• |


    Visit the Microsoft Learning YouTube channel to check out some of the new playlists now available.  Some of the new playlists include:

    • Microsoft Certification Tutorial: Let us help you get started on the path to professional certification. This snack will provide answers to frequently asked questions concerning where to start when getting certified, which certifications to take, prerequisites, and next steps on the certification journey. You'll also find information on job roles and how earning a Microsoft Certification helps show potential employers your commitment to continued learning and career growth.
    • Managing and Troubleshooting with Microsoft SharePoint 2010: Microsoft SharePoint 2010 facilitates administration by providing several tools that help IT professionals efficiently manage data and troubleshoot any issues. This playlist describes the Large List Resource Throttling feature, which helps you manage large lists. It demonstrates how a SQL Server logging database can be used to log SharePoint events. The playlist also demonstrates how the SharePoint Best Practices Analyzer can be used to detect and automatically fix common issues.
    • Desktop Experience in Windows 7: People who have more than one computer in their homes would want to create a home network so that they can easily share and access files and printers across the network. This playlist describes the new desktop and taskbar features in Windows 7 that help you effortlessly manage your applications, folders, and windows. It also demonstrates how to use features like Aero Peek and Aero Shake to manage open windows. This playlist will also show you to how create taskbar icons to easily access frequently used applications and Jump Lists to save files on your desktop without the clutter.

    Check out the Microsoft Learning Channel on YouTube to find out more! Don't forget you can still get free training through Learning Snacks here.<-->

  • |

    What's happening on Career Factor? Read on to find out...

    Caroline – The Office Competition Contender, Canada

    Goal: Compete at the 2011 Certiport Worldwide Competition on Office

    This week: Caroline received encouragement and congratulations from Certiport. She also celebrated her 21st birthday on February 21. Happy birthday, Caroline!

    Steve – The Job Seeker, Australia

    Goal: Update skills and certifications to find a new job

    This week: Steve explains in a video blog post that he’s finding it difficult to make time to study, but he’s learning a lot as he updates his server knowledge from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 R2. Audience question: How do you find time to learn?

    Eddie – The Do-It-Yourself IT Pro, California

    Goal: Transition back into the IT industry, obtain TS and PRO level certifications

    This week: Eddie got a job offer as an entry-level IT professional! He also provided feedback on his experience at the virtual Microsoft Certified Career Conference (MCCC). He’s looking forward to starting his new job and studying for the MCTS exam to continue building his Microsoft technology skills.

    Kevin – The Student, Texas

    Goal: Find a post-college job as an IT Pro

    This week: Kevin launched a new website! In his video blog he discusses his reaction to the MCCC and the Microsoft Certification exams he plans to take first.

    Neil – The Windows Azure Developer, Canada

    Goal: Learn how to develop an application on Windows Azure and SQL Azure

    This week: Neil has selected an idea for his Windows Azure app, and the next challenge is to decide which features to include. He also shared video of his family’s new puppy, Rolo.

    Rabeb – The Windows Phone 7 Developer, Tunisia

    Goal: Develop and release a WP7 app to the Marketplace

    This week: Rabeb has two videos this week: on February 22 she received encouragement and tips from Ben Lower on the Windows Phone 7 team, and on February 23 she showed us around the Microsoft Innovation Center where she works.

    Simon – The IT Manager, UK

    Goal: Get his team (including himself) certified to maintain Microsoft Partner status

    This week: Simon has spent the past few weeks traveling in Norway for work and helping his team meet their development goals. Next he’ll benchmark his team’s knowledge with practice tests.

    Bojan – The Aspiring MCM, UK

    Goal: Take the MCM course and pass the Exchange 2010 MCM exam

    This week:  Bojan attended a three-week training course on the Microsoft campus in late January. Videos and blog posts from his course will be available in early March.

  • We are introducing a new item type on our certification exams known as extended matching. Although it's new for us, it is an item type that is used frequently on medical licensure exams, and we're borrowing the idea. Here's how it works...

    Several questions are written using the same set of answer choices, but the list of answer choices is "extended" to include more options than you would see for a typical multiple choice question. In other words, more than four answer choices are presented for each question. The most important piece of information that you need to know about these items is that the same answer choice could be correct for more than one question in the set, and some answer choices may not be the correct answer for any of the questions.

