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Microsoft – Passed the free exam 74-409 Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center

As I mentioned earlier, Microsoft is offering free exam vouchers for the new exam “74-409 Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center”. For more information, take a look here.

I took the exam today and passed after having studied very hard for over a week (including pulling an all nighter today). I’m happy to have my first certification for the year 2014 already though :)

In my opinion the exam contained too many repeating (easy) questions on specific subjects, but there were also some very difficult questions about really specific situations. I personally would’ve preferred more “medium difficulty” questions.

All in all I learned a lot from preparing for the exam and I’m very happy with all the new things Microsoft has added to their new products.

If you are looking to take the exam as well, take a look at my previous post that contains the resources I used for preparation.

Good luck and enjoy. I’ll be going for some well earned sleep now :)

 

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Microsoft – Preparing for free exam 74-409 Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center

Exam dumps

Unfortunately I’ve received numerous requests for an exam dump of 74-409 which really upsets me.

For those that are not aware of it, you are not allowed to share or use exam dumps. “If Microsoft learns that a candidate used a “brain dump” site to prepare for an exam, this candidate will be permanently banned or prohibited from taking any future Microsoft Certification exams and may be decertified from the Microsoft Certification Program. In addition, test scores and certifications, if applicable, may be revoked. These actions may be taken even if the candidate did not intend to defraud the Microsoft Certification Program.”

For more information, see:
http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2013/01/02/why-brain-dumps-are-bad.aspx

Preparing to take the exam

This is generally what I do for preparing to take the exam:

  1. Determine the skills that are measured in the exam 74-409
  2. View the online course Server Virtualization with Windows Hyper-V and System Center at Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA)
  3. Reflect how confident you are that the online course has provided you with sufficient skills to take the exam.
  4. Optionally enhance your knowledge using:

Specific topics and resources I used while studying:

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Microsoft – Free exam 74-409 Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center

Microsoft is offering free exam vouchers for the new exam “74-409 Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center” to attendees of the Jump Start. The amount of free exams is limited, so be sure to register for the “Server Virtualization w/ Windows Server Hyper-V & System Center Jump Start” as soon as possible.

Also for those interested in free VMware Certified Associate (VCA) exams, time is running out. For more info, take a look at my previous post.

 

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Powershell – Recording of ‘The Case for PowerShell: Why To Learn-PowerShell So You Needn’t Leave-Industry’

Last week Mark Minasi presented a webinar made possible by http://www.learnit.com called:
“The Case for PowerShell: Why To Learn-PowerShell So You Needn’t Leave-Industry”.
The recording can be found here.

In this webinar he explains why ICT administrators need to be(come) familiar with PowerShell. He also explains the basic principles of PowerShell to help lower the threshold for people that have been shying away from command line interfaces (CLI) and scripting in the past. He does this by explaining how PowerShell is different from by example the CLI and Visual Basic Scripting (VBS).

I share his opinion about the necessity to learn PowerShell and therefore I hope I can help spread the message.

You can keep track of Mark Minasi by following him at Twitter: https://twitter.com/mminasi (@mminasi).

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Microsoft – RTM versions of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 now available for MSDN and Technet subscribers

Even though it seemed for a while that MSDN and Technet subscribers would not get early access to the latest Windows versions, Microsoft decided to listen to customer feedback and reconsidered.

As a result, they just made the RTM versions of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 available for MSDN and Technet subscribers. General availability for both Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 is still October 18. For the official statement, read this blog post.

Personally I’m very stoked about Server 2012 R2 and I’m already running the preview version. I especially love the improvements on Hyper-V and de-duplication. For more information about new and improved functionality, take a look at the free e-book : Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Release.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Microsoft – Troubleshooting Key Management Service (KMS) activation

Today I helped a colleague troubleshoot a couple of systems were unable to activate using Key Management Service (KMS). Basically for this situation it boiled down to this:

Determine for the KMS service

  1. Which server is hosting the KMS service.If an SRV record has been added for KMS DNS auto discovery, run from CMD: nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp
  2. If the server hosting the KMS is functioning correctly:
  • Check if the server is up and running.
  • Check if the “Software Protection” service (sppsvc) is running.
  • Verify if the KMS service is listening on port 1688: telnet localhost 1688
  • Verify the KMS status. Run from CMD: slmgr.vbs /dli
  • Verify if a KMS key is installed and activated.
  • Verify if the minimum threshold for activation is being met.
  • Verify if other clients are able to activate using KMS. Even though the output of “slmgr.vbs /dli” gives you an indication, you can use the “Volume Activation Management Tool” (VAMT) for more insight and functionality.
  • Verify that a VLK key is being used.

