70-646 Beta and Other certification happenings!

As I have written in the past, I took 71-643 beta exam in December. At the time, I thought it was a beast of an exam, and after the exam during the comments section, I put down what I thought about the exam. I recorded items like that I believe virtualization products should have a separate exam, and that common topics like disk configuration should not be part of the exam. Imagine my surprise when Microsoft comes calling in mid-January that I did well, and they invited me to come to Redmond, WA to participate in an exam focus group.

I knew a few other people who have had this opportunity, and they overwhelmingly have said “go for it.” Microsoft will be paying for my traveling expenses and per diem contracting fee as well. I will be flying on Tuesday night and then leaving on an early Thursday morning red-eye flight, so I won’t have a lot of time to see Seattle. I will however have time to continue my quest to visit a Brazilian steakhouse (Ipanema Brazilian Grill) in each city I visit. (As an aside, the best Brazilian steakhouse in Los Angeles metro area has to be Brasa Brasil Restaurant in Culver City. It was much cheaper than Fogo or M-Grill, and I thought the food and the service to be more attentive.)

On January 30, I also took the 71-646 beta exam too. If I passed (I believe I have a good chance), I will achieved the MCITP (or Professional-level) as Server Administrator. The exam was actually easier than perhaps the MCTS exams (70-643) in my opinion. The questions focused more on picking the right solution rather than perhaps technical details. Some of the PKI questions were pretty detailed in their solutions however.

I was somewhat disappointed to not get any design type question (page long case study with a series of questions on the topic). I thought those type of questions would be highly appropriate for this level exam. On topics covered, I saw a number of file replication and the aforementioned PKI questions. If I fail, it will be due to the PKI enhancements between 2003 and 2008 technologies.

There were even a couple easy subnetting and GPO questions, which I thought were throwback to former exams. You have to appreciate the few giveaway questions that they include at times. I was also fortunate that Server 2008 is very evolutionary from 2003 R2, so while perhaps technology may change, the solution probably is the same.

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