Wednesday, May 17, 2017

This week in the Lab

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The past couple weeks, I haven't been to productive in my studies, so I'm going to recap the few things that I've done so that I can reference it later. Everything here relates to the MCSA 2016 upgrade. 

I haven't done much reading at all, especially compared to my previous output.  But what I have been reading, slowly, is Mastering Hyper-V 2012 R2 with System Center and Windows Azure by John Savill on Books 24x7.  Hyper-V and the Cloud (ie: Azure) seem to be a big topic on the current exam topics, so I'm reviewing everything that I haven't touched much since doing the MCSA 2012 upgrade exam.  Thankfully I'm not seeing anything that feels completely new, just stuff here and there that I definitely need to knock the rust off on.  I've also started on Software Defined Networks: A Comprehensive Approach by Göransson, Black and Culver.  SDN was talked about heavily in the Introducing Windows Server 2016 book, so I figured I had better get the fundamentals down now.  Books 24x7 also has Mastering Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V, also by John Savill, which I'll start on once I finish the two titles I'm currently working through.

In the basement, I rebuilt both of my Hyper-V servers to Server 2016 Data Center, and put another physical disk in my domain controller and shared it out via iSCSI.  Then over the next few days, I built a Hyper-V Failover cluster with those two hosts and the iSCSI storage.  Rather than follow a step by step guide, I instead did it all from memory and a whole lot of trial and error, only consulting a book or TechNet when I was completely stuck.  Hence it taking a few days rather than a few hours.  But the cluster is up and running.

The first high availability VM that I built was a new IPAM server running on Server 2016.  The nice thing here is, when you use 2016 Data Center edition, you can build an unlimited number of Server 2012r2 and 2016 VMs on those hosts, you just use the AVMA keys to activate them and those VMs will run just fine on any host with 2012r2 or 2016 Data Center.  I started out with an IPAM server because I'm past the point of outgrowing the spreadsheet I use to track everything, especially now that I've started moving to IPv6 in the lab.

Next up, I need to take care of that 2012r2 domain controller so I can raise my DFL/FFL to 2016 before I start running into things that require that.

And for 70-417 study guides, there's the MS Press book, and the Sybex book.  Does anyone have a preference?  With everything else that I have read/am going to read, I don't imagine there being a need to buy both. I just want something comprehensive that goes over all the topics to gauge where I'm at as I get towards the end of this journey.

MCSA Study Progress by Topic:

Install and configure servers - I've installed and configured hundreds of servers on all editions of Windows, both in the lab and on the job.  I need to work with Storage Spaces some more, but overall I'm good here.
Configure server roles and features - Haven't done much with non-domain joined servers, but I'm good here as well.
Configure Hyper-V - I've done a lot of work here, especially recently and I've been trying to pay careful attention to what's new in 2016 as I go along.  But overall, I'm good here.
Install and administer Active Directory - Need to work on IFM and AD IaaS from Azure.
Deploy, manage, and maintain servers - My old nemesis from the 2008 and 2012 exams.  Data Collector Sets, monitoring, perfmon, and all that.  Need a lot of work here.
Configure network services and access - DirectAccess, something I want to setup for practical purposes.  Implementing DirectAccess with Windows Server 2016 is on Books 24x7 and I'll follow along in the lab while reading that.
Configure a network policy server infrastructure - a lot of fun stuff here, and I need to put in some time on all of it.
Configure and manage Active Directory - A lot of newer advanced features of AD.  I need to put in some time on most of it.
Configure and manage Group Policy - Looks like there's not really anything new here and it will focus on topics that have been around in previous versions of Windows.  Just need to knock off the rust here.
Configure and manage high availability - A lot that I've already suffered through with my Hyper-V cluster.  Need to continue practicing.
Configure file and storage solutions -  Looks to be all recent additions to windows and stuff I haven't seen before.
Configure business continuity and disaster recovery - I need to hit the Azure stuff, but it's just more Hyper-V topics for the most part.
Configure network services - IPAM.  Labbing this now.
Configure access and information protection solutions - ADFS.  This is the stuff that I've always avoided getting too deep into because I never had the capacity to really implement it in the lab.  I do now, so I'll be spending time on it. The servers are being provisioned now that the Hyper-V cluster is up. Related topics such as AD RMS will be worked on too even though they're not specifically mentioned in the topics.


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