For clients that are not able to activate

  • Verify if the correct KMS server can be resolved correctly:
    nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp
  • Verify if the KMS can be contacted:
    telnet <KMS FQDN or IP> 1688

    •  If this is not the case, perform a traceroute to determine potential causes. Reasons could include:
      • No default gateway configured on the client to reach the KMS.
      • No route configured on the client to reach the KMS.
      • Firewall on the client is blocking the traffic.
      • Firewall on the server is blocking the traffic.
      • If it is a VM, the virtual network might be misconfigured.
      • Routing on the network is not correct.
      • Firewall on the network is blocking traffic.
  • Clear any previous (mis)configuration: slmgr.vbs /ckms
  • Attempt activation: slmgr.vbs /ckms

NOTE: If you have lots of systems where you need to clear configuration and then attempt activation, you can also perform slmgr.vbs on remote computers using:
slmgr.vbs TargetComputerName [username] [password] /parameter [options]

Additional information

If you haven’t been able to resolve the issue, you might want to take a look here:

 

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TechNet subscriptions will be retired, last week to get or renew a subscription.

As you might have already read by now in my previous post, TechNet subscriptions are going to disappear. For more info take a look at this blog post and the Subscriptions retirement FAQ.

This is just a reminder that you have until August 31 to buy a last year of technet.

You might also want to backup existing keys and files:
http://www.zdnet.com/five-things-every-technet-subscriber-needs-to-do-before-time-runs-out-7000017687/

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in Network, Windows 2012

 

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Sample ICT troubleshooting process flowchart

Troubleshooting can be very difficult and there are many different approaches and personal preferences. Also the chosen approach can even differ based on the situation.

Even though there is no troubleshooting process that is  best in all situations, it is considered a good practice to troubleshoot in a structured manner.

This is why I’ve created a sample ICT troubleshooting flowchart in Visio for companies that:

  • Have separate dedicated management teams for various IT disciplines like Windows, Linux/Unix, Database, Backup, Storage, Virtualization and Applications.
    • Have both offshore and onshore IT personnel where all tickets are initially routed to the offshore team.
  • Uses a ticketing system:
    • To log events, incidents, changes, problems, etc.
    • To route tickets to various disciplines.
  • Use a CMDB.
  • Use a change calendar.

Keep in mind that this is a sample troubleshooting flowchart that was only created to provide some structure or inspiration for troubleshooting.

I hope it is useful. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please leave a message.

PS: If you don’t have Visio, you can download Microsoft Visio Viewer 2013 from Microsoft.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in ICT, Microsoft

 

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Microsoft – Exchange 2013 exam preparation notes for 70-341 and 70-342

In October 2012 I took the beta exams for Exchange 2013. Since there were no books yet, I created a One Note document with all kinds of notes gathered from various sources including TechNet, blogs and 3rd party tech websites. I totally forgot to post these on my blog back then, but better late then never.

I’ve uploaded the original One Note document and a PDF version and a Word version, because the conversion from One Note to WordPress is not really perfect.

But still it’s up to you to use whatever you prefer. Also since there are now books and video training materials, I would recommend you use these as well for preparation.

Enjoy.

General

  • Various
    • EAC (web based Exchange Administration Center)
    • Set-ServerComponentState to take CAS or Mailbox offline
    • Cmdlet enhancements
    • Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) –> Exchange Online Protection (EOP)
    • EAC Feature Panes info
    • Site mailboxes accessible through sharepoint and Outlook 2013, but don’t appear in OWA
    • Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW)

What’s New in Exchange 2013

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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TechNet subscriptions will be retired without a proper alternative. Sign the petition !

As you might have already read by now, TechNet subscriptions are going to disappear. For more info take a look at this blog post and the Subscriptions retirement FAQ.

The most important stuff:

  • TechNet Subscription are sold through the TechNet Subscriptions website until August 31, 2013.
  • Subscribers may activate purchased subscriptions through September 30, 2013.
  • The TechNet benefits portal and the subscriber downloads page will remain available for non-Volume Licensing subscribers through September 30, 2014.
  • Alternatives mentioned by Microsoft are:
    • MSDN subscriptions
    • Windows Azure.
    • Technet Evaluations (time limited).
    • Technet Virtual Labs.

I personally think this is not a good way to go because the TechNet software is used by many people to increase their skills (often even for a large part in their own time). Because of this, Microsoft products can add even more valuable for companies. Making it harder to get the required software and to keep it running for a longer time will probably scare people away or it will steer them towards hacked/cracked versions.

Basically if you want to have access to non time limited versions of enterprise products of Exchange, Lync, Sharepoint, System Center, etc. you need to take a $6000+ MSDN subscription. Currently I’m paying for TechNet Pro myself which costs 375 euro and I will take a Technet Subscription for this last year. I hope that Microsoft will have come to its senses by then and has provided a proper alternative. For now I would like to ask everyone that feels the same to sign the petition to get a decent TechNet alternative.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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