Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft Virtual Academy is a website for Developers and IT Pros offering free Microsoft training delivere d by experts. Follow us on Twitter @MSVirtAcademy

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 offers exciting new features and enhancements across virtualization, storage, networking, virtual desktop infrastructure, access and information protection, and more. Find out how new and enhanced features allow you to take advantage of even better performance and more efficient capacity utilization in your datacenter by downloading the full-featured free, 180-day trial software at the TechNet Evaluation Center.   

    RThe software trial is free, easy to install, and this full-featured download is your way to test out new enhancements in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview including:

    • virtualization features, efficient networking management, new storage capabilities.
    • how to give workers access to data and information across varied networks and devices while keeping costs down.

    RGet expert guidance and technical information on these features and more: view our top-rated MVA Jumpstart videos for Windows Server 2012 R2.

    RFree, hands-on virtual labs are designed to point out the location of new features, discuss and describe them, and enable you to understand and explain these features to customers. Explore new Window Server 2012 R2 capabilities for Server Infrastructure and Fabric Administrators. Please note: this lab is designed for Windows 7 and newer. 

    Useful Resources and information to get started with your free, full-featured Windows Server 2012 R2 Evaluation:

  • Dear MVA learners! On the heels of hitting over 1,000,000 learners who visited just last month, today we unveiled a totally new way for you to experience your MVA learning!

    Over the past year many of you told us:

    "Your course player was hard to use!"

    "Clumsy, cumbersome!"

    "I didn't know where to start when I landed on a course."

    "Juggling different pages and video players was confusing!"

    This new player experience, using HTML5, is designed to help make it easier to get you to the courses you are interested in and allow you to discover and navigate all within a single page. 

    Hopefully these new changes provide you a clearer and cleaner way to learn, engage and achieve your personal learning goals.

    Just like successful technologists never stop learning, and great technology never stops evolving, we in the MVA team will continue to learn from you, evolve, and strive to create the best place for you to learn online.

    This is the first step of many refinements to this new MVA experience we will iterate on over the next few months. So there is more to come next month!

    Keep the feedback coming; thanks for helping to make us better!


  • You know that time is running out, and end of support for Windows Server 2003 is just a few months away. And, although you know that it’s time to modernize your data center and upgrade your existing infrastructure to Windows Server 2012 R2, breaking up is hard to do. Difficult conversations and unknown risks are intimidating, and considering your new options isn’t always easy.

    We can help! Check out this list of resources to help you get started on upgrading your infrastructure before the end of support in July 2015.

    Getting Started: Plan Your Migration

    1. Windows Server 2003 End of Support Migration Overview

    Watch this MVA course (53 minutes) to learn the details about Windows Server 2003 end of extended support, along with the options, best practices, and tools for migration. After an overview of the process options, learn about considerations when moving apps versus machines, methodology around the process, and how to migrate with AppZero. The course also covers app compatibility statements, vendor supportability, and AppZero usage requirements.

    2. Migration Planning Assistant

    This tool allows you to outline your entire infrastructure and then get a tailored look at what you need to migrate and how to leverage the cloud to make your network stronger than ever. In a four-step process, the assistant helps you to analyze your Windows Server 2003 workloads and to generate a summary report showing recommendations and relevant Microsoft Partner offerings.

    3. Windows Server 2003 End of Life (EOL) Migration: Planning for Your Workloads

    Migrations can be complicated. But, unlike in the days of old, today there are numerous options for your destination. In this Channel 9 video (1 hour, 8 minutes) recorded at TechEd North America 2014, get an organized and systematic view of migration strategies and possible destinations. Learn about the tools and available offers, plus a decision tree methodology that provides you with the ability to easily target at-risk workloads and applications. Identify a clear migration path to help you beat the EOL clock!

    4. TechNet Evaluation Center Tech Journey

    Explore a personalized learning path to see how modernizing your data center allows you to meet today’s business challenges and can enable you to increase resilience and flexibility, simplify management, reduce cost, and speed the delivery of services to the business. Start the Tech Journey, “Modernize Your Datacenter Infrastructure,” and learn how to migrate to Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure. Test drive the software through free evaluations and virtual hands-on labs.

    Migrating Your Infrastructure

    5. Migrating to Windows Server 2012 Training

    Windows Server 2012 is the most significant release of Windows Server to date, providing many options for upgrading and migrating that you can use to help ensure seamless transition to this new server platform from Windows Server 2003. This MVA course exposes you to migration tools and shows you how Windows Server 2012 can ease your transition, not merely in upgrading earlier versions of Windows Server, but also in helping to ensure that your key services can be migrated in an efficient, cost-effective, and safe manner.

