What the Heck Are The Windows Server 2008 R2 Core Network Guide and Companion Guides Anyway?

Back in the Windows Server 2008 timeframe, Brit Weston, a buddy and teammate of mine on the Windows Server Documentation team, came to me with a terrific suggestion -- what if we could write a modular documentation set that Microsoft networking customers can use to set up an Active Directory domain and network, and then add services as they need them using additional guides?

Brit and I discussed this idea for a month or two, presented it to other teammates, and decided to move ahead with it when we received a lot of positive responses. The modular design, we felt, would really help people roll out complex networking technologies, such as network access solutions with secure, certificate-based authentication methods, in a much simpler and clearer way. With one guide a network administrator could set up the basic network with AD, DNS, DHCP, and other technologies, and then with companion guides they could roll out server certificates, user certificates, and both wired and wireless 802.1X implementations – whatever they needed and wanted to do, with no additional information they didn’t want getting in the way.

Administrators could even use the companion guides to add features to the network if it was a preexisting network and wasn’t set up using the foundation network guide, as long as the same technologies in the guide were already deployed.

Brit and I wound up writing and publishing the Windows Server 2008 Foundation Network Guide, and then writing additional guides we decided to call Foundation Network Companion Guides. Our teammate Dave Bishop even wrote a great companion guide on deploying Group Policy by using membership groups.

And then along came Windows Server 2008 R2! Brit and I decided to continue the trend and update our Foundation Network Guides for the R2 release. But we had some naming conflicts, so we decided to change the name of the guides for Windows Server 2008 R2 to the Core Network Guides.

The Windows Server 2008 R2 Core Network Guide shows you exactly how to set up a new Active Directory forest and domain with DNS, WINS, DHCP, and even Network Policy Server, if you need it to manage network access and authentication.

On top of that, we have two new guides that explain how to add a certification authority with Active Directory Certificate Services to your network so that you can deploy certificate-based authentication methods like PEAP-MS-CHAP v2 and EAP-TLS.

Whether you're interested in the Foundation Network Guides for Windows Server 2008 or the Core Network Guides for Windows Server 2008 R2, you can find all of the published guides at Foundation Network and Core Network Guides. We've even published all of the guides in Word doc format for download as well as on the Web for those of you who prefer to have the guides right on your local computer.

We'll be adding new guides as time goes by, so check back on the Web site for new content every once in awhile.

And if you have ideas for other guides we'd love to hear them! Please feel free to email us at wsdocs@microsoft.com.


Thanks --


James McIllece
Senior Technical Writer
The Windows Server Networking Documentation Team

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