “also mentioned” product without ever going into what it can do to you. The company has just released Version 6, so maybe now is a good time to tell you more.

Dave Kearns is a writer and consultant in Silicon Valley. He installed Windows 1.0 twenty years ago just to play Reversi, and he’s been enjoying (and suffering) the “Windows experience” ever since. His musings can be found at Virtual Quill. Kearns provides content services to network vendors: books, manuals, white papers, lectures and seminars, marketing, technical marketing and support documents. Virtual Quill provides "words to sell by..." Find out more by e-mail. Comments about this newsletter should be sent to him.

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