    6. It’s the End of the World As You Know It… Windows Server 2003 End of Life: Infrastructure Migration

    In this Channel 9 video (1 hour, 17 minutes), dig into the process of migrating your infrastructure to the latest operating system. This demo-intensive session covers how to migrate various workloads and foundation services, like DHCP, DNS, File/Print, and more. And migration is just the beginning! The session also covers ongoing management. Like the song says, “It’s the end of the world as we know it,” but you’ll be fine.

    Exploring the Microsoft Cloud OS

    7. Windows Server Courses on MVA 

    This MVA Windows Server training consists of several courses and is designed to help you gain the skills needed to use Windows Server technology to power the next generation of cloud-optimized networks, applications, and web services. The courses cover virtualization features, efficient networking management, and new storage capabilities which can help organizations give workers access to data and information across varied networks and devices, while keeping costs down.

    8. Microsoft Azure Courses on MVA

    These MVA Microsoft Azure courses cover key technical topics, including Windows Azure Virtual Machines, Virtual Networks, and platform as a service (PaaS) implementation for IT Pros, including using PowerShell for automation and management, using Active Directory, and migrating from on-premises to cloud infrastructure, in addition to important licensing information.

    9. Transform the Data Center Immersion V3

    Would you like to learn how the Microsoft Cloud OS vision can positively benefit the way your entire organization functions? Watch this MVA course, and investigate how the key tenets of Transforming the Modern Data Center can provide many benefits to enterprise IT today. The course walks you through the key steps and technologies for planning, deploying, and managing this type of environment.

    10. Server Infrastructure on MVA

    Watch these MVA server infrastructure courses to learn about the technologies and capabilities needed to run a highly efficient and modern data center, and see how it incorporates identity management, systems management, virtualization, storage, and networking.


  • Simpler management and lower cost, plus greater resilience and flexibility—you know about the advantages of extending your data center to the cloud. With end of support for Windows Server 2003 less than a year away, many organizations are modernizing their infrastructures to harness these advantages. But how do you plan, build, deploy, and operate a hybrid cloud? The following resources offer answers and best practices to help you extend your data center with a mix of on-premises and cloud infrastructure.

     Getting Started: Planning a Hybrid Cloud

    • Hybrid Cloud Series - Episode One
      Join Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich and Microsoft Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson for the first webcast (1 hour) of their Hybrid Cloud series. They cover the basics, including the Microsoft definition of hybrid cloud, its key benefits, and how hybrid cloud solutions will evolve with broader trends in the IT industry.

    • Hybrid Cloud Series – Episode Two

      In this second webcast (1 hour, 15 minutes), Mark Russinovich and Brad Anderson discuss how hybrid options are changing the way customers approach infrastructure. New capabilities mean new opportunities, and the experts look at concrete examples of how you can make hybrid a part of your toolkit.

    • How to Develop a Successful Hybrid Cloud Strategy

      Hear lessons learned from hundreds of IT professionals in top enterprise IT organizations in the world, who are either planning to build or are deploying a private, public, or hybrid cloud, in this 70-minute session. Explore common requirements, roles, and processes needed to have a successful, comprehensive hybrid cloud strategy. Hear about the problems and roadblocks that an IT organization faces on its journey to provide an efficient, automated, and elastic set of business-relevant services. Finally, take a conceptual look at the strategy of using the Microsoft offerings of Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft System Center 2012 R2, and Microsoft Azure to build a private and/or hybrid cloud.

    • The Microsoft Hybrid Cloud: Best Practices Guidance

      Take this MVA course (5 modules) for IT Pros who want to learn best practices for planning, building, deploying, and operating a Microsoft hybrid cloud.


    Moving Workloads to the Cloud

    • Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud: Step by Step

      Tune in for this 32-part series to learn how to modernize your infrastructure and extend it to a hybrid cloud. The series can help your organization walk through the planning process to not just migrate servers but also to improve overall architecture along the way by smartly leveraging hybrid cloud components as part of the migration strategy.

    • Hybrid Cloud Workloads: Websites

      Watch this MVA course (6 modules) to learn how your businesses and applications will move to the cloud in their own unique way, at their own unique speed. Watch as the experts describe and demonstrate website deployment using a combination of Microsoft Azure and the Azure Pack for Windows Server. Learn how to create a website in Azure and how to monitor it with Azure and System Center 2012.

    • Hybrid Cloud Workloads: Storage and Backup

      This MVA course (6 modules) introduces you to strategies and features of both on-premises and cloud solutions in the area of storage from Microsoft. Plus, it offers some hands-on experiences. 