    These items appear together on our certification exams. They are preceded by a brief introduction and instructions reminding you that an answer might be correct for more than one question or not correct for any. In some ways, this experience is similar to the experience you have when answering case study items--extended matching items with the same set of answer choices appear together on the exam because they are related to each other (i.e., they have the same set of answer choices); however, unlike our case study items, these items are not timed separately, and you can return to these items at any point until you submit the exam for scoring.

    If you want to learn more about how this item type is used on other exams or to get a feel for what these items look like, see http://onlinetog.org/cgi/reprint/8/3/181.pdf

    You will start seeing extended matching items on our exams as we begin rolling out this new item type. In time, they may appear on all of our exams, but we are currently investigating where they are most effective. The results of our early roll out of extended matching items will guide decisions on when and where they will be used.

    Although this is something new for Microsoft certification exams based on an idea borrowed from medical exams, I hope it doesn't make you feel blue. Extended matching items are a more rigorous test of your skills and abilities than traditional multiple choice questions because they require candidates to understand under what conditions certain actions are correct and when they are not. I'm very excited about the possibilities that extended matching items adds to our item type portfolio and hope you see the value that they add to our certification program!

  • |

    Have you joined the special offers and updates mailing list from Microsoft Learning? Here's a good reason to sign up soon: 

    In addition to announcements about exclusive deals and the latest training and certification resources, if you sign up by February 28, 2011 we'll give you free access to a pre-release excerpt of Beyond Bullet Points, 3rd Edition. This book won't be publicly available until the spring, but you'll get a sneak peek at bestselling author Cliff Atkinson's methodology for creating compelling presentations using PowerPoint. Keep your meetings interesting with this exclusive offer.


  • Enterprise search has grown in the last few years in multiple ways. Companies are learning about the many solutions needed to help them overcome all of their information access challenges. While the business challenges vary, the solution is the same; search. As a part of this solution, knowledgeable employees are a key element to the success of your business. To help you succeed with these is the education team at MSL FAST University.  We deliver the skills and knowledge necessary for students to increase their productivity. Employers want a highly trained staff of professionals who can provide quality service and boost company prospects for future business.  To face today’s challenges; search professionals require a high degree of product knowledge. Microsoft Learning’s FAST University teaches students how best to apply this knowledge to be effective in their daily roles. FAST University offers a variety of education services to meet the training demands of our students. We help build a strong foundation in search technology. We hope that this blog will give you a lot of useful information around the training programs and events that are available from FAST University.

    MSL|FAST University

  • In case you missed Ruth Morton's Live Meeting on Moving to the Cloud, you can now view the recording on demand.

    Moving to the Cloud
    Ruth Morton discusses BPOS and how cloud computing will change the game for IT managers and organizations. Ruth addresses what you need to think about from a business perspective, what skills are necessary, and how to look at your team’s roles/responsibilities in the new light of the cloud.

    Watch Now.

    Visit the IT Manager Portal for the full schedule of upcoming Live Meetings for Managers, to download meeting materials, and to view previous meetings on demand.

  • |

    If you receive our MCP Daily Flash, you’ve seen in the announcement about some new and updated MCP Benefits. If you receive the weekly or monthly editions, here’s what you have to look forward to:

    • MCP and MCT Member Sites: Look for a new site to launch later this year—we’re hard at work improving, simplifying, and polishing the site, and we think you’ll find it significantly easier to use and a lot more useful as well. Also coming soon: an updated Certification Planner tool
    • Wallet Cards: By popular demand, they are coming back—and soon! Beginning April 4, 2011, you’ll be able to order your wallet card (complete with uploadable photo and Microsoft Tag). Similar to our certificates, there will be an ordering fee for the wallet cards.
    • Virtual Business Cards: Also on April 4th—VBCs get a facelift, with a new UI, new themes and avatars, and Microsoft Tag integration.
    • MCP/MCT eStore: A long overdue revamp is coming—including new items and lower international shipping rates. We’ll be rolling out the store region by region as our fulfillment vendors ramp up—the Americas will be first out of the gate, followed by Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and then Asia Pacific.

    More information to come next month—in the meantime, we’d love to hear your feedback below!

