You have seen a lot of messaging from Microsoft as well as others in the tech industry regarding Private Cloud. With the update of the System Center 2012 Suite to Release Candidate status, we have a very solid platform for IT Pros to develop and implement their own Private Clouds. This suite of products can be a bit intimidating particularly if you are just entering the computing field. Even if you have been the IT Industry for many years, there is a need to have a solid understanding of Virtualization basics to effectively implement a Private Cloud.

One way to demonstrate capability and understanding of Microsoft Virtualization solutions is to take and pass the Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Exam (70-659). I took and passed this exam last year and I was surprised by the wide variety of topics that were covered. There are a variety of resources to assist you in prepping to take this exam and I have gathered some of those here for you. I hope this study guide helps you!

Windows Server 2008 R2 Home

First things first – Download a trial version of Windows Server 2008 R2 and install it to a capable machine that you can use for study and learning.

Nothing beats hands-on experience. I guarantee you that you will learn faster and gain a deeper understanding if you have a machine you can touch and work with in person. I would recommend a Quad-Core machine that has at east 16 gigs of RAM and reasonably fast hard drives. Preferably high capacity 7200 SATA drives. If you have access to a SAN/NAS that would be a plus.

 

Study Resources for 70-659 – Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization

Creating and Managing a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 Jump Start

This two-day accelerated Jump Start course is led by Symon Perriman and the industry’s most gifted private cloud experts. Leveraging Microsoft’s popular Jump Start approach to the virtual classroom, the instructor team will provide IT Professionals with critical training on how to design, deploy and configure Microsoft’s private cloud using Windows Server and System Center 2012 on day 1, then how to manage and operate the environment on day 2.

Learning Plan for Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization (exam 70-659)

This learning plan is intended to help IT professionals gain the knowledge and skills required to implement and manage a Windows Server 2008 R2 server virtualization environment, and ultimately to prepare for Microsoft exam 70-659.

Learning Plan for Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator (exam 70-693)

Even though this free learning plan is a guide for a different exam, the resources here are key to understanding virtualization core concepts. Much of the information here will help you gain understanding of virtualization and assist you with the MS70-659 Exam.

Microsoft eLearning Course – Collection 10215: Implementing and Managing Microsoft Server Virtualization

This collection of six self-paced, downloadable courses teaches IT professionals how to deploy and manage a server virtualization environment that leverages Microsoft technologies.
Topics covered in this collection include:

  • Virtualization Planning and Setting Up Hyper-V
  • Using Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2
  • Configuring and Managing the VMM Library, User Roles, and the VMM Self-Service Portal
  • Maintaining, Backing Up, and Restoring Virtual Machines
  • High Availability, Monitoring, and Reporting
  • Using Remote Desktop Services

Instructor Led Course (5 day) – Implementing and Managing Microsoft Server Virtualization

If you would prefer a instructor led course, this five-day, instructor-led course will provide you with the knowledge and skills to deploy and manage a server virtualization environment using Microsoft technologies. The course provides details on how to deploy and manage Hyper-V and Remote Desktop Services on Windows Server 2008 R2. The course also provides details on how to manage a server virtualization environment by using System Center products such as System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008, SCVMM 2008 R2, System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 R2, and System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2. This course does not require previous server virtualization experience, but does require that students have significant experience in managing Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

 

Self-Paced Learning

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft Virtualization for VMWare Professionals – The Platform

Virtualization has become a key component of any modern datacenter, offering such advantages as easier deployment, resource pooling, server consolidation, application compatibility, high-availability, reduced costs and centralized management. The Platform course offers a deep-dive into the important technologies that contribute to the core virtualization infrastructure, and is the first track in the three track program covering Microsoft Virtualization. Learn about Microsoft’s virtualization offerings and strategy, datacenter planning, Hyper-V architecture, VM management, virtualized networking and storage, numerous other Hyper-V features, as well as advanced management with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. Understand high-availability and disaster recovery considerations to keep your VMs up and running using Windows Server Failover Clustering. Explore how Hyper-V is both different and similar to VMware virtualization through technical and terminology comparisons. By the end of this track you will have the tools you need to plan, design and deploy your virtualized datacenter or Private Cloud infrastructure.

TechNet Virtual Labs

There are a wide variety of free virtual labs available on the Microsoft TechNet site. At this time, there are no specific labs on configuring or administering Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008. However, there is a section on the System Center products that do cover pieces of Hyper-V virtualization that will dive deeper in virtualization.

Books

Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V Resource Kit

In-depth and comprehensive, this official RESOURCE KIT delivers the information you need to plan, implement, and manage a virtualized enterprise infrastructure. Covers R2 features. You get authoritative technical guidance from those who know the technology best—leading industry experts and the Windows® Virtualization Team—along with sample scripts, job aids, and other essential resources.

Mastering Hyper-V Deployment

This is a great book by Aidan Finn. Now in its second generation, the popular Hyper-V boasts technical advances that create even more dynamic systems than ever before. This unique resource serves an authoritative guide to deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V comprehensively. Step-by-step instructions demonstrate how to design a Hyper-V deployment, build a Hyper-V host environment, and design a management system with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2.

  • Features real-world examples that show you how to design a Hyper-V deployment, build a Hyper-V host environment, and design a management system
  • Walks you through incorporating System Center Operations Manager 2008 R2, System Center Data Protection Manager 2010, and System Center Essentials 2010
  • Offers authoritative coverage of Hyper-V security, business continuity, and an array of VM roles, including domain controllers, Exchange Server, SQL Server, and System Center

 

Additional Resources

VirtualBoy Blog

One of our own Microsoft employees, Matt McSpirit, wrote a blog post about his experience studying for and taking the 70-659 exam.

Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog

This is the official team blog for everything virtualization at Microsoft. This is an excellent resource for information as well as breaking news.

 

I hope this resource help you in your quest to get certified. I am also working on some additional blog posts and videos on specific topics that will help you with your study and learning!

Cheers!