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

  • Using System Center 2012 SP1, the Data Warehouse can be accessed by many different types of reporting interfaces. It has been designed using industry best practices to work well with traditional business intelligence applications like SQL Server Reporting Services, SharePoint and Excel. Create reports and dashboards which pull data from either the SQL data mart database(s), the OLAP cubes, or both.

    Learn to use chargeback reports, so you can use cloud-based pricing to:

    • Define a price for each VMM cloud (Pricesheet)—analogous to an SLA
    • Review sample chargeback reports
    • Customize a sample chargeback report for use in his ITorganization
    • Minimize oversubscription by customers
    • Minimize underutilization by customers

    Are you interested in more System Center 2012 SP1 efficiencies? Learn how to automate using Orchestrator in these recent virtual labs.   

    Virtual Labs are free, hands-on learning environments—no complicated installation 




    and Reporting


    This lab is designed to help IT pros get you started with Chargeback and reporting. You will see how to apply cloud-based  pricing on Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) fabric and show that information to customers to try to minimize virtual machine (VM) oversubscription and underutilization. This lab will focus on using the new OLAP cubes  (Chargeback) in Service Manager 2012 SP1.

    Note: the lab spins up two windows: one is the lab environment, and the second is the step-by-step guide documentation.

    How to try this solution, full-featured, and at no cost?

    System Center 2012 R2 builds on System Center 2012 to enable at-scale management of major Windows Server 2012 R2 capabilities, including Hyper-V Replica, dynamic VHDX resize, and Storage Spaces. Trial the System Center 2012 R2 Preview at the TechNet Evaluation Center.

    Useful Resources


  • Take this opportunity to find out about PowerShell right from the source! Join Jeffrey Snover, the inventor of PowerShell, together with Jason Helmick, Senior Technologist at Concentrated Technology, for this one-day, script-filled, hands-on Jump Start. IT pros, admins, and help desk persons will learn how to use this powerful management tool to improve your management capabilities, automate redundant tasks and manage your environment in scale.

    And the good news is: this is the first of a two part series! Sign up for part one today.

    Getting Started with PowerShell 3.0 Jump Start | Register Now

    Date: July 18, 2013
    Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm

    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

  • If you’ve built apps for iOS-based mobile devices and touch screens, you’re already well on your way to being able to develop for the Windows platform. Take our two part-series and find out what you need to know to apply your talent and experience to creating immersive experiences for Windows 8 and Windows Phone users.

    Here are the Jump Starts that will turn you into a Windows Store app developer:

    XAML Deep Dive for Windows & Windows Phone Apps Jump Start

    Become the Jedi Master of XAML! Join us for this one-day Jump Start filled with samples and demos and learn what you need to know to use XAML for developing applications for the phone, Windows Store and desktop. During this engaging, live learning experience, Microsoft Principal Technical Evangelist Jaime Rodriguez and Senior Director for IdentityMine Laurent Bugnion will show you the ins and outs of XAML and its power as a presentation technology.

    Register Now

    Date: July 12, 2013
    Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm (PDT)
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

    Building Windows Store Apps for iOS Developers Jump Start

    Attention iOS, Android, Symbian and desktop developers! Here’s your chance to learn how to take the tools and languages you know today as an iOS developer and use them to build Windows Store apps. Join Microsoft Principal Technical Evangelist Jaime Rodriguez and the team of Big Nerd Ranch Experts Aaron Hillegass, Eric Jeffers and Sean McCune for this sample and demo filled event that will expand your horizons.

    Register Now

    Date: July 17, 2013
    Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm (PDT)
    Where: Live, online virtual classroom
    Cost: Free!

  • Since we kicked off our contest “The Fast Track Challenge” I’ve been looking forward to checking my e-mail for new entries every morning. I love reading how people are using our training to advance their careers and really change their lives. Many of the entrants experience a virtuous cycle where they gain confidence as they gain skills that lead to a major personal win which in turn gives them to the confidence to go even harder at their next challenge. I also have to admit I love reading about how showing a prospective employer our course completion certificates and dashboard profiles makes a difference in job interviews.