  • Today only, attendees of the Microsoft Certified Career Conference can get 50% off MeasureUp practice tests.

    If you’re registered for the conference, visit the MeasureUp booth and receive a 50% off coupon. Once you purchase a test, you’ll be able to access it for 30-days online.

    View the speakers and sessions at the Career Conference, and then register to attend.

    MeasureUp practice tests are designed for IT professionals, developers, and information workers wanting to identify gaps in their knowledge, re-enforce study materials, and assess their readiness to take a Microsoft Certification exam. Learn more about MeasureUp practice tests for Microsoft Certification exams.

  • |

    The great Arsenal of Certifications, now has an Update.

    The first week of this year, Tjeerd Veninga announced a new free App for Windows Phone that will help you find all the information you need about Microsoft Certifications and the tools you can use to prepare for your next exam.

    And it looks like you have enjoyed the App! Over 2,000 downloads of the App in the past 8 weeks!


    And from all over the world!


    We are thrilled that you are appreciating the App!

    Well, we have now released an Update to the App, bringing the app now to version 1.2. Make sure you launch your Windows Marketplace and install the update. If you have any suggestions for version 2.0, please send us your comments at support@netlogon.com.

  • |

    Microsoft Learning has a new class to help update your skills from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 R2.  This is a three day instructor led course for those IT Professionals experienced in Windows Server 2008 and that have experience in hands- on deployment of Windows-based servers for enterprise organizations.  This class will cover how to:

    • Deploy and manage Windows Server 2008 R2.
    • Manage Windows Server 2008 R2 with Windows PowerShell 2.0.
    • Configure Active Directory in Windows Server 2008 R2.
    • Configure server virtualization by using Hyper-V.
    • Configure Remote Desktop Services and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure in Windows Server 2008 R2.
    • Deploy and configure Remote Access Services.
    • Configure Windows Server 2008 R2 features for branch offices.
    • Configure and manage Windows Server 2008 R2 Web services.

    There are nine different modules and labs to give all the information you need for this skillset upgrade.  You can attend this class from one of Quickstart's 8 locations in the Western United States, or you can attend from the comfort of your work or home utilizing QuickStart's QSLive Technology.

    QuickStart Intelligence is running this class next Wednesday, February 23rd.  The class is guaranteed to run, and if you register with promo code “MSLTS”, then you’ll receive a free pass to the Cloud Intelligence Technology Conference on March 15, 2011.

    For detailed information about this class and the outline, please visit the QuickStart website for course MS - 10159.


    If you’re planning to earn a Microsoft Certification for SharePoint 2010 or Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, you should consider listening to a free exam coaching session. Four sessions are available:

    ·         Exam 70-573: SharePoint 2010 Developer

    ·         Exam 70-667 and 70-668: SharePoint 2010 TS and PRO Exams

    ·         Exam 70-541: TS Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Application Development

    ·         Exam 70-631: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Configuring

    A fifth exam coaching sessions for Exam 70-576: PRO: Designing and Developing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Applications has been developed and will be presented at the Microsoft Certified Career Conference  on February 17. This session includes a handful of MeasureUp practice test questions to give participants an insight into the type of questions they’ll find on Exam 70-576.

    Register for the conference or browse the exam coaching sessions for SharePoint Server, Windows Server, Exchange Server, .NET Framework, and other Microsoft technologies. 


  • Exam 70-583: PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Azure Applications is now available in Prometric testing centers. This exam is a professional level exam for candidates who are seeking to prove their skills and knowledge in designing and developing applications that will be hosted on the Windows Azure platform.


    The minimally qualified candidate typically has at least six months of experience with the following:

    ·         Designing applications for hosting on the Windows Azure platform.

    ·         Designing and developing Windows Azure applications.

    ·         SQL Azure

    ·         Windows Azure AppFabric

    ·         Windows Communication Foundation

    ·         Internet Information Services (IIS)

    ·         Web Applications

    ·         Identity Management

    Note that candidates who earn the MCPD: Windows Azure Developer certification will be required to show continuing ability to perform in this technology area by completing a recertification exam every two years. For more information about cloud certifications and training, check out this post from yesterday.

    To schedule your exam, visit Prometric’s Web site.

