Thinking Technology

Monthly Archives : April, 2011

Misc techno-babble

The term is going well, I’m not “caught up” like I want.

Grading everyday is a great theory, but one it’s hard to maintain. Grading almost everyday certainly helps me feel like I’m moving in the right direction. BUT, not as ahead of the game and I would like.

I did have to get a TA, because I can’t seem to get caught up. It’s helping some.

I picked up a new laptop at the beginning of the term. An Alienware M11x. This was the only laptop I could find that was A – in my price range, B – could run 8GB of RAM & C- support 64-bit virtualization.

I’ve got all of my classroom VMs setup on the laptop. And I’m planning on building my Cert Study environment there as well. Looking forward to it, as soon as I can get in the time to figure out what I want to implement and how.

My CIS 225 class has been fun. I hope the students are enjoying it & getting some valuable information out of it.

Directory Services and AD System Files

I realized on Saturday that I hadn’t blogged on Friday as planned. But at least I remembered! I wanted to continue with my answering of AD interview questions. So I started researching:

“Can you connect Active Directory to other 3rd-party Directory Services? Name a few options.”

And apparently not the only person out and about answering these questions.

I landed on www.answers.com & http://www.allinterview.com/showanswers/73627.html

Allinterview.com was a VERY interesting site. This site was a place for people to post various interview questions and to have people reply with answers.

Back to the question: “Can you connect Active Directory to other 3rd-party Directory Services? Name a few options.”

The short answer is yes, Active Directory uses LDAP (see previous post)

Pasted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directory_service

eDirectory: This is Novell’s implementation of directory services. It supports multiple architectures including Windows, NetWare, Linux and several flavours of Unix and has long been used for user administration, configuration management, and software management. eDirectory has evolved into a central component in a broader range of Identity management products. It was previously known as Novell Directory Services.

Red Hat Directory Server: Red Hat released a directory service, that it acquired from AOL’s Netscape Security Solutions unit,[1] as a commercial product running on top of Red Hat Enterprise Linux called Red Hat Directory Server and as part of Fedora Core called 389 Directory Server.

Open Directory: Apple’s Mac OS X Server uses a directory service named Open Directory, which implements LDAP using a customized build of OpenLDAP and integrates support for both SASL and Kerberos authentication. It uses a plugins architecture to work with other LDAPv3 directories, including proprietary solutions like Active Directory and eDirectory.

The how or why of this question was much harder to come by. I’d guess if you have a previous Directory Service implementation running and wanted to migrate to Active Directrory (or vice versa).

Where is the AD database held? What other folders are related to AD?

The files that make up Active Directory are:

  • NTDS.dit – this is the database file that contains the AD Data
  • Edb.chk – Called the checkpoint file, this file tracks what transactions from the log file have been recorded/committed to the database.
  • tmp.edb – temporary data file, temp space for processing transactions
  • edb.log – primary log file, contains all transactions that haven’t been comitted to the NTDS.dit
  • Edb00001.log & Edb00002.log – secondary log files.

The default location of the files: %SystemRoot%\NTDS folder

Source:

Windows Server 2008 Inside Out [Paperback]
Paperback: 1520 pages
Publisher: Microsoft Press (April 6, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780735624382
ISBN-13: 978-0735624382
ASIN: 0735624380
Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.5 x 2.6 inches

What is a protocol? & What is LDAP?

Continuing with answering the Active Directory/Networking Interview Questions. (going to try and crank these out every Friday – lofty goal for sure)

What is a protocol? (not on the question list, but somewhat necessary to answer the actual question)

A protocol is a set of rules used to facilitate communication. For networking protocols, these rules might include what information is to be provided in the header, how information is to transmitted, is there error checking between the sender and receiver, will missed information be retransmitted.

What is LDAP?

LDAP Stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
This is an industry standard for communicating with directory services
LDAP is the primary protocol used by Active Directory
The latest Version is Version 3

A typical exchange would be between a client requesting information (authentication, for example) and the server supplying the appropriate response.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LDAP

Active Directory Administrator’s Pocket Consultant [Paperback]

* Paperback: 352 pages
* Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (January 21, 2009)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 0735626480
* ISBN-13: 978-0735626485

Active Directory: Designing, Deploying, and Running Active Directory, Fourth Edition [Paperback]

* Paperback: 864 pages
* Publisher: O’Reilly Media; Fourth Edition edition (November 26, 2008)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 9780596520595
* ISBN-13: 978-0596520595

All Kinds of Technical

So lets get technical in this update.

 The first is this presentation on virtualization, cloning virtual disks  and Active Directory: http://www.msteched.com/2010/Europe/SIA320

 This is a highly technical presentation, the speaker gives that warning before he begins. However the information is very good and it relates well to what I’m doing in my classes. It also helps to explain some of the issues I had in previous classes with students duplicating Virtual Disks. With the problems I had in the past, I moved away from recommending duplicating virtual disks and caution against it. Now I have more information that allows me to speak to the process and the pitfalls. It never hurts to pick up new info on AD as well. 

 So I’ve got a massive issue to address and I’ve yet to come up with a GOOD solution.

The problem: Transitioning the networking classes to Server 2008 R2.

 Normally transitioning to a new operating system is monumental task. It’s generally challenging to coordinate, finding a new book, updating course materials, etc. However, R2 is different. This is the first operation system that has a definitive hardware requirement. R2 will only run on 64-bit hardware.

 Most systems (Desktop or Laptop) purchased in the last year or so will be running  64-bit hardware.  Which should make me feel better about the migration, however!?! The next major roadblock to a transition to R2: the virtualization requirement for the class. Just because a machine is running 64-bit hardware doesn’t mean it support 64-bit virtualization. In some systems there is a BIOS change that must be made in order to support 64-bit virtual machines.

 When I went looking for a new laptop, I had to do a decent amount of research to verify that my machine would run 64-bit VMs. And of course when I got the laptop the first thing I did…. Build 64-bit VMs.

 So any student that purchased a 64-bit machine in the past year, still might not be able to complete the class. Most students that are taking the class distance are taking it that way for a reason.

 I have NO idea how I’m gonna address this issue. What ever solution I consider it has to accommodate 30 or so students.

 Here’s a link talking about 64-bit hardware & VMWare:  http://www.petri.co.il/virtual_run_a_64_bit_guest_operating_system_in_vmware.htm

  In Winter 2011 term a student posted the following link for a discussion question:

 Technical Interview Questions – Windows Server 2008/R2 Active Directory – http://www.petri.co.il/mcse_system_administrator_active_directory_interview_questions.htm

 What an awesome list, so I decided that one thing I could for this blog is actually answer some of this questions. So lets start with the very first question:
What is Active Directory (AD)?  “An Extensible directory service that enables centralized management of network resources”

  • Extensible – expandable/editable
  • Directory Service – a database that stores all the information needed to managed resources
  • Network resource – users, computers, groups, services, (file sharing, etc)

 I’ll be using a variety of sources to answers these question:

Active Directory Administrator’s Pocket Consultant [Paperback]

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (January 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735626480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735626485

 Active Directory Cookbook, 3rd Edition [Paperback]

  • Paperback: 1088 pages
  • Publisher: O’Reilly Media; Third Edition edition (December 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596521103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596521103

 Active Directory: Designing, Deploying, and Running Active Directory, Fourth Edition [Paperback]

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: O’Reilly Media; Fourth Edition edition (November 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780596520595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596520595