    If you haven’t entered yet, there’s still time. We’re accepting entries through this Friday, June 28. If you’ve been able to move forward at your job or had the opportunity to make the switch to a more rewarding job because of how MVA has helped you, I encourage you to send us email sharing your experience. We’ll choose a set of finalist and have the community vote for the winner. We’ll be awarding the winner Visual Studio Professional with an MSDN subscription for access to even more tools and great help and information.

    Based on questions we’ve heard and the entries we’ve received, here are some tips that can help you with your entry. Leave me a note below if you need further help.

    1. Don’t doubt your story: Take a chance and enter because we are interested in you and your unique journey. 
    2. Keep it real: It could be that you couldn’t afford college or your job situation wasn’t a good one. Let us know about your experiences and of MVA’s impact in helping you achieve your goals.
    3. Provide specifics: Let us know what courses you took. This includes both live training (Jump Start and MVA Live Q & A) and on-demand courses.
    4. Be succinct: Try and tell your story in about 500 words and if you’re submitting a video aim for no more than two minutes.
    5. Submit in English, but: Going back to tip number one, which is we are interested in you and appreciate that we are a global community. Your English does not have to be perfect. We’re about substance over style.

    As a final tip, don’t put it off. The contest submission period is ending soon so submit your story.

  • Management packs typically contain monitoring settings for applications and services. After a management pack is imported into a management group, System Center 2012 – Operations Manager immediately begins to monitor objects based on default configurations and thresholds set by the management pack. In these virtual labs, you’ll become familiar with the components in the environment that the management pack is detecting, specifically with a Distributed Application for the measurement of the entire application. Learn how to keep track of server components’ health with Windows Service Monitor, and use Database monitors for event and performance tracking. 

    Ready to learn more about how to extend efficiencies in System Center 2012 SP1? Learn how to use the Authoring Tool in Service Manager 2012.




    Management Pack Authoring


    This lab walks through the creation of a management pack using Visio Management Pack Designer for a sample application.  

    Note: the lab spins up two windows: one is the lab environment, and the second is the step-by-step guide documentation.

    System Center SP1 2012 is an integrated platform offering comprehensive management of applications, services, physical resources, hypervisors, software defined networks, configuration, andautomation. Download System Center 2012 SP1 at the TechNet Evaluation Center.

     Useful Resources

  • The System Center 2012 Service Manager provides an integrated platform for automating and adapting your organization’s IT service management best practices, such as those found in Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). Service Manager provides built-in processes for incident and problem resolution, change control, and asset lifecycle management. The System Center Service Manager 2012 Authoring Console can be customized to meet customer requirements. In these new labs, find out how to get started with the Service Manager 2012 Authoring Tool, learn to work with a generic form, and modify the existing Service Manager 2012 form.

    Ready to learn other ways to streamline your data center?  Learn how to simplify repeated management with Orchestrator in these recent virtual labs.

    Virtual Labs are free, hands-on learning environments—no complicated installation 




    Basic Customizations for System Center Service Manager 2012

    These new virtual labs cover practical Service Manager tasks, for example: how to extend Service Manager, create and seal management packs, extend the CMBD for new and existing class types (and relationships between them). Learn to use the Service Manager Authoring Tool.  Find out how to customize forms and add them to new management packs and add new components.

    Note: the lab spins up two windows: one is the lab environment, and the second is the step-by-step guide documentation.

    System Center 2012 SP1 empowers you with a common management toolset for your private and public cloud applications and services. Download System Center 2012 SP1 for trial at the TechNet Evaluation Center.

    Useful Resources


  • Wow did you see we hit 1.2M users yesterday? Super exciting. We have been revamping the MVA site quietly over the last few months - although after hitting our 13th release in 7 months it doesn't feel so quiet for team MVA. 

    This past week you may have noticed some "louder" substantial changes on the MVA home page. I wanted explain why we made these changes, and also request your feedback on them.