  • I recently worked with a small user assistance team at Microsoft to develop and prototype new form factors for presenting and publishing help content. Based on conversations with customers and market research, we focused on comics and Silverlight-driven interactive experiences (more on that in a later post).

    The comics were a fun project that garnered a lot of feedback and interest at several IT conferences. Each comic featured two characters, Leah and Zach, along with their light-hearted guide, Squishy (a stress ball come to life). To move the story forward, Leah and Zach were assigned typical tasks, such as automating the administration of the operating system and applications, combating virtual sprawl, and addressing concerns over moving to the Cloud. At the outset of this pilot project our goals were to:

    • Improve customer satisfaction in Japan (we will share Japanese versions of the comics in a later post)
    • Connect with IT Professionals under 30
    • Entertain and engage people who may be curious about, but a little intimidated by, technology
    • Get customers interested so that they dig deeper into the technology

    We hope that you’ll enjoy the comics and find them useful. Feel free to distribute them (electronically and otherwise) and please let us know what you think. Do you like them? Obviously we’re not the only company to do this, but we want to know what you think and if you want to see more of this type of content? Do you prefer learning though comics as opposed to more traditional documentation? Some customers suggested the comics could be used as classroom educational tools, learning guides for user groups, and as casual desktop references (for example, the PowerShell comic which is similar to a getting started guide). Here are some customer quotes from TechEd North America and TechEd Japan, 2010:

    • “Nice way to humanize PowerShell.”
    • “A great opportunity for reaching young people”
    • “A newbie will keep this at their desk.”

    In this first post, we’ve included the front cover of all three of our comics below – please take a look!







    In the next post we’ll describe how we developed our characters and early panels. In subsequent posts, we’ll show how we went from script to whiteboard to storyboard to final panels, how we developed a customized Silverlight application for online comic viewing, and the reaction we had in Japan to the project. As you read these posts, if you have any questions about the project or the process, let us know in the comments and we’ll talk about that as well. Your comments and participation in this blog will help set future direction for this project and other visual content efforts at Microsoft.

    Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the comics!

  • |

    Rabeb is in love with her brand-new Windows Phone

    Neil needs your advice as he brainstorms ideas for an app showcasing Azure technology.

    Eddie shares his (early) morning routine as he heads off to his day job at Starbucks

    Who are you rooting for to get that certificationland a great jobwin that competition, and open doors to a new range of career opportunities? 

    Check out Career Factor to follow these and other stories as these real people work toward their goals.



  •       Microsoft has developed a special series of webcasts to help managers of IT professionals and developers get the most out of training and certification opportunities and optimize team performance.

    Moving to the Cloud
    Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 8:00 am PT  (
    What time is this in my region?)

    Join Ruth Martin for a discussion around BPOS and how cloud computing will change the game for IT managers and organizations. Ruth will address what you need to think about from a business perspective, what skills are necessary, and how to look at your team’s roles/responsibilities in the new light of the cloud.

    Register Now

    About the Presenter:
    Ruth Morton is a Technology Advisor for Microsoft Canada. Based in Mississauga, Ontario, Ruth spends her time connecting with IT professional across the country. She is the host for the AlignIT IT Manager Podcast Series (www.microsoft.ca/itpodcast) and writes on the Canadian IT Manager blog (


    Find the full schedule of Live Meetings for Managers, watch a previous webcast on-demand, download PowerPoint slides, or get additional resources at the IT Manager Portal.

  • |

    Business is moving to the cloud. According to IDC predictions for 2011, 80% of new software will be available as cloud services; by 2014, over one-third of software purchases will be delivered through the cloud.* To keep pace with their customers and employers, most IT professionals and developers will require additional skills. Our new training courses will help you acquire the skills you need for success, and our new certifications will help you prove your knowledge and skills to employers and customers.

    Cloud Certifications and Training

    The cloud creates new opportunities and job roles, but it also impacts current ones. Over the next year, we’ll introduce new cloud-related certifications and update many of our current certifications to include cloud-related skills. We plan to address cloud in all of our technical certifications, from our introductory Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) program to our advanced certification programs, including Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) and Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA). We’ll provide training for these cloud computing offerings through Official Microsoft Learning products, including Microsoft Press books, Microsoft Official Courses, and Microsoft Official eLearning.