    • Hybrid Cloud Workloads: Disaster Recovery and High Availability

      Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager protects applications by coordinating the replication of virtual machines (VMs) at a secondary location. In this MVA course (5 modules), see how Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager brings together Hyper-V Replica asynchronous virtual machine replication capabilities in Windows Server and the Virtual Machine Manager component of System Center, and how it combines them with the power of Microsoft Azure to provide site-to-site protection of your virtual machines and private clouds. This includes remote health monitoring and orchestrated recovery.

    • Hybrid Cloud Workloads SQL

      Watch this MVA course (6 modules) to learn how Microsoft Hybrid Cloud Strategy provides support for traditional, private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud environments. When your business requires a flexible IT infrastructure that can scale on demand, you can build a private cloud in your data center or a public cloud in Microsoft Azure global data centers. When you extend your data center to meet the public cloud, you build a hybrid cloud model. This course examines how to deploy and manage SQL databases in a hybrid cloud environment.


    Digging Deeper

    • TechNet Evaluation Center: Tech Journey

      Explore a personalized learning path to see how to plan, build, deploy, and operate a hybrid cloud. Start the Tech Journey, “Extend Your Datacenter to the Cloud,” and learn how to lead the move to a hybrid infrastructure in your organization. Test drive the software through free evaluations and virtual hands-on labs.

  • We’re excited to announce two upcoming Jump Starts courses for SQL Server professionals. The first is Administering SQL Server 2012 Jump Start on October 16 followed by Implementing a Data Warehouse with SQL Server Jump Start on October 18. Both courses will be delivered by SQL Server instructors Richard Currey and George Squillace, who will pack both days with demos of real world scenarios.

    Administering SQL Server 2012 Jump Start

    This one-day live event focuses on security, data management, and disaster recovery/high availability and its implications for the configuration of the enterprise. The demos will show what you want to know about storage design and capacity configuration, security configuration, optimization of the instance, and automation.

    This Jump Start prepares you for the Implementing a Data Warehouse with SQL Server Jump Start on October 18, and if you are pursuing a MCSA: SQL Server certification, it will help you prepare for Exam 70-462

    Date: October 16, 2013
    Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now

    Implementing a Data Warehouse with SQL Server Jump Start

    Take this Jump Start to expand your understanding of SQL Server 2012 data warehousing concepts and implementation. This one-day live event focuses on the design of Dimensions to support BI in the organization, the implementation of Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) processes, and the implementation of enterprise-level master data and data quality. If you’re interested in the MCSA certification, this Jump Start will help you prepare for Exam 70-463

    Date: October 18, 2013
    Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now


    The MVA team continues to provide IT professionals with the latest training on Windows Server 2012 R2 and has released two new courses:


    Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials:

    Learn from Microsoft Product Marketing Manager David Fabritius​ as he takes you through Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and the new Windows Server Essentials Experience role available on the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2012 R2.


    Software Defined Networking with Windows Server and System Center:

    Join Microsoft engineers on March 19 to learn how to configure, manage, and run software-defined networking in large organizations using Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2. Discover best practices and deep technical guidance aimed at architects, networking engineers, virtualization specialists, IT generalists, and data center managers. Register now!


    View all of the latest courses on Windows Server 2012 on the MVA Windows Server Topic Page and download the Windows Server 2012 R2 evaluation or use our free Windows Server 2012 R2 Virtual Labs to test the product online without installation.


  • Today, we are thrilled to announce our 2,000,000th member of the MVA community! Alejandro Castaño of Colombia made his commitment to learning last week, and we are very excited to welcome him to our global community. Alejandro shared with us why he joined MVA and we wanted to share it with you: “I signed up for MVA basically to learn everything about game development on Microsoft platforms. I just want to say to all the people out there don't hesitate when you have an opportunity to learn, just go for it.”

    On behalf of the entire MVA team, I want to welcome Alejandro, and we will also reward all of the students from his country, Colombia, with bonus MVA points. Keep learning along with him!  To show our thanks and support, Alejandro will also receive an Xbox One for helping us reach this incredible milestone. We are looking forward to continue to watch our community grow and hit the next one! Help us celebrate by sharing with us why you love MVA in the comments below and any advice you might have for Alejandro!


    Hybrid cloud solutions help you easily extend on-premises networks to embrace the power and scale of the cloud. These solutions can help solve pressing IT issues, and they can be implemented today with Microsoft Azure, System Center 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2012 R2. Try these new virtual labs and guided experiences to get hands-on with hybrid cloud solutions you can implement right away.


