The Server in the Enterprise exam has 6 sections: Planning, Installation and
Configuration, Managing Resources, Connectivity, Monitoring and Optimisation and
Troubleshooting. Last issue we looked at the first three sections, so this months
article will focus on the last three.
The Connectivity Section
What to Revise
Migration Tool for NetWare, Resources on NetWare, Multiple Organisations on one Web
Server, Name Resolution, Installing and configuring RAS, DHCP, DNS.
1. Migration Tool for NetWare
Migration Tool for NetWare is located under Start, Programs, Administrative Tools.
It allows you to transfer user and group accounts and shared file resources across from
NetWare to NT. You must be an administrator of both the NetWare environment and the NT
domain to perform the migration. Familiarise yourself with the default settings for
migrating. The default behaviour of the tool is that if a NetWare account has the same
name as an existing NT account, the NetWare account will not be migrated. You can perform
a trial migration to test the results of a migration prior to actually running it.
Remember that you can create a mappings file to deal with any particular settings that you
want to apply to assist the accuracy of the migration.
2. Resources on NetWare
Which network components should you install in order to access resources on a
Novell NetWare server? If you wish to access file or print resources, you will need to
install either NWLink and CSNW (Client Services for NetWare) on each NT Workstation or
alternatively install NWLink and GSNW (Gateway Services for NetWare) on an NT Server that
will act as a gateway. If you wish to access application resources (such as a database),
you will only need to install NWLink on each NT Workstation.
3. Multiple Organisations on one Web Server
Internet Information Server can host multiple virtual organisations on one physical
server. The advantage of this is that you can have multiple domain names registered with
different IP addresses yet have the web sites for these multiple domains all located on
the one set of hardware. To do this, assign each domain names IP address to the NIC
(network interface card) in Control Panel, Network. Next, create a separate WWW folder for
each domain (eg ABCLtdWWW, XYXLtdWWW, etc), then assign the appropriate IP address to the
corresponding folder using IIS manager. DHCP cannot assign multiple IP addresses to a NIC,
so you will have to use static IP addresses on servers that host multiple virtual
organisations. Also, remember to configure your DNS server to resolve each of the FQDNs
(fully qualified domain names) to the corresponding IP addresses.
4. Name Resolution
The following methods exist to provide name resolution in an NT environment:
A HOSTS file is a text-based file that is stored locally on each computer. The
storage location is <system_root>\system32\drivers\etc\. The HOSTS file is used to
resolve UNIX-style hostnames to IP addresses. Each line of the HOSTS file corresponds to a
host whose name requires resolution.
An LMHOSTS file is also a text-based file that is stored locally on each computer
in <system_root>\system32\drivers\etc\. The LMHOSTS file is used to resolve LAN
Manager-style NetBIOS names to IP addresses. Each line of the LMHOSTS file corresponds to
a computer whose name requires resolution.
DNS stands for Domain Name Service and is run as a separately installed network
service on an NT Server. It is used to resolve UNIX-style host names to IP addresses
without the need to maintain HOSTS files on every host. The DNS client (or resolver)
contacts the DNS server over the network to request name resolution. Microsofts DNS
service is manual, requiring an administrator to configure and maintain on an ongoing
basis the databases of name-to-IP-address records.
WINS stands for Windows Internet Name Service and just like DNS it is run as a
separately installed network service on an NT Server. It is used to resolve LAN
Manager-style NetBIOS names to IP addresses without the need to maintain LMHOSTS files on
every computer. The WINS client contacts the WINS server over the network to request name
resolution. Microsofts WINS service is automatic once the service is started,
all computers register themselves automatically with the WINS service, alleviating the
need for an administrator to configure it.
The default names used within an NT network is NetBIOS. If you are working on the
Internet, host name resolution will be required but will usually be provided by your ISP
(Internet service provider). If you are working in a mixed UNIX/NT intranet, you will need
to provide hostname resolution using either DNS or HOSTS.
5. Installing and configuring RAS
The Remote Access Service is installed from Control Panel, Network, Services. The RAS
service requires either a PSTN modem, ISDN adapter or X.25 PAD. You can choose RAS Server
(receive calls only), RAS Client (dial out only) or both. Each user that you wish to be
able to dial in to your domain must be granted the dial-in permission from either RAS
Manager or User Manager for Domains. Callback options can be configured on a per-user
basis to automatically drop the line and call the user back on either the number that was
used to dial in or a pre-configured default number (for security). On the RAS server you
can choose to accept either any password authentication protocol including clear text,
encrypted password authentication protocols or Microsoft encryption. The latter allows you
to encrypt all data as well as just passwords. If you have multiple RAS devices (modems,
adapters and PADs), you can combine them to make use of one, aggregate connection of
higher bandwidth by enabling Multilink on each device.
The Monitoring and Optimisation Section
What to Revise:
Using Network Monitor
Multiple WINS Servers
Domain Functions over a WAN Link
Server Service Optimisation
1. The Registry
The majority of the registry is stored permanently on the hard disk in files known
as hives. These hives are located in <system_root>\system\config\. The exception to
this is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Hardware, which is built dynamically each time the computer
boots using information supplied by NTDETECT.COM. This subtree of the registry is often
referred to as the hardware tree.