    We recommend that you start by building skills that apply to both on-premise computing and cloud computing. If you already have on-premise skills, then you can enhance their skill sets to include cloud computing. Consult the table below for possible paths.

    Recertification Requirements for Windows Azure Developers

    Windows Azure is a frequently updated cloud services operating system. The skills required by Windows Azure developers will evolve more rapidly than for non-cloud-based technologies. To ensure that our customers can have confidence that developers who hold the MCPD: Windows Azure Developer certification have kept pace with the evolution of Windows Azure skills, developers who hold this certification will be required to recertify every two years. Through recertification, we can maintain the value of the certification as cloud services mature over time. More information about this recertification requirement will be provided at a later date.

    Find Out More and Stay Informed

    Microsoft provides cloud computing services to help our customers run business applications and infrastructure services with freedom, agility, and flexibility. Microsoft products include offerings for the three cloud service types: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). To learn more about cloud computing services, visit http://microsoft.com/cloud. To get more news about Microsoft Learning training and certification offerings for the cloud, you can subscribe to this RSS feed: http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/rss.aspx?Tags=Cloud

    Get Ready with Microsoft Certifications and Training




    Certification Availability

    Required Exams

    Instructor-led training


    Step 1

    MCPD: Web Developer 4 Earning the MCPD: Web Developer 4 certification will help you gain essential web development skills and better prepare them to develop for the cloud. It is not required to pursue the MCPD: Windows Azure Developer certification.

    Available now

    1.       70-513

    2.       70-515

    3.       70-516


    4.       70-519

    1.       Course 10263A

    2.       Course 10264A

    3.       Course 10265A

    4.       Course 50466A



    MCPD: Windows Developer 4 Earning the MCPD: Windows Developer 4 certification will help you essential Windows development skills and better prepare them to develop for the cloud. It is not required to pursue the MCPD: Windows Azure Developer certification.

    Available now

    1.       70-511

    2.       70-513 

    3.       70-516


    4.       70-518

    1.       Course 10262A

    2.       Course 10263A

    3.       Course 10265A 

    4.       Course 50466A

    Step 2

    MCPD: Windows Azure Developer Show employers and clients that they are ready to support the move to cloud services by earning the MCPD: Windows Azure Developer certification. This certification validates the ability to design, build, and deploy cloud-based applications for hosting on the Windows Azure platform.

    New! Available now

    1.       70-513

    2.       70-516


    3.        70-583

    1.       Course 10263A

    2.       Course 10265A


    3.       Course 50466A


    Step 1

    MCITP: Server Administrator Earning the MCITP: Server Administrator certification will help you gain essential Windows Server skills and better prepare them to support a cloud infrastructure. It is not required to pursue the MCITP: Virtualization Administrator certification.

    Available now

    1.       70-640

    2.       70-642


    3.       70-646

    1.       Course 6425B

    and Course 6426B

    2.       Course 6421A

    3.       Course 6430B

    Step 2

    MCITP: Virtualization Administrator You can get ready for private cloud by earning the MCITP: Virtualization Administrator certification. This certification validates knowledge and skills in designing and deploying virtualization solutions when using Windows Server 2008 R2 in an enterprise organization.

    Available now

    1.       70-669

    2.       70-693

    plus either

    3.     70-659 or 70-652

    1.       Course 10324A

    2.       Course 50723A


    3.       Course 10215A or Course 6422A


    Step 1

    MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator 20101 You can demonstrate your  messaging expertise by earning the MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator certification. Updates to include cloud-related skills coming soon.

    Available now—

    Updates coming soon

    1.       70-662


    2.       70-663

    1.       Course 10135A


    2.       Course 10233A



    MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 20102 You can demonstrate  SharePoint 2010 administration  by earning the MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 2010 certification. Updates to include cloud-related skills coming soon.

    Available now—

    Updates coming soon

    1.       70-667


    2.       70-668

    1.       Course 10174A


    2.       Course 10231A



    Dynamics CRM 2011 Certifications3 Certifications include Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration, Microsoft Dynamics 2011 Installation and Deployment, and  Microsoft Dynamics 2011 Applications.  Access Dynamics Customer site  or Partner site for more information.

    Coming soon




    Coming soon: check Dynamics CRM training

    Step 2

    MCITP: Lync Server 2010 Administrator4 This certification shows that you have the skills to deploy and configure Lync Server 2010, an integral part of the Microsoft SaaS offering—Office 365.