    Virtual Labs

    System Center 2012 R2: Quick Product Overview

    System Center 2012 R2: Lab 1 & 2 – Infrastructure Provisioning & Management with Virtual Machine Manager

    System Center 2012 R2: Lab 3 – Infrastructure Monitoring with Operations Manager, Data Protection Manager & Configuration Manager

    System Center 2012 R2: Lab 4 - Automation & Self-Service with Orchestrator & Service Manager

    System Center 2012 R2: Lab 5 - IT Service Management with Service Manager

    System Center 2012 R2: Lab 6 - Application Management with App Controller, Operations Manager & Advisor

    Multi Server Management in Windows Server 2012 R2

    Windows Server 2012 R2: Introduction to Failover Clustering


    Guided Experiences

    Demo 1.1 Getting Started with the Microsoft Azure Management Portal

    Demo 1.2 Getting Started with Microsoft Azure and PowerShell

    Demo 2.1 Provision a New Affinity Group

    Demo 2.2 Provision a New Storage Account By Using the Management Portal

    Demo 2.3 Provision a New Storage Account By Using Windows PowerShell

    Demo 4.1 Provision Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines By Using the Management

    Demo 4.2 Configure Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines By Using the Management Portal

    Demo 4.3 Configure Virtual Machine Auto-Scaling By Using the Management Portal

    Demo 4.4 Capture Custom Virtual Machine Images By Using the Management Portal

    Demo 4.5a Provision Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines By Using Windows PowerShell

    Demo 4.5b Configure Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines By Using Windows PowerShell

    Demo 4.5c Export and Import Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines By Using Windows PowerShell

    Demo 4.5d Manage Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Checkpoints By Using Windows PowerShell

    Demo 5 Monitor Virtual Machines By Using the Management Portal

    Demo 6.1 Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Active Directory

    Demo 6.2 Configure Multi-Factor Authentication in Microsoft Azure Active Directory


    For the latest information about TechNet evaluations, virtual labs and guided experiences, follow @MicrosoftTrials on Twitter.


  • Microsoft launched a wave of product updates at TechEd North America 2013 in New Orleans this week and made several announcements that showcase our Cloud OS vision for helping customers and partners transform their datacenter, enable modern business applications, unlock insights on any data, and empower people-centric IT.


    As part of these announcements, the public previews for Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 will be available in the coming weeks. Learn more about these products through upcoming MVA Jump Start events:


    • July 10 & 11: Join Microsoft Sr. Technical Evangelist Rick Claus and Cory Hynes from HOL Systems for a free, multi-day live online event to learn about the new capabilities and features coming in Windows Server 2012 R2. Sign-up today.


    • July 15: Join Microsoft Sr. Technical Evangelist Symon Perriman for a free, live online event to learn how the next version of System Center delivers an end-to-end cloud stack through advanced integration with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Azure. You will discover the new capabilities in infrastructure provisioning and monitoring, automation and self-service, IT service management, and application monitoring. Sign-up today.


    Register to learn more about Windows Server 2012 R2: Sign-up for free.

    Register to learn more about System Center 2012 R2: Sign-up for free.





  • We’ve had some great authors like Charles Petzold and Ed Bott lead courses on MVA, and now we are really excited to announce that you can download free e-books too!

    If you haven’t downloaded a Microsoft Press book yet, check out one of these recent titles.

    • Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2
    • Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2
    • Introducing Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals
    • Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals

    We’ll keep adding titles to our catalog. Next up will be new books on SQL Server and System Center, so stay tuned!

  • Lots! Especially when he’s outlining the five steps every hacker follows!

    On May 8, bring your questions to “Defense in Depth: Windows 8.1 Security,” a live, online session highlighting tips and tricks for protecting your data in the real world. See how Windows 8.1 addresses security as a whole system, one layer at a time. Explore methods of developing a secure baseline and how to harden your Windows Enterprise architectures from pass-the-hash and other advanced attacks.

    Join Certified Ethical Hacker and MVP Erdal Ozkaya and Microsoft Global Business Support Premier Field Engineer Milad Aslaner as they share entertaining demos on building an advanced defense strategy. Don't miss this lively and informative look at how to stop hackers and malware engineers.

    • IT Security Landscape Shift
    • Five Steps Every Hacker Follows
    • Windows Defense Techniques
    • Hardening: Establish a Secure Baseline

    Defense in Depth: Windows 8.1 Security

    Date:  May 8, 2014
    Time: 9:00am–5:00pm PDT
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now

  • If you want the latest tips and tricks on maximizing your app compatibility and optimizing your code, sign up for “Building Apps for Windows Phone 8.1 Jump Start,” a three-day (April 29, 30, and May 1) event led by seasoned experts. Learn to create universal app projects in Visual Studio that share a high percentage of code and that target both Windows and Windows Phone. Find out about new features, get code samples, and learn how to program the many new Windows Runtime APIs that are available to both Windows Store apps and to Windows Silverlight apps.

