Sebastopol, CA--Administering Microsoft's server-oriented Windows operating systems can sometimes seem like living on the edge of an alluvial plane next to a river that's prone to flooding. You ford the effluvia after each new flood, picking through the detritus for what's worth keeping, and leaving the useless bits lying in the muck. Then, when you have everything shipshape again, the next new release--or rather, flood--comes along. Such are the lives of system administrators who find themselves grappling with new concepts, from domains, directory services, and virtual private networks to client quarantining, disk quota, and universal groups. Just when they've mastered one set of changes, another comes along and suddenly they're scrambling once again to get up to speed.
One source of help for the beleaguered system administrator has always been the technical book market and its communities of authors, publishers, and user groups. The major releases of popular operating systems have always been accompanied by books written to support them. But Jonathan Hassell, author of Learning Windows Server 2003 (Second Edition, O'Reilly, US $44.99), reflects on an interesting phenomenon: "Over the years, many of these books have become complicated and have accumulated as much detritus as the operating systems they explain," he says. "You now see on the shelves of your local bookstores 12,000-plus-page monstrosities that you might find useful, but only if you enjoy dealing with thirty pounds of paper in your lap, and only if you find it productive to wade through references of 'how things worked' in Windows NT four versions ago." Hassell asks, "Do you need all of that obsolete information to do your job effectively?"
Hassell's vision for the new edition of his book was "a clean, pared down reference to just Windows Server 2003 and not a lot of dialogue telling me how it 'once was.'" Hassell believes he's succeeded in writing such a book.
"With the latest revision of Windows Server 2003, termed 'R2,' there are some new features that aren't covered anywhere else," says Hassell. In addition to covering R2-specific features, Hassell has tightened coverage of other facets of the product even more, responding to reader feedback. "And we've had a new panel of Microsoft experts reviewing the product and providing their opinions, so the book is at its best," he adds.
"IT environments are still very tight on costs, and administrators are always searching for ways to get more done with fewer resources," says Hassell. "In this book I show administrators how to use Windows Server 2003 R2 to manage more servers, more users, and more resources on their network with less staff, less legwork, and less effort. The book shows the efficiencies of R2 in scenarios like branch-office connectivity and remote access for mobile users."
More than twenty-five percent of the book has been rewritten and updated for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003 R2. Two full chapters give special attention to the challenges of deploying DNS and Active Directory in a network. Showing a preference for practical advice over theory and history, the book is packed with the information sys admins need to get their jobs done. Coverage includes:
Learning Windows Server 2003 is a tutorial designed to teach system administrators what they need to know, minus the fluff.
Learning Windows Server 2003, Second Edition
ISBN: 0-596-10123-6, 723 pages, $44.99 US
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