    A key theme of this new release was to change the discoverability on the site: we wanted to help MVA customers get to the courses and topics they care about in a much easier way. Let us know, were we successful?

    Key goals in this new release were:

    Get to the content you want in a single click on the home page:

    • I think we almost got there with our new “hover click” UI although I still see room for improvement
    • This new UI lets you see immediately top courses by subject or help you get to new topic pages
    • Improve our top-level navigation menus to help you access courses by topic anywhere on the site

    Offer new Topic Pages that group courses by subjects like HTML5 or products like Windows Server and help you:

    • Find courses in topic areas you care about, and build your own personal learning plans around them
    • Discover additional resources like books or software evaluations to supplement your education
    • Help suggest ways to explore how to take the next steps in your career with Microsoft Certifications

    Make it easier to find our popular Live Events like MVA Jump Starts and Live Q&As 

    • New countdown tiles on the home page to help find our ever growing choice of live events and remind you when they are happening (several times every week)
    • An improved Live Events link in our updated top level menu to find it anywhere on the site and see Live Events grouped by themes on our event page
    • And we made the Live Event registration experience easier and more integrated for MVA members: you no longer need to juggle two separate registration IDs and Passwords, just use your MVA member ID and password. For existing customers, we help you join these on your first log-in to register for a live event.

    Give MVA customers a place on the home page to be heard with MVA Voices: a place we share all the great feedback MVA members send us through our Tell the Dean alias, and via our Live Event forums.

    Do a better job of making it easier to understand what MVA is and our philosophy to new visitors with a new What is MVA? section

    So as you can see, it was a jam packed sprint for us this month. Heck we even updated our favicon: we affectionately call it "Frank" :)

    Please let us know what you think of these changes, what you like, and more important what you don’t like or still think is missing.

    Share with us here on the MVA blog, on FacebookTwitter, or send mail to our Tell the Dean alias which you can access on the lower right hand corner of every page on MVA.

    Successful technologists never stop learning and great technology never stops evolving. Our commitment is to keep evolving MVA to be the most exciting place for expert-led technology training.

    Thanks for learning with us and keep the feedback coming!


  • Last week at Tech Ed, I think the machine data guys at Splunk were only people with better T-shirts than Microsoft Virtual Academy or Microsoft Learning.  If you aren’t familiar with Splunk, they are doing some very innovative and cutting edge stuff, so I was pretty jazzed when they came by our booth and I got to meet Adrian Hall who told me he’s a fan of MVA! Adrian produces workload monitoring tools that sit on top of the Splunk platform and he uses MVA to see real world examples of how to work with Microsoft technologies like Hyper-V. Check out the video below to hear from Adrian in his own words.

    If you have a story about how MVA has helped you in your career, send us an e-mail for a chance to win our Fast Track Challenge!



  • Join Microsoft MVP Pete Zerger for a free two-day Jump Start series covering the end-to-end process of implementing a Microsoft cloud solution.


    Registration is free for both events. Sign-up now.


    Day 1: Building Private Cloud with Windows Server 2012 & System Center 2012 SP1 

    This June 18 Jump Start will be a scenario-based, bottoms-up approach to designing and building our private cloud on Windows Server 2012 and incorporating the full spectrum of System Center 2012 SP1 components.


    MVP Pete Zerger and Microsoft Sr. Technical Evangelist Symon Perriman will focus on bringing a greater understanding to key topics related to the fabric - such as virtual networking, leveraging the storage and networking capabilities of Windows Server 2012, and creating service templates in VMM and on the Service Manager CMDB as we move up the management stack. Additionally, you will learn how the service-catalog comes together to deliver an intuitive self-service experience in a step-by-step approach that will address many common questions.



    Day 2: Moving from Private to Hybrid Cloud with System Center 2012 and Windows Azure IaaS 

    This June 20 Jump Start is a continuation of Day 1 and will focus on successfully monitoring and managing ongoing operation of a private cloud environment.


