Author: Multiple Authors
Website to Order: Microsoft Press Shop
Okay, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a review on any books, there is a good reason for that. The last set I ordered to review was a set of 6 books, and believe you me, it takes awhile to read through that many tech books. But was it worth…. oh hell yeah. The amount of knowledge contained in any one of these books is astounding, having them all together in the one package.. wow.
Ok, so briefly what do you get when this bad boy of knowledge turns up, an excellent selection of 6 books :
- Powershell scripting Guide
- Active Directory
- Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0
- Administration – Productivity Solutions for IT professionals
- Network and Networking Access Protection (NAP)
A companion CD that contains a copy of all the books, additional books :
- Understanding IPv6
- TCP/IP Protocols and Services
- Chapters from 8 other books (No I am not listing all of those books as well :) )
- A ton of scripts to help you administrate
- Tools to assist with training
- A page of hot links – to help locate information from the Microsoft site
So as you can see, this set is a treasure trove of knowledge, time to look at the books.
Powershell scripting Guide
The book has the ability to teach and show you the power that is behind the powershell. It’s more than just a simple command line interface. Powershell has the ability to automate tasks, allow for setup and deployment of windows machines and basically make the administrators life a lot more easy. The book is split into four conceptual areas, these are understanding powershell, powershell and vista, powershell and windows 2008 and managing apps with powershell. The book is designed to allow you to bounce between sections so if you are after a certain aspect of knowledge retaining to scripts its possible to check that area without having to have read the information prior.
An interesting thing about powershell is that it is not installed by default, as such there is a small section detailing how to download and get powershell running. The more you look into the book, there are dozens, if not hundreds of cmdlets being shown through out the book, which gives information in regards to joining domains, configuring printers, hard drive management, shares, services, logs, network. This book pretty much is worth it just for the information that is shown.
This particular book is a critical for anyone who is thinking of or is running a windows 2008 active directory system. As most will know Active directory came in around the time of Windows 2000, and it was a major leap over the NT systems that existed before. 2008 Active Directory is core to network these days, and the information shown in the book shows where active directory has grown and expanded upon it’s predecessors. The book is broken into multiple sections with the main intro being the ‘what has changed’ changed section. The book then leads into components, DNS, service replication. These introduction chapters are then proceeded by three chapters about design and implementation, a critical knowledge repository no matter how you look at it.
Part three of the book leads into Administrating active director, six chapters of intense knowledge, with the last three focusing on group policy. Which if any of you went to Tech Ed 2009 (Gold Coast version), there is some amazingly cool features that have been added and implemented for GPO. Part four branches into the methodology of maintaining a stable and well backed up active directory structure, so disaster recovery is covered in the section here. The final section of the book, four chapters, deals with Identity and Management areas. Items such as Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services, a new service with windows 2008 is discussed, Other aspects such as federation services, rights management and certificate servers are discussed with reference to planning and deployment.
Ah yes, security, the fiend of many an IT administrators nightmares. An ever evolving field where what was right today is wrong tomorrow as something new has been found out, programmed and basically changes the paradigm of what we knew. This book is good. You can’t deny that when new networks are put in things aren’t always as secure as they should be, thankfully this particular book broaches on all aspects of securing your network to ensure that you have the ability to leave the job and night and know that you‘ve done the best you can.
The book has 16 chapters split into 3 sub sections, like a majority of the resource kits, each subsection feeds into the knowledge contained further through the book. Part one consists of 8 chapters dealing with windows security fundamentals, such as firewalls, group policy, services, auditing and the easy read; what it is you are protecting and why. Part 2 has a couple of chapters dealing with identity and access control within active directory, these particular chapters show you the smart way of enhancing the security of the network. The final 6 chapters found in part three relate to common security situations, these are simple and often assumed aspects of security, but need to be examined in more depth; this is patching, securing the server roles, securing server apps. Securing the branch office is a chapter that really deals with how the remote office should be looked at.
Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0
You know it, I know it. The world we live in exists due to the existence of web servers, and thankfully, IIS 7 has been the big bad rebuilt from the ground up to be faster, less resource hungry and easier to manage. The modular aspect of the new design makes IIS 7 a far more impressive web server than before. 3rd party tools like PHP & MySQL can now be linked into this powerful web server in addition to ASP.NET and MSSQL. The power of both the free and corporate worlds.
So the book, four parts; foundation, deployment, administration, troubleshooting and performance. Foundation as you would expect, covers the very basic rewritten web server that is IIS 7. It covers the new architecture , how the modular system now works, the configuration system and of course, what’s new from the previous version of IIS. Deployment is probably the shortest section of the book, but it is quite an interesting read especially the command line pkgmgr.exe that allows you to install IIS from the command line. It also covers the removal of IIS from your system, which is useful in sandbox environments. Administration is the big one, with the new modularity of IIS 7 comes new challenges and new ways to do old things, and the 8 chapters on this topic is quite useful. The final part of the book, troubleshooting and performance has 3 chapters ranging from logging to tracing and performance tweaks. All in all quite useful.
Administration – Productivity Solutions for IT Professionals
Well this book is a lot different than the other books, its not so much a here is the new technology and here is what it can do type book, it’s a collection of scenarios with real world solutions. Think of it as a portable IT Consultant, without the pay per hour expense which I’m sure most administrators would like. This book is a here is your situation and this is the technology and the method in which you could deploy it to achieve your goals. This different methodology of showing you is quite a good concept and I enjoyed it as you can always relate scenarios back to your own personal real world counter parts.
As such this book is pretty awesome, when you combine your own knowledge with what’s on offer, the best scenario is an improvement of your current skill set or at the very worst, a confirmation that you have a current high standard in how you go about promoting and deploying a Microsoft solution. The methods shown point out possible pain aspects of a deployment and then solutions to these pain sections and ways to avoid them in the first place. An aspect that I found very very cool within this book was that it didn’t just relate to the latest and great technology that is out there, it relates all the way down to 2003 migration and dealing with XP clients. So all in all, it’s definitely worth the read.
Network and Networking Access Protection (NAP)
Let’s talk networking, and this is definitely the book that explains it for you, covering IPv4, IPv6, DHCP, scalability, firewall, security, QoS and that’s just part one of the four parts on offer. Part one effectively covers the packet flow infrastructure, which now that I think about would have been a great resource when I was studying for my CCNA. Anyways, the information in the first part is awesome and would be extremely useful for any uni student learning networking. Part two covers DNS and WINS. DNS is essential for any internet and networking so when I saw that WINS was included, I was curious; but as expected, the WINS is only need for NT or 95 and earlier operating systems, so in today’s world of XP/Vista/7 machines and 2000/2003/2008 servers… skip this part of the book :)
The third part of the book covers Network Access Infrastructure, this is a great set of five chapters covering in detail Authentication, wireless, wired and VPN technology. Remote access and site to site VPNs are good reads, with in-depth information regarding planning and deploying these solutions. The fourth part consists of six chapters covering Network Access Protection. After the introduction to what network access protection is, the there are chapters relating to VPN and DHCP enforcement of security and protection. Setting up and deployment of 802.1x networks was a great insight to the power of ACLs and VLANs.
So there you have it, a brief overview of probably one of the most detailed and impressive resources to cover the Windows 2008 technology. Security, deployment, planning, solutions for real world scenarios. It’s all there. With of course additional books of knowledge on the companion disc. All in all, this is an impressive set of books to have.
till next time.