    Coming soon

    1.       70-664


    2.       70-665

    1.       Course 10533A


    2.       Course 10534A

    Table Notes:

    1This certification will be updated to include cloud-related skills in the next several months.

    2This certification will be updated to include cloud-related skills in the next year.

    3These certifications are scheduled to release in the next several months. These links are only accessible to Dynamics CRM customers and partners.

    4This certification is scheduled to release in late March 2011. The courses are scheduled to release in late April 2011. Candidates can begin preparing by using the exam preparation guides.

    *IDC Predictions 2011: Welcome to the New Mainstream, Dec. 2010, Doc. # 225878.

  • Valentine's Day is a great reminder of just how much we love our Subject Matter Experts! It’s also the time of the year when we run our annual SME Profile Satisfaction Survey!

    The SME Profile Database program is our online registry of Subject Matter Experts. In this program, we get to know more about the people who are industry professionals and passionate about Microsoft Learning products. We coordinate beta exam invitations, feedback activities, and content development opportunities through this program.

     So… if you are currently a member, we’d really like to hear about your experiences over the last year! Your feedback will help us continue to make improvements to the program. You may have already received an email from us, but if for some cosmic reason the message didn’t come through please complete the SME Profile Satisfaction Survey by going to the MSL Subject Matter Experts site on Microsoft Connect (http://connect.microsoft.com/site862), log in with your Windows Live ID, and click on the SME Profile Satisfaction Survey link in the front page.

    And if you’re a SME who would like to join… come to our site and tell us about your experiences with Microsoft technologies by completing the SME Profile Survey on the MSL SME site on Microsoft Connect (http://connect.microsoft.com/site862).

  • After 2 years in our current location, the certification team has packed our offices and is ready for our new building.  As the last of the paper clips, spare cables and desk treasures were packed in bubble wrap, our attention turned to the certification Ship Wall:  the team monument to productivity, where every exam we publish is celebrated with a statue, commemorative plaque, 8 ½ by 11 inch printout taped to the wall for everyone to admire.

    Wall covered with green exam cutouts

    It’s been a busy year.  We still have 4 months to go, but our Ship Wall was already covered from corner to edge. For comparison, we didn't fill up last year’s wall until the end of June.  February was very early to celebrate, but... the wall was full, spirits were high and we had to be out of the building by 3pm Friday.

    So we got a deli tray and let ‘er rip!

    Here’s another peek into the curious world of MSL ACE content development - enjoy the pictures (and we hope you enjoy our exams as well).

    Special thanks to Taj Heniser for taking pictures. We’ll be looking for a new “wall” in Redmond next week. 

  • Microsoft Learning will soon release hands-on labs covering the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 Inventory Costing functionality.  These are a series of stand-alone hands-on labs that guide you through the process of working with the Inventory Costing module.  The labs include:


    • Introduction to Hands-on Lab in Inventory Costing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2
    • Inventory Acquisition in Inventory Costing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2
    • Cost of Sold Goods in Inventory Costing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2
    • Inventory Adjustments  in Inventory Costing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2
    • Inventory Costing in the General Ledger in Inventory Costing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2
    • Inventory Revaluation and Physical Inventory in Inventory Costing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2


    The first three hands-on labs become available mid-February 2011 and the remaining labs become available mid-March 2011.  All labs will be available in the Training Materials section of PartnerSource and CustomerSource. 


  • One more update from our friends at MIX:

    The future of the web is at MIX11, Apr 12-14 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Register by Feb 11 and save $500 + free hotel night. Click here to learn more

    By the way, there's some excellent restaurants in Mandalay Bay - Burger Bar, RM Seafood, and Fleur. If you need recommendations ask me! :)


  • |

    Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010

    Okay, it’s not really the entire class, and you do have to pay the registration fee for the Microsoft Certified Career Conference (so much a pittance compared to the $18,500 price tag on the full MCM track that I can’t even express it as a discount percentage), but still:

    At the Microsoft Certified Career Conference, you can attend about a half-day’s worth of content from the actual MCM: Exchange Server 2010 class, delivered by one of our official MCM instructors!