    This is a great course for .NET and Silverlight app developers who want to design and build Windows Phone 8.1 apps using XAML and C#.  No prior experience with developing Windows Phone 8 apps is required.

    Building Apps for Windows Phone 8.1 Jump Start

    Date:  April 29, 30, and May 1, 2014
    Time: 9am‒5pm PDT
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now


    The MVA team continues to provide IT professionals with the latest training on Windows Server 2012 R2 and has released two new courses:

    Windows Server 2012 R2 Virtualization

    What’s New in VDI for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1


    These courses complement the Windows Server courses released in November:

    Windows Server 2012 R2: Networking

    Windows Server 2012 R2: Server Management & Automation

    Windows Server 2012 R2: Web and Application Platform

    Windows Server 2012 R2: Access and Information Protection


    View all of the latest courses on Windows Server 2012 on the MVA Windows Server Topic Page and download the Windows Server 2012 R2 evaluation or use our free Windows Server 2012 R2 Virtual Labs to test the product online without installation.



  • Join us on July 16 & 17 when we’ll show IT Pros how Windows Azure Pack (WAP) builds on the power of Windows Server and System Center to deliver an enterprise-class, cost-effective solution for self-service, multi-tenant cloud infrastructure and application services—a solution that runs on the hardware in your data center. For both service providers looking to support more customers and for enterprises looking for the flexibility and cost savings of a cloud environment, we’ll focus on WAP’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) including self-service and automation of virtual machine roles, virtual networking, clouds, and SQL Server, along with System Center and third-party integration.

    Microsoft experts Andrew Zeller and Symon Perriman will share lots of helpful demos and real world examples that will speed your journey to the cloud. And be sure to bring your questions for the live Q&A!  

    Windows Azure Pack: Infrastructure as a Service Jump Start

    Date:  July 16 & 17, 2014
    Time: 9am–1pm PDT
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now!

  • Update July 31: This course will now be delivered on September 30 and October 1. Hope to see you there!

    Learn how to use the skills you already have to develop universal Windows apps for today’s mobile workforce and consumer marketplace. Microsoft experts Jerry Nixon and Daren May will show you how to build an app using tools and techniques that will save yourself valuable time and give you a dramatic advantage as a developer targeting both Windows and Windows Phone devices.

    You’ll find out what’s smart to share and what’s not as Jerry and Daren demo a broad range of features covering both consumer and enterprise scenarios. You’ll also see how the built-in code generation tools in Visual Studio can be used to automatically build out hundreds of classes and thousands of lines of code.

    If you want to get started today, you can download emulators, SDKs, toolkits, and code samples from the Windows Dev Center.

    Plan to attend the two-day event, or check the schedule and just drop in on the topics that interest you.

    Developing Universal Windows Apps (C#/XAML) Jump Start

    Date:  September 30 and October 1, 2014
    Time: 9:00am–5:00pm
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now!

  • The Evaluation Center team is to announce the launch of the SQL Server 2012 trial evaluation experience.

    Solution Overview

    Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is a cloud-ready information platform that will help organizations unlock breakthrough insights and quickly build solutions.

    SQL Server 2012 extends organizations beyond the database with a cloud-ready information platform that delivers mission critical confidence, breakthrough insight, and cloud on your terms. SQL Server 2012 meets industry requirements for high availability with the new SQL Server AlwaysOn for mission-critical availability while new xVelocity in-memory technologies help enable fast data warehousing and business intelligence query performance.

    Evaluation languages available for download:

    Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish

    The SQL Server 2012 trial experience includes ISOs for the 32-bit and 64-bit editions, as well as an ISO with both bit rates packaged together

    How to try this solution out?


    Useful Links:


    MVA Resources

    SQL Server Courses

  • Do you want to get faster insights without a massive and expensive system redesign? Join Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) Architect Brian Walker and SQL Server BI Expert Sanjay Soni on April 29, from 9am–5pm PDT, for an informative Jump Start on PDW—the logical next step in the evolution of your data warehouse.

    PDW is a massively parallel processing appliance which can improve your data loading and query response time as much as 100x beyond legacy solutions. It enables querying of structured and unstructured data with simplicity and speed, using standard SQL queries. The solution even tackles your Big Data and business intelligence needs and joins Hadoop and relational data.

