Guest post by Ernst Rijk, Microsoft Certified Trainer, MCSE Data Platform
This post is a start of a series on creating a lab-environment to prepare for your SQL Server 2012 certification. In this part I’ll cover setting up a single server to prepare for the Querying SQL Server 2012 exam, 70-461. In following posts I will get in to setting up a set of (virtual) servers to be able to demo, test or train yourself more on SQL Server 2012.
To prepare for the Querying SQL Server 2012 exam, you will need to get hands-on experience with T-SQL. One of the first things you can do is go to the Microsoft SQL Server Learning Center, where you will find a number of virtual labs. The most import virtual lab for the exam is ‘Exploring new T-SQL features in SQL Server 2012’. All you need to run the virtual labs is Internet Explorer and a small application download. Click here for the virtual labs.
If you want to get more hands-on experience you will probably want your own SQL Server environment. Basically there are three options to create that environment:
Commonly the Adventure Works Database is used in examples and SQL Server courses. The Adventure Works-database is available for download here. Choose the correct download depending on the environment you are creating.
If you first want to practice the setup procedure for SQL Server 2012, you can walk through one of the ‘Installing SQL Server 2012’ virtual labs.
Windows Azure enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage SQL Server databases across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. Microsoft offers a fully free 90 day trial: all you need is a Microsoft Account (Hotmail / Live) and your credit-card details (just to validate your identity).
A Windows SQL Azure Database does not provide the full functionality of a local setup but it will enable you to practice pretty much everything you need for the exam. Keep in mind: questions on Windows Azure may be part of the actual exam!
Click here for the step-by-step ‘Getting started with Windows Azure SQL Database’-guide.
Basic steps to get started:
If you have a workstation (or laptop / server) that meets the hardware and software requirements, you can install SQL Server 2012.
If you already have a Hyper-V environment you can skip this part.
Hyper-V is Microsoft’s virtualization solution. You’ve got two options to use Hyper-V: either on your own hardware, creating your own private cloud or using Windows Azure to host your virtual machines.
For an overview of running Hyper-V on your own hardware go through the Hyper-V Overview. If you want to know more about the Windows Azure offer, including the 90 days free trial, go to the Windows Azure website.
Basic steps to get started on your own Hyper-V environment:
Basic steps to get started on Windows Azure:
The fastest way – if you only want to practice TSQL – is using the Windows Azure SQL Server 2012 Virtual Machine, because the virtual machine is completely installed within 30 minutes and there are no additional setup actions required. Just connect using a Remote Desktop Connection and you are good to go.
If this is the right choice for you depends on the hardware you have available and your experience with setting up SQL Server and VM’s.
Next, I will post on a step-by-step guide on setting up a Hyper-V-based Windows 2012 Virtual machine with SQL Server 2012 installed on it.
Let me know if you find this guide helpful, or if you have additional tips to share with everyone on Born to Learn. Feel free to leave your questions or comments below!
how to use the virtual lab . i have downloaded the file. but some error were displying.
Questions on Windows Azure may be part of the actual exam? Azure isn't mentioned in the overview of 461 at microsoft.com/certification.
Dancar: it seems that the Azure on the current context is just another option to install the lab along with the local SQL Server or on a Hyper-V.