Windows 2003 architecture is highly complex. Key to understanding the technology is having a good grounding in general computer science and network engineering, but you must be willing to specialize. You are going to need expertise on your team, and the members of the team should be prepared to show proficiency in several IT areas.

Team members need a complete understanding of and experience in all the following: network protocols and services; server hardware platforms; storage; Windows 2000 and Windows NT server administration and deployment experience; Windows 2000, Windows NT, and Windows 9x workstation experience; Internet practices; and much more.

After you establish the timelines and pick a team of experts, you need to spend no less than two months — and possibly four — learning everything about the technology and the architecture, plus Active Directory (which adds six to eight weeks in addition to everything else). Trust us. We work with engineers all day long, and they are very good at what they do, but on some Windows 2003 subjects, such as Active Directory, they still can only scratch their heads.

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