    This is the first and only time we’ve offered our MCM training without requiring you to register for the full class and certification, and we’re also throwing in:

    • Previews of each MCM certification and training offering.
    • Live Q&A with our MCM product managers.

    I know I’m going to attend it (it’s the only way I’ll ever get to see it… I’m too rusty to pass the required screening for the full track!)

    Hope to see you there too…

  • I have been involved in Exchange training and consulting for the past 12 years. I’ve seen Exchange progress from a decent messaging system in Exchange 5.5 to the present release of Microsoft Exchange 2010. There have been many improvements over the years. I am going to list some of the best features of Exchange 2010 for you to help you understand why you may want to implement Exchange 2010 with training at QuickStart Intelligence. Here you go: 

    8 reasons to use Exchange 2010 as your messaging system:

    • Incredible storage improvements. From improvements to the Store Schema, Sequential I/O, Larger page file size with cache dehydration together provide another 70% reduction in disk I/O over Exchange 2007’s improved I/O. When you compare the I/O from Exchange 2003 to the I/O of Exchange 2010 there is a whopping 90% reduction!! This could allow tier 2 SATA storage for your Exchange Mailbox Database storage. I say could because there are many other factors to look at for your storage. Fiber Channel SAN’s and SAS storage still have many advantages over tier 2 SATA storage.
    • Role Based Access Control, which allows more concise administrative privilege assignment in Exchange 2010. It works because of the new PowerShell remote capabilities allowing for PowerShell commandlets to be tailored to exact administrative needs and sent remotely to an Exchange server. There are built in RBAC groups that have very specific privileges based on need and assigned specific PowerShell commandlets to execute without provided any unnecessary privileges. One example is the Discovery Management group having the privilege to perform multiple mailbox searches without any additional permission assignment.


    • Unified messaging has much tighter integration with Office Communication Server to provide a complete phone, video, and presence support. Also included with 2010 Unified Messaging is support for Voice to Text. Which will allow a voice mail to be viewed as text instead of listened to.


    • Conversation view in Outlook Web App and Instant Messaging support are great new features too. Also, Exchange 2010 supports all browsers with premium service. That means Safari or Firefox clients will get the same premium access to their mailbox as Internet Explorer clients.


    • Federated Sharing policies allow a 2010 Exchange organization to share calendar and contact information with another Exchange 2010 organization.


    • Email Archiving support by allowing users to have an additional mailbox (archive) to have their mail stored in as opposed to a PST. The new Archive mailbox is much more attractive with SP1 since it allows for the Archive to be in another Database other than the primary Mailbox is in. With the archive you can bring your users PSTs back in house and under your administrative control which will make any e-discovery much easier. This could also leverage the cheaper Tier 2 SATA drives as well.


    • In Exchange 2010 all mail clients connect to their mailbox through the Client Access Server. That means Mapi clients running Outlook, as well as all other clients will connect to their mailbox via the Client Access Server. Seems like a step backwards until you look at the benefits of doing this. One thing we get is the ability to move mailboxes while the user is online. The CAS server maintains a connection to the original location for the user and the user can send and receive mail the entire time the mailbox is being moved. After the last message is moved the CAS server disconnects the user from the old location and connects them to the new location. They will only experience a brief disconnect-reconnect and may need to re-open outlook. But the entire move didn’t affect the user at all while in progress.


    • Another benefit to having all mail users connect via the CAS is the Database Availability Group, commonly referred to as a DAG. My favorite new feature of Exchange 2010 is the DAG. The DAG is Exchange 2010’s version of log shipping that was introduced with Exchange 2007. Unlike 2007 however, the DAG is capable of failing over at the Database level. Which means the server itself will continue to provide all other services it is configured with, but the failed DB will automatically be failed over to another copy of that DB in the DAG. This happens automatically without any intervention from the Exchange Admin at all. Also, you can have other roles on the Mailbox server that is in a DAG. So companies that have fewer users could have 2 servers with all roles installed and be configured in a DAG and support high availability for all roles, CAS, HT and MB. Very cool.


    There are many things to get excited about with Exchange 2010. Have you taken advantage of all the new features? What kind of experience have you had with Exchange?


    Pat Utley, QuickStart Intelligence, Principle Systems Engineer, MCITP, MCSE, MCT

    exchange 2010