    MVP Pete Zerger and Technical Product Manager Matt McSpirit will provide examples of how to integrate Windows Azure IaaS into our private cloud to deliver hybrid cloud capabilities in System Center 2012 SP1, explain how to develop hybrid cloud self-service scenarios in System Center 2012 App Controller and in the System Center Service Manager Self-Service Portal, and demonstrate full integration of private and public cloud with ITIL.


    Register for Day 1.

    Register for Day 2.



  • Overview

    Automation brings simplicity to complicated and repeated essential management tasks. System Center Orchestrator 2012 is an automation platform for orchestrating and integrating IT tools to drive down the cost of datacenter operations, while improving the reliability of IT processes. These new virtual labs help you understand the interfaces available with Orchestrator 2012, how to create and use Runbooks to work with File Management Objects, validate Runbooks, and automate recovery of a Windows Service based on alert detection. 

    Not ready for Orchestrator? Learn to use App Controller in System Center 2012 for Hybrid Cloud Management in these recent virtual labs.

    Virtual Labs are free, hands-on learning environments—no complicated installation required



    System Center 2012 Orchestrator Overview
      and Automation of IT Process

    This lab works through several process automation examples, providing hands-on experience with concepts paired with the accompanying guide.  It starts with the basics and guides you towards advanced concepts and techniques in Orchastrator 2012.

    Note: the lab spins up two windows: one is the lab environment, and the second is the step-by-step guide documentation.

    How to try out this solution free, full-featured?

    Download System Center 2012 SP1 from the TechNet Evaluation Center.

     Useful Resources

  • 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.





  • Visit members of the Microsoft Virtual Academy team at TechEd 2013 in New Orleans on June 3-6.

    We will be hosting the Study Hall as part of the Learning & Certification area of the Tech Expo. Stop by to learn more about our 200 free, expert-led technical training courses on Microsoft technologies such as Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, Windows Azure, System Center 2012, and more.

    While you’re visiting, pick up our voucher code for 50 MVA Points just for attending TechEd 2013.

    During the conference, keep your eyes peeled for MVA Community Manager Matt Calder, who will be walking around the conference room floor taking videos of members of the MVA community. Please stop by to say hello!


    Enhance your TechEd conference experience with free expert-led training from Microsoft Virtual Academy:

    Exploring Windows 8

    System Center 2012 SP1 Updates

    Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals

    Windows Server 2012 Identity & Access

    Private Cloud Computing and Infrastructure Management

    Private Cloud: Application Services Management

    Building Web Apps with ASP.NET Jump Start

    Administering Office 365 for Small Business

    SQL Server Essentials for Oracle DBAs

    Tuning SQL Server 2012 for SharePoint 2013

    Windows Intune for IT Professionals

  • Overview

    System Center 2012 SP1 App Controller provides a common self-service experience across private and public clouds. This enables you to empower application owners to easily build, configure, deploy, and manage new services. In these virtual labs, learn to manage access control to Windows Azure clouds, manage App Controller library resources, and deploy a VMM VM template to Windows Azure cloud.

    Not ready for App Controller, but want to learn about networking in System Center 2012 SP1 with Virtual Machine Manager?—try recent virtual labs.

    Virtual Labs are free, hands-on learning environments—no complicated installation required.



     System Center Hybrid Cloud Management

    This lab is designed to help IT pros to get started with Windows Azure public cloud management and utilize it as a bursting destination using System Center 2012 App Controller.  

    Note: the lab spins up two windows: one is the lab environment, and the second is the step-by-step guide documentation.

    System Center 2012 SP1 empowers you with a common management toolset for your private and public cloud applications and services. Download System Center 2012 SP1 for trial at the TechNet Evaluation Center. 

    Useful Resources

    • Video: Need help getting started? Featured demo: Create your own Azure Virtual Machine in minutes
    • Video: Manage a hybrid cloud environment with System Center 2012 SP1 App Controller Featured demo: Hybrid Cloud Management with App Controller
    • Documentation using System Center 2012 App Controller
    • Server and Cloud Platform Forums
    • Microsoft System Center Team Blog