    Microsoft PDW: Modern Data Warehouse with Big Data Analytics

    Date:  April 29, 2014
    Time: 9:00am–5:00pm
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now


    The Microsoft Virtual Academy helps you learn new skills and advance your career. In 2013, developers, IT professionals, and aspiring technologists took more than 1.1M hours of on-demand training across 300 courses, in over 11 languages.


    MVA Site Enhancements

    In January, we launched several site enhancements including the Top Student of the Week, new course video experiences, and expanded RSS feeds to help our community members stay informed of our latest courses and live events. The pace of site enhancements kept up throughout the year as we introduced Topic Pages that group courses by subjects like HTML5 or products like Windows Server, the My Learning Plan feature to help give our customers more control over their skills development, and several other improvements.

    By the end of January, the MVA community reached a milestone population figure of 1 million technologists!


    New Learning Opportunities   MVA Rockstars

    In April, we launched the first in a series of live events that, thanks to input from the MVA community, we named ‘MVA Live Q&As’. The live, audience-led discussions focused on a specific technical topic and often followed-up to recent MVA Jump Start events. The new format gave the MVA technologists the chance to ask questions about technical capabilities, get advice for using products in a live environment, and learn from their peers in the industry & the experts at Microsoft.


    In June, the MVA team hosted a Study Hall as part of the TechEd North America event in New Orleans. Some lucky community members got free MVA Rockstar t-shirts from our booth on the showroom floor and others participated in video interviews with MVA Community Manager Matt Calder.





    New Course Growth

    In July, MVA went through a growth spurt, introducing more courses over the following 6 months than in all of 2012. In addition to adding new courses, we began to make it easier to follow along with our presenters by adding subtitles to more than 30 courses. We will continue to add subtitles to additional courses in 2014. Find the latest content on the MVA Courses page by sorting by our Most Recent courses.



    MVAs Guiding Principles   Aspiring Technologists

    In August, the MVA team outlined our Guiding Principles, including: •Successful technologists never stop learning and great technology never stops evolving• and •MVA is a conduit for taking control of your career and getting to where you want to go•.

    We also made it easier for our Italian-speaking friends to access our site and great content by introducing Italian language support.


    In September, MVA welcomed the growing community of aspiring technologists to the platform with new courses to help kick-start their learning and careers, including the Five-Star Rated C# Development Fundamentals and Networking Fundamentals courses.





    Get Recognized for your work on MVA with Degreed

    In October, the MVA team announced its integration with Degreed, where you can get credit for all types of learning. You can still export your learning history & certificates into PDF and now, if you want to take it one step further, you can navigate to the Courses Completed tab on your MVA Dashboard to create your Degreed profile to showcase all your experience, education and training.



    Record Jump Start Attendance   1.5M Technologists Using MVA

    In November, the Microsoft Server Virtualization course broke all MVA records with more than 26,000 event registrants and 11,000 students from 120 countries in attendance. The training delivered nearly 7.5 years of free training in just 4 days. You can take the course and get a free voucher to take Microsoft Server Virtualization Certification Exam 74-409 by June 30, 2014.


    The MVA community grew more than 62% this year. Microsoft Virtual Academy now includes more than 1.5 million users developers, IT professionals, and aspiring technologists, with more than 600,000 unique visitors coming to the site each month.


    Thank You!

    To thank you for your support throughout 2013 and to celebrate a great year, we’re offering all of our registered users 3 great incentives:

    1. 50 MVA Points: To redeem your points, navigate to your dashboard and insert voucher code: MVAYearInReview.

    2. Free Microsoft Virtualization Certification: Get a free certification voucher - a $150 value - when you complete the MVA Server Virtualization course.

    3. 3-for-1 certification exam offer for MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) certifications: Register to get your ‘3-for-1’ voucher code and then prep for your certification exams with MVA courses on ALM, Web Apps, SharePoint Applications and Windows Store Apps-C#/HTML5.


    Help Make MVA Better

    MVA's Facebook and Twitter pages passed 100,000 followers in 2013, with thousands of interactions each month. In addition to commenting, liking, and sharing, you gave us invaluable feedback about what you like, love, and want to change about MVA. We appreciate your input and would like to continue to ask for your help to improve! Please share your thoughts with us: MVA survey.



    For more information

    If you'd like to join the community of 1.5 million technologists that are learning new skills on MVA, register at and sharpen your skills with free expert-led technical training. Be sure to update your MVA Profile to receive the latest news & information from Microsoft Virtual Academy, including new course availability.


