Exam tips 70-664 70-243 70-246

Wow busy weeks! I have been busting my ass of lately to study for my 3 exams I have had the last weeks.
First of I started last monday with 70-664 TS: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Configuring
Then Thursday this week I took:
70-243 Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

&
70-246 Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012  (This one is part of the MCSE private cloud track)

Was it hard?
Yes.. its stressful and might give you a mild heart attack, just saying!

How did you do it?
Lync 2010: This was the hardest part since It was my first time I ever touched the Lync platform, but I already had experience on Exchange which was a huge benefit.
But I have been reading for it for about 3 months. I used this book –> http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mastering-Microsoft-Lync-Server-2010/dp/1118089537/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340618444&sr=8-1
And I also setup a full virtual environment for Lync which I tested a lot! Of course I cannot test all of the functionality since It requires hardware I don’t have. But the book manages to give you a good understanding of how Lync works.
ConfigMgr 2012: I have been using ConfigMgr 2012 since the first beta was released, and I already had experience from SCCM 2007 so this was the easiest one.
Private Cloud: Like ConfigMgr I’ve been using all of the system center products since they were released in Beta, some of the products I had experience from the previous releases, but some I had my first experience with in the 2012 release.

Study tips:
Lync 2010:

Order a book! I would recommend the book I used –> http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mastering-Microsoft-Lync-Server-2010/dp/1118089537/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340618444&sr=8-1
Setup a virtual environment! You can only get so far with just reading the book, you need hands-on experience in order to fully understand Lync, it’s a complex bit of machinery.  You also need an internal PKI setup in order to install Lync.
Also you need to know the basics of how to publish resources via Forefront TMG. You don’t need to go so far as to order a book, but If you want to I would recommend this –> http://www.amazon.co.uk/Microsoft-ForeFront-Management-Administrator%2527s–Administrators/dp/0735626383/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340618754&sr=1-1
Use Technet for Lync. Microsoft has loads documentation for their products –> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg398616.aspx

I also have a couple of blog posts regarding Lync basics and setup.

https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/lync-2010-getting-started-and-the-basics/
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/lync-2010-setup-and-installation/

Remember to don’t overdo it Lync is huge and you can’t learn everything, remember what skills are tested in the Exam.

Managing Users and Client Access (20 percent)

  • Configure user accounts.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: enabling Active Directory users, moving users, applying policies to users, and managing users in bulk
  • Deploy and maintain clients.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: deploying Communicator, configuring group policy, configuring client version policy, deploying the Attendee/Attendant consoles
  • Configure conferencing policies.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring general conference settings, configuring A/V settings, configuring web conferencing settings, and configuring Application Sharing settings
  • Configure Instant  Messaging (IM) policies.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: file transfer filters and URL filters
  • Deploy and maintain Lync Server 2010 devices.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: publishing device updates, configuring device policies, managing and deploying common area devices and analog devices
  • Resolve client access issues.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: enabling/disabling logging, using Snooper to open and navigate trace file, troubleshooting EWS and Address Book errors, using client tools to troubleshoot connectivity issues, and troubleshooting certificate errors

Configuring a Lync Server 2010 Topology (21 percent)

  • Prepare to deploy a topology.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: installing local configuration stores, provisioning servers in Active Directory, modifying features and roles on Windows servers, preparing DNS, deploying the Central Management Store
  • Configure Lync Server 2010 by using Topology Builder.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring site details, configuring simple URLs, site federation route, configuring Lync Server roles and pools, and using the Best Practices Analyzer to validate deployment
  • Configure role-based access control in Lync Server 2010.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: creating and assigning roles
  • Configure a location information server.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring LIS with Windows PowerShell, creating and assigning location profiles, associating addresses with physical locations, and enabling/disabling E911 disclaimer
  • Configure server pools for load balancing.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: hardware load balancing and DNS load balancing

Configuring Enterprise Voice (19 percent)

  • Configure voice policies.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: user, site, and global, configuring phone usages, and running test cases
  • Configure dial plans.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: normalization, assessing impact of trunk groups, and accommodating PBX coexistence
  • Manage routing.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring and troubleshooting voice routing
  • Configure Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging integration.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: dial plans and policies
  • Configure dial-in conferencing.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring access numbers and dial-in participant settings
  • Configure call admission control.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring and troubleshooting Bandwidth Management
  • Configure Response Group Services (RGS).
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring agents, RGS groups, RGS queues, and RGS workflow
  • Configure Call Park and Unassigned Number.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: feature interaction
  • Manage a Mediation Server pool and PSTN Gateway.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: creating and configuring a Mediation Server pool, configuring Media Bypass, configuring Gateway settings, and coexistence and migration considerations

Configuring Lync Server 2010 for External Access (19 percent)

