Real-World Networking with NT 4

In 1990, Microsoft joined the systems network parade by releasing Windows NT 3.1. Their theory of trying to maintain compatibility with many of the existing network operating system leaders was a good one. Although their initial release received both good and bad reviews for its’ open-system design, it did generate an ample amount of interest from people who had used other Microsoft software products.

This same open-systems design that was first criticized as being too generic has now evolved into an effective new release called Windows NT 4. Because of that much-criticized compatibility, along with a user-friendly design, NT 4 has been able to replace many well-entrenched network operating systems. This same strategy has also enabled NT to gain a foothold in many large pre-existing LAN installations because the LAN administrators weren’t required to make expensive replacement decisions. NT 4 also though to include network compatibility with not only Microsoft’s LAN Manager network, but also Novell’s NetWare, Banyan’s Vines, OS/2, and Unix. NT also shows a distinct command of many areas, such as security, peer-to-peer networking, and a firm integration with the predominant desktop client, Windows.

This book is directed toward the reader who is not familiar with NT 4 and may or may not be familiar with networking. In each chapter, I will try to make no assumptions of prior knowledge, with each new concept being explained. Because, like any exceptional product, NT 4 will be of value to you only if you really understand how to use it.

The goal of this book is to present NT 4’s networking capabilities in an easy to read format. That is why I have broken it down into five parts. These are:

Part 1–Understanding NT Networking

This first section contains four chapters that explain the concepts behind NT 4’s networking capabilities. I think it is important at this first stage to understand just how NT 4 has integrated networking into its operating system.

The information that we will cover in this first section:

* presents an overview of NT 4’s architecture.

* expands on the protocols and technologies that will be important in later chapters.

* describes the network installation of several selected protocols, services, and server functions. Installation is accompanied by all of the information you will need to make the necessary installation decisions.

* introduces NT 4’s network security framework and explains the concepts and mechanisms needed to create a secure operating system.


Part 2–Planning and Designing Your NT Network

The next two chapters, contained in the second part of this book, describe how, as a client, you can access an NT 4 workstation or server, remotely. This description also includes the tools offered by the operating system that will allow a remote client to manage both server and workstation functions.

I will also present a detailed method of designing a network that makes the best use of NT 4’s functionality and includes overall project plans. You will then learn how to list the types of problems that are likely to be encountered during the planning and installation of that network.

Part 3–Maintaining Your Network

Part 3 contains two chapters that will help keep you on top of networking problems and allow you to solve them. I am, of course, talking about tools. I’ll tell you about the various types of tools that you will have available for NT 4. Then, we’ll cover the options, configurations, and use of these tools.

The information contained in this section:

* presents the built-in NT 4 tools that either come standard with NT or are included in the NT Resource Kit.

* show a series of common network problems and how to use the built-in tools to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair these problems


Part 4–Extending Your NT Network

Part 4 provides two chapters that will help you configure NT 4 to interface the Internet, intranet and/or be integrated into a mixed network with Unix, Novell, and Banyan.

The information presented in this section covers:

* NT 4’s interface with the global Internet. The latest Microsoft Internet software is described and previewed in this chapter.

* the installation of NT 4 on either new or existing networks that contain more than one NOS. Additional information describes NT 4’s relationships with several popular NOSs in a multi-vendor environment.


Part 5 – Reviewing Your Network’s Performance

The two chapters in part 5 deal with tools and techniques you can use to predict performance from your NT 4 servers and networks. In addition to performance predicting, we’ll also cover benchmarking and the use of performance benchmarking tools to create, test, and predict network operation under different loading conditions.

I am writing about real-world networking to try and describe to you real LAN designs, operations, maintenance, and administrative issues on NT 4 workstations and servers. I also show you many different types of problems that you might encounter. By reading this book, you will become acquainted with the tools and procedures that are necessary to correct them. This book is neither full of code samples nor does it delve deeply into the NT 4 operating system’s inner workings. Each chapter stays focused on real-world issues that confront both the client and the user. Since there is a good possibility that you will be in either one of these positions at one time or another, it can give you an excellent troubleshooting advantage to learn what to look for on either side.

I hope the information contained in this book will be useful to you. I have tried to stay with the real problems, procedures, and solutions that you are likely to face in the networking world. So, I wrote the book that I would want to have close by. Read it carefully, keep it near, and Good Luck.

Next Chapter