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By kfellows ·
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Active Directory Lag Server Diary

by kfellows In reply to Enterprise Systems Engine ...

As part of my company's disaster recovery plan for Active Directory we
are implementing the concept of lag servers which are Domain
Controllers that replicate infrequently, allowing individual objects
and OUs to be restored if accidently deleted.<br />
<br />
This will be a journal of the experiences encountered from test through
to production. Hopefully it will prove useful for others.<br />

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Active Directory Lag Server Diary: The Test Setup

by kfellows In reply to Enterprise Systems Engine ...

I have had my Active Directory test environment running for several
months now and I use it regularly so I know it is working. The
environment is made up of virtual servers running Server 2003 Service
Pack 1. There are two forests and several sites which is a rough
approximation of our production AD. A test lab for a Lag Domain
Controller could consists of as little as two Domain Controllers and
two sites. Just be sure the Directory is healthy and replication and
DNS are working properly before trying to create a Lag server. If the
AD environment is not healthy it will be difficult to tell if the Lag
DC setup is faulty or if it is something else.<br />
<br />
To get a test lab for my Lag DC running I needed a new Domain
Controller and a new site. The idea is to isolate the Lag DC in its own
site and allow it to receive inbound replication from the rest of the
forest on a scheduled interval, like once a week. This allows objects
to be stored in the Lag DC's version of AD to be restored using a
process I will detail later.<br />
<br />
Once the server was running and had been promoted to a Domain
Controller, I verified the rest of the forest is replicationg with it
properly with it. Now I need to isolate the DC in its own site. To do
this I have created a site that is a subnet with a 32 bit mask matching
the IP address of the Lag DC server. I moved the server to the Lag
Site. Just to verify that everything is working properly I will leave
the site settings at their default values and monitor replication
(replmon works fine). <br />
<br />
In the next installment I will tweak the site and server replication schedule.<br />

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Number One Skill for the Systems Architect

by kfellows In reply to Enterprise Systems Engine ...

Q. What is the most important skill for a Systems Architect?<br /><br />A. Communication.<br /><br />Many people would say technical expertise in the appropriate technology, or design skills, or project management, and all are very important skills. The most important though, is the ability to communicate. Communication includes, written, verbal, body language, and just about every other form. I would argue the same holds true for any senior systems engineer.<br /><br />You, the architect, need to be able to write a detailed technical proposal or analysis. In the case of many organizations there is also a requirement to publish white papers and reports. Since these forms of writing invlove different audiences you must be able to express technical details in a non-technical manner.<br /><br />There are also requirements to meet with senior executives and other business stake holders and explain technology in terms they understand. This requires the ability to understand basic financial concepts and terms. They key for the systems architect here is to engage in an active dialog with those who consume and pay for computer systems. Failure in this area will prevent the organization from accepting new technology that might keep it compettitive.<br /><br />Finally, the architect needs to be able to speak in very technical terms with other engineers in the organization. This may prove to be a tougher audience than business executives. Your peers know their stuff and those who work in specializations will really try to slip you up so you have to be able to let them express their needs and concerns while guiding them through your technological vision.<br /><br />Implementing any new technology requires support from all areas of the organization and the systems architect has to be able to share the vision with those business units effectively. Success here will make you more successful.

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Number One Skill for the Systems Architect

by Wayne M. In reply to Number One Skill for the ...

<p><strong>Only One?</strong>  A technical architect, or any other senior position, requires a broad range of skills.  Trying to define one as "the most important" is an excercise in futility.</p>
<p>The skill set of a technical architect will include:</p>
<p>* Communications</p>
<p>* Technical Knowledge</p>
<p>* Technical Skills</p>
<p>* Business Knowledge</p>
<p>* Leadership</p>
<p>* Ability to Listen and Learn</p>
<p>A technical architect needs to be more than a salesman for his private ideas.  He needs to work with others to ensure that a successful product is implemented.</p>
<p> </p>

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Health and the IT Worker

by kfellows In reply to Enterprise Systems Engine ...

Pondering the passing recently of a co-worker I was struck by some of the physical demands put on IT staff. Many would argue that those of us in IT do not have physically demanding jobs, but I disagree. Late night systems upgrades or emergencies put large amounts of stress on us as well as mess with our body clocks. On top of that, many of us travel, which is a different sort of physical stress.<br /><br />Making matters even worse, perhaps because of these stresses, many of us become overweight, out of shape, and vulnerable to colds, flu, or worse. When we are physically unhealthy we are also mentally unhealthy, which affects our ability to perform.<br /><br />One of the biggest things we can do to break this cycle is to get more and regular sleep. I know from experience that when I am well rested I am more energized, which is also likely to mean that my immune system is stronger. In turn, I am also more likely to stick with an exercise regime. <br /><br />So I urge all of you who are working or playing on the computer into the wee hours of the morning to stop. You need a bedtime. You will actually be more productive. There is little we can do about the midnght missions but that is all the more reason to get regular sleep the rest of the time.

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