  • Configure Edge Services.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to; configuring Director Services, creating and configuring external access pools, and configuring federation
  • Configure a firewall.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: IP addresses, port settings, NAT, and routing
  • Configure a reverse proxy.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring certificates, Lync Server web components, and Autodiscover

Monitoring and Maintaining Lync Server 2010 (21 percent)

  • Back up and restore Lync Server 2010.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: SQL databases and instances, contacts with dbimpexp, topology with Topology Builder, topology with PowerShell and file shares, and activating CMS on a new front end
  • Configure monitoring and archiving.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: reporting services and SQL, archiving IM and Group Chat, monitoring A/V quality, and compliance considerations
  • Implement troubleshooting tools.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: analyzing events logged in Windows Event log, creating a trace file with OCSLogger, analyzing troubleshooting data, and selecting a troubleshooting tool
  • Use PowerShell to test Lync Server 2010.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: proactively testing connectivity and topology and using synthetic transactions

And last but not least, get a basic understanding of what Powershell cmdlets are available.

ConfigMgr 2012:

Same procedure as Lync, first of order a book!
There are already a couple of books avaliable from Amazon.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/System-Center-Configuration-Manager-Unleashed/dp/0672334372/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340619190&sr=8-1
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mastering-System-Center-Configuration-Manager/dp/1118128982/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1340619190&sr=8-3
Setup a virtual environment, ConfigMgr requires less infrastructure then Lync, and you can test all of the functionality from a virtual lab.

I have a lot of post regarding ConfigMgr 2012 how to setup and the different settings you can do.
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/system-center-2012-sccm-part-1/
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/sccm-2012-part-2-configuration/
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/sccm-2012-part-3-client-configuration/
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/sccm-2012-security/
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/sccm-2012-cas/
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/sccm-client/
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/forefront-endpoint-protection-in-sccm-2012/
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/sccm-2012-and-pki/

I would also recommend taking a look at MVP Niall Brady Site windows-noob.com he has a lot of guides for ConfigMgr 2012.
http://www.windows-noob.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4045-system-center-2012-configuration-manager-guides/

And also get a good understanding of what log files are used in ConfigMgr 2012 (And there are a lot!)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh427342

Use Microsoft Technet:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682041.aspx

Use Microsoft Virtual Academy: They have their own track for ConfigMgr 2012 which you should take!
https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/tracks/overview-and-infrastructure-changes-in-sccm-2012

Last but not least, remember what is being tested on the exam.

Design and Plan System Center Configuration Manager Infrastructure (13%)

  • Plan System Center Configuration Manager hierarchy and site system roles.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: pre-installation requirements, examining the current computing environment, CAS, primary and secondary sites, branch cache, designing and recommending System Center Configuration Manager server architecture, extending the Active Directory schema (DNS service records, WINS), managed providers, discovery methods, and planning migration
  • Plan and configure security.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: PKI or self-signed certificates, HTTP or HTTPs implementation, NAP, FEP, and planning role-based security
  • Define the Business Continuity Plan (BCP).
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: disaster recovery and site maintenance

Manage Operating System Deployment (OSD) (12%)

  • Configure the OSD environment.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring WDS, configuring PXE, configuring the VM build environment, and integrating with MDT
  • Build and capture an image.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: updating base images, task sequences
  • Deploy an image.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: new (bare metal) and upgrade images, VHD deployment
  • Manage images.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: drivers, servicing

Deploy Applications and Software Updates (14%)

  • Create an application.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: defining deployment types, deploying applications to RDSH, MSI, and App-V, and converting a package
  • Deploy an application.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: user device affinity, compliance settings, Software Center, and task sequences
  • Monitor application deployment.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: resolving issues, managing application distribution points, distribution point groups, Content Library, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), log files, and In Console Monitoring
  • Manage the software library and application catalog.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: web portal configuration, work schedule, and definition of primary machines for users
  • Create and monitor software updates.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Automatic Deployment Rules (ADR), SSRS, creating update groups, creating deployment packages, log files, and In Console Monitoring
  • Configure FEP clients by using System Center Configuration Manager.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: creating and managing policy by using Configuration Manager, configuring definitions within the client policy, exporting from Configuration Manager, choosing which template to use, and select exclusions

Manage Compliance Settings (11%)

  • Build a Configuration Item (CI).
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: creating a CI, importing a CI, setting CI versioning, and remediation rules
  • Create and monitor a baseline.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: importing a configuration pack, building a custom baseline, SSRS, log files, In Console Monitoring, deploying a baseline

Manage Sites (12%)

  • Manage collections.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: setting maintenance windows, defining rules for collections (collection membership, query-based collections), collection-specific settings
  • Monitor site health.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: SSRS, log files, In Console Monitoring, Toolkit
  • Configure software updates.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: sync schedule, catalogs, products, WSUS, and superseded updates
  • Manage site communications.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring bandwidth settings for a site address, configuring senders, secondary sites (file-based replication, SQL replication paths), resolving DP connections
  • Manage boundary groups.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: creating boundary groups, using boundary groups in more than one DP, client roaming, Internet-based clients
  • Manage role-based security.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: security scopes, custom roles, cloned security roles and permissions