2. Using Network Monitor
Network Monitor is used to capture frames across the network. It is installed as a
separate service from Control Panel, Network. Network Monitor comprises two components
tools, which we interface with to stop, start, view and analyse captures and agent,
which works with the NIC to perform the capture. You can install either tools and agent or
agent only. The Network Monitor tools can work with an agent installed on the local
machine or any other Windows NT computer. There is also an agent available for Windows
95/98. The version of Network Monitor that comes with Windows NT is limited to capturing
only broadcast frames and frames either to or from the computer where the agent is
installed. There is a full version of Network Monitor that comes with Microsoft SMS
(Systems Management Server) that will capture all frames on the network, regardless of
their origination or destination. Familiarise yourself with how to stop, start and view
captures and in particular the functionality of the filter options.
3. Multiple WINS Servers
If you have more than one WINS server on your internetwork, you need WINS
replication so that each WINS server replicates its data to other WINS servers. All WINS
servers then contain a definitive database that includes all computers NetBIOS names
and IP addresses for the entire network. Name resolution can then take place effectively.
You can configure a WINS server as either a push or a pull partner of another WINS server.
A push partner pushes (or gives) new information to its partner/s when its database
is updated. The administrator can configure the number of updates between pushes. Choose
push partners when you want to keep all WINS servers as up-to-date as possible.
A pull partner waits for a period of time before pulling (or taking) any new
information from its partner/s. The administrator can configure the length of time between
pulls. Choose pull partners when you want to more carefully control when and how often the
network is used by the WINS replication process (for example over a slow WAN link).
4. Domain Functions over a WAN Link
As a general rule, a BDC is placed on each local area network in order to provide
local logon and authentication services for users of that network, so PDCs often have to
replicate to BDCs across the slow WAN link. Certain registry settings can be configured to
optimise the service:
On the PDC
Pulse affects how often the PDC checks to see if any new data has been added to the
security database and hence if replication with BDCs needs to take place. The default is
300 seconds (five minutes).
PulseConcurrency affects how many BDCs the PDC will replicate with at one go. The default
ChangeLogSize affects how many changes the PDC can place in its cache. If the cache
becomes full, changes are overwritten, which means that the entire security database must
be replicated to all the BDCs instead of just the changes to it. The default is 64k, which
corresponds to approximately 2,000 changes.
On the BDCs
ReplicationGovernor affects both how large a buffer the BDC maintains for
replication from the PDC and how much network bandwidth is available for this process. The
default is 100, which corresponds to a 128k buffer size and 100% of bandwidth
availability. Never set below 25.
6. Performance Monitor
Know which counters in Performance Monitor are commonly used for monitoring basic
% Processor Time is used to determine how busy your processor is. A
value consistently over 80% may indicate a processing bottleneck.
Interrupts/Sec is used to determine how much time the processor spends dealing with
hardware requests. A high value may indicate hardware driver problems.
Pages/Sec is used to determine the total amount of paging to and from RAM. A high
value may indicate that more RAM is required.
Page Reads/Sec and Page Writes/Sec are used to breakdown the total paging into what is
going into RAM and what is coming out. If your system always has to page out prior to
paging in this indicates a bottleneck.
Physical or Logical Disk
The hard disk is divided into Physical Disk and Logical Disk. Use logical disk to
determine problems with specific volumes. Use physical disk to determine problems with
disk drives. The counters must be turned on before they are available, due to
the extra system overhead involved. To turn the disk counters on type DISKPERF Y
from the command prompt (or YE for RAID arrays) and restart your computer. To turn
the counters off type DISKPERF N and again restart your computer.
%Disk Time is the amount of time that the hard disk or volume is busy. A high percentage
may indicate that your hard disk is a bottleneck.
7. Server Service Optimisation
On NT Servers you can optimise the Server service. Select the properties of the Server
service from Control Panel, Network and optimise it for one of the following roles:
Minimize memory used select if less than ten connections to the server
Balance select if up to 64 connections to the server
Maximize throughput for File Sharing select if the primary task of the server is
file and print sharing
Maximize throughput for Network Applications - select if the primary task of the server is
for distributed applications that perform their own memory caching (such as SQL Server).
The Troubleshooting Section
What to Revise:
Last Known Good
Creating a Fault Tolerant Boot Disk
To re-print a document from scratch after the print device failed during printing
of the document, select restart rather than resume.
2. Last Known Good
If you install or modify a driver or service and NT will not startup correctly,
restart and press spacebar to invoke Last Known Good. NT will startup using the previous
settings instead of the current ones.
The following files must be present in the root of the system partition for NT to
NTBOOTDD.SYS (if the boot partition is managed by a scsi controller without BIOS)
4. Creating a Fault Tolerant Boot Disk
To create a floppy disk to boot NT, format a floppy disk whilst using NT, then copy
the boot files (see above) onto the disk. If you are using a mirror set to protect your
boot partition, you will need to create a second, fault tolerant boot disk. On the second
boot disk, modify the ARC path of the default selection in BOOT.INI to point to the mirror
volume instead of the original.
I wish you success with your Server in the Enterprise exam and will be returning over the
next few months to guide you through some of the more popular choices from the MCSE