  • On behalf of the entire MVA team we are excited and humbled that so many people are choosing to learn with us from so many countries around the world. In a little over a year your numbers have doubled. We now have 1M people a month visiting MVA with some of our largest traffic coming from India, Latin America, Brazil, Russia and the United States.

    You are one thirsty global village of learners too! Since MVA started look at how much learning you have done!

    • 3.5 million course enrollments!
    • 17 million video views!
    • and over 800,000 course completions!

    We applaud you all for making a commitment to learning, developing and advancing your careers, and we look forward to delivering tons more training to you and everyone yet to join! Those of us who work on MVA feed off of seeing your diligence and hard work. We share your passion about technology, and it’s super exciting for us to see so many people exploring our courses and spending time (in some cases lots and lots of time) to get skilled up.

    It’s one of our guiding principles at MVA that “Our community will embrace you whether your goal is to develop proficiency across multiple topics or simply to answer a single question” and it’s been great to see how true that has been in our live Jump Start chat rooms, on our Twitter feed and in comment threads like this one from Facebook.

    Please continue to share your enthusiasm and to encourage each other to continue putting in the effort. Our new CEO Satya is excited too. :)

    Stay tuned for the announcement next week of who finally took us past the 2,000,000 member milestone and to find out which lucky entire country of MVA members will be getting bonus MVA points!

    And keep the feedback coming on how we can improve the MVA site and experience.

  • Popular instructors Jeremy Foster and Michael Palermo will be in our studios for two great courses for HTML and JavaScript developoers, kicking off on Tuesday August 26 with The Modern Web Platform and followed by 2 days of Developing Universal Windows Apps with HTML and JavaScript on August 27 and 28.

    The Modern Web Platform will provide get an informative introduction on the latest capabilities and features available in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This fast-paced primer on core platform technologies is perfect for beginners who want a quick ramp-up or for intermediate web developers who want to explore the foundation you need to create universal apps. Explore the basics you need to create websites, web apps, and even native Windows apps. Dive deep into modern web APIs and tour libraries you can use to build anything from the simplest to the most complex apps. And Microsoft experts demo the building blocks of the new environment, with practical tips and tricks.

    Course outline

    • Introduction and Primer

    • Layout and Styling

    • Transitions and Transforms

    • APIs

    • More APIs

    • JavaScript Libraries

    The Modern Web Platform Jump Start

    Date:  August 26, 2014
    Time: 9:00am–5:00pm
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now!

    Then, if you want to build rich, native apps on a new and exciting platform, look no further than our 2 day course on Developing Universal Windows Apps with HTML and JavaScript . Get the details from Microsoft experts in this fast-paced, two-day course, complete with demos and a look at design considerations for screens from 4 to 40 inches! Get an introduction to universal apps, make tiles and splash screens, and learn how to bind data. In addition, find out how to build for a multilingual audience, work with authentication scenarios, see how to get your apps out to Windows devices and Windows Phones, and a ton more! Make the most of this opportunity to explore universal Windows apps with the experts!

    Course outline

    DAY 1:

    • Introduction to Universal Apps

    • App Lifecycle

    • Visual Assets and User Interaction

    • File Handling

    • Data

    • Networking and Web Services

    DAY 2:

    • Accessibility and Globalization

    • Hardware and Sensors

    • Custom Controls

    • Background Work

    • Managing User Info

    • Monetization, Packaging, and Publishing

    Developing Universal Windows Apps with HTML and JavaScript Jump Start

    Date:  August 27‒28, 2014
    Time: 9:00am–5:00pm
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now!

  • If you’re a developer who needs to ramp up for projects working closely with marketers to increase traffic, we have two live training sessions coming up designed just for you.  We’ve linked up with leading industry experts, from Cardinal Path and Microsoft, who will walk you through the advantages of using Bing Ads, offer tips to help you move beyond basic search, and highlight tools to help improve your account's performance on your way to success.

    Whether you’re a cloud developer or an online marketer, have a well-established website or are starting a new business, you’ll gain valuable insight in these two sessions. Learn search engine marketing best practices, the value of a proper keyword search, backlink strategies, and more. You can even prepare for a Bing Ads Accredited Professional certification.

    From 9am‒1pm PDT, join us for the “Bing Ads” Jump Start (May 20) and for the “Bing Search Engine Optimization” Jump Start (May 21). Be sure to bring your questions to these informative and entertaining sessions.