Manage Clients (14%)

  • Deploy clients.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: GPO, WSUS, logon scripts, manual, client push, OSD task sequence, monitoring client health
  • Manage mobile devices.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: enrolling mobile devices, Exchange Connector, AMT enrollment point (out-of-band management), and wiping mobile devices
  • Manage client agent settings.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: desired configuration settings, mobile device client agent, NAP client agent, configuring power management, configuring remote control agent, hardware inventory agent, software inventory agent, software metering agent, advertised programs agent, computer agent

Manage inventory (12%)

  • Manage hardware inventory.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring MOF, export and import settings, enabling or disabling WMI classes, extending hardware inventory to other client assets, WMI or registry reporting
  • Manage software inventory.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: standardized vendor name, list of tracked inventory, report inventory data, asset intelligence, software metering (enable or disable rules, report software metering results)
  • Monitor inventory data flow.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: client-to-site, site-to-site

Manage Reports and Queries (12%)

  • Build queries.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: console queries, WQL, sub-selects
  • Create reports.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: cloning and modifying reports, creating custom reports, import and export reports
  • Manage SSRS.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring security, configuring caching, configuring subscriptions

Private Cloud 70-246:
Again, books…. There is a book available from Amazon –> http://www.amazon.co.uk/Microsoft-Private-Cloud-Computing-Aidan/dp/1118251474/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340619577&sr=8-1
Remember this exams test your knowledge of many products which include, SCVMM, Orchestrator, Service Manager, Operations Manager, SCDPM, App Controller. It is not as “in-depth” as the other exams but you need to know your stuff.
I would also recommend visiting MVP Kristian Nese’s blog, he has a lot of post regarding much of the exam objectives –> http://kristiannese.blogspot.no/
Remember test test test in a virtual lab, know how these products integrate and how the communicate!
And Microsoftvirtualacademy.com has a lot of courses relating to each of these system center products so take a look there.

And Last but not least, don’t overdo it. Each product alone is a HUGE subject and you can’t possibly know every detail about each and every product. Look at the Exam Objectives –>

Configure Data Center Process Automation (17%)

  • Implement workflows.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: SCO Runbook automation, automate remediation of incidents, design and build end-to-end automation incorporating System Center 2012 technologies
  • Implement service offerings.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Add a new service offering to the service catalog, create a custom workflow using the Service Manager console, reference Orchestrator workflows in Service Manager

Deploy Resource Monitoring (20%)

  • Deploy end-to-end monitoring.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Deploy agents, Discover and deploy network device monitoring, import and configure management packs, deploy and configure monitoring of a heterogeneous virtualization infrastructure
  • Configure end-to-end monitoring.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Configure overrides, create synthetic transactions, configure Outside-In monitoring, configure application performance monitoring (APM), create distributed application models
  • Create monitoring reports and dashboards.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Service-level tracking, reports, dashboards

Monitor Resources (23%)

  • Monitor network devices.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Analyze network device health, manage Operations Manager alerts, manage notifications
  • Monitor servers.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Monitor the Operating System Environment (OSE), monitor server applications, manage Operations Manager alerts, manage notifications
  • Monitor the virtualization layer.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Monitor host and guest performance, monitor virtual applications, manage Operations Manager alerts, manage notifications
  • Monitor application health.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Application Performance Management (APM), synthetic transactions, manage Operations Manager alerts, manage notifications, distributed applications

Configure and Maintain Service Management (18%)

  • Implement service level management.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Define service level objectives (SLOs) and service level agreements (SLAs), implement SLA management and escalation, maintain SLAs (including planning for future growth), analyze SLAs (reporting)
  • Manage problems and incidents.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Working with problems, working with incidents, root cause analysis/diagnosis
  • Manage cloud resources.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Deploy new applications, deploy VM/service (applications, SQL, roles), demonstrate application deployment leveraging service templates, manage applications, manage VM hardware (CPUs, Dynamic memory), manage self service

Manage Configuration and Protection (22%)

  • Manage compliance and configuration.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Security and compliance management (includes IT GRC process management pack), analyze and remediate configuration compliance, analyze data in System Center Advisor
  • Manage updates.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Update machine roles in a service template, manage and update applications across multiple clouds, manage software updates
  • Implement backup and recovery.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Back up/recover product settings, Back up/recover the cloud infrastructure, manage backups (protection groups, storage), implement business continuity for the cloud

I also have a some blog posts regarding each product.
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/scvmm-2012/
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/system-center-service-manager-part-1/
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/monitoring-sccm-2012-via-scom-2012/
https://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/scom-2012-part-1-installation/