    Bing Ads Jump Start & Bing Search Engine Optimization Jump Start

    Date:  May 20 & 21, 2014
    Time: 9:00am–1:00pm PDT
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now

  • The one year countdown to end of support for Windows Server 2003 has begun, and we are here to help you plan for the challenges that will present. Upgrade paths can often be confusing, and moving existing services from versions that cannot be upgraded can carry significant risk. Windows Server 2012 R2 provides many options for upgrading and migrating that the IT Pro can use to ensure seamless transition to this new server platform. Join our latest free Jump Start, “Migrating Legacy Windows Server to 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure,” on July 24, 2014, from 9am–1pm PDT, to explore these tools. Learn how Windows Server 2012 R2 can ease your transition, not merely in upgrading earlier versions of Windows Server, but also ensuring that key services can be migrated in an efficient, cost-effective, and safe manner. You’ll also get a look at how to migrate your on-premises workloads to Microsoft Azure virtual machines to create a truly hybrid cloud environment.

    Course Outline

    • Introduction to Windows Server On-Premises Migration Tools​
    • Active Directory Migration
    • Migrating Windows Server 2003 Workloads to Windows Server 2012 R2
    • Migrating WSUS to Windows Server 2012 R2
    • Migrating Clustering to Windows Server 2012 R2
    • Migrating Hyper-V VMs to Microsoft Azure

    Migrating Legacy Windows Server to 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure

    Date:  July 24, 2014
    Time: 9am–1pm PDT
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now!


    With Microsoft SQL Server 2014 now generally available, there are a number of free resources you'll want to get your hands on to experience the breakthrough performance of this cloud-first data platform. 


    SQL Server 2014 Evaluation

    The SQL Server 2014 evaluation is available for free, offered as a trial on Microsoft Azure, as well as downloadable ISO and CAB files. We've also hand-picked some evaluation resources to enhance your trial experience, so visit the TechNet Evaluation Center, and get started with your evaluation today!


    SQL Server 2014 Virtual Labs

    Additional resources available to you for immersing yourself in a SQL Server 2014 experience, are TechNet Virtual Labs. Check out these new labs:


    TechNet Virtual Lab: What's new in SQL Server 2014 for DBAs

    In this lab you will learn about the new features in SQL Server 2014. You'll learn about SSD Buffer Pool Extension, Separation of duties, Backup to Cloud, Clustered Columnstore Indexing, and other features in SQL Server 2014.


    TechNet Virtual Lab: Implementing HA/DR with SQL Server 2014 AlwaysOn Availability Groups

    In this lab you will learn on how to implement and manage AlwaysOn Availability groups in SQL Server 2014.


    SQL Server 2014 Express For Developers

    SQL Server 2014 Express also launched last week, so be sure to check out this free, feature-rich edition of SQL Server that is ideal for learning, developing, powering desktop, web & small server applications, and for redistribution by ISVs. Download now and receive resources from the experts.

  • Lots of us have questions about open source, so we went straight to the experts for answers. Join the Richard Campbell, of .NET Rocks! fame as he interviews top open source experts, including Ross Gardler, President of The Apache Software Foundation. Richard asks questions like:

    • What is open source, anyway, and what’s so great about it?

    • How will the craft of software engineering change?

    • How do distributed teams play into open source culture?

    • How do I build a community for my project?

    • What does OSS mean for Azure?

    Watch this lively set of interviews, bring questions for a live Q&A, and leave with lots of answers and new insights!

    Course Outline

    Day 1:

    • An Introduction: What's so great about OSS? (Ross Gardler)

    • Grokking OSS Culture (Phil Haack)

    • Working the Open Source Way (Keith Dahlby)

    Day 2:

    • Legal Concerns (Cliff Allen)

    • The History of ASP.NET and Open Source (Scott Hunter)

    • .NET and Open Source (Jay Schmelzer)

    • Microsoft Open Tech (Gianugo Rabellino)


    Open Source Questions Answered

    Date:  September 3 & 4, 2014
    Time: 9am‒12pm
    Where: Online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now!

  • If you need to manage multiple virtualization environments, whether Hyper-V, VMware or both, tune in February 19, to explore Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager and VMware vSphere 5.5, with Microsoft’s Symon Perriman and Matt McSpirit, who are also VMware Certified Professionals. They’ll help you become the expert in your organization when the business needs to consolidate workloads and improve server utilization. See lots of demos of real world scenarios and get details on all of the new features in System Center 2012 R2. They also show how integration in the Microsoft stack provides a consistent platform and a familiar set of tools for your IT department, whether on-premises, in the cloud, or as a hybrid solution. Don’t miss this chance to get the latest on data center virtualization and to help level up your status in the organization.

    Virtualizing Your Data Center with Hyper-V and System Center Jump Start

    Date:  February 19, 2014
    Time: 9:00am–5:00pm
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Register now