Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • Breaking News: Microsoft Announces the Windows 8 Editions (SKUs)

    This is great… Today Microsoft announced that there will be three (count ‘em.. 3) editions of Windows 8 when it goes on sale – presumably later this year. 

    “Wait a sec…only three?  Didn’t Windows 7 come in 6.. or more?”

    Yep.  Three.  Brandon LeBlanc writes on the Windows Team Blog that Windows 8 will be delivered as:

    1. Windows 8
    2. Windows 8 Pro
    3. Windows 8 RT

    Download the Consumer PreviewThe first two editions on the list are for PCs/Desktops/Laptops that have the Intel and AMD CPUs.  They will still come as 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.  Plain “Windows 8” is the consumer edition.  “Windows 8 Pro” is the edition for business and for tech enthusiasts.

    The third one, “Windows RT”, is the new version that will ship pre-installed on ARM-based PCs and tablets.  It’s the version that was formerly referred to as Windows-on-ARM or WOA.

    “This all sounds great.  It’s certainly much less confusing.  But what features or applications are available in these?  How do they compare?”

    Read the full post for the full details – including a chart that compares the versions.

    Oh.. one more thing.  Now it’s official: The product is called “Windows 8”.  Go figure.  Smile

    Also -

    “NOTE: As with previous versions of Windows, we will also have an edition of Windows 8 specifically for those enterprise customers with Software Assurance agreements. Windows 8 Enterprise includes all the features of Windows 8 Pro plus features for IT organization that enable PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios, and much more.”

    So I guess if you count Windows 8 Enterprise edition, there are actually 4 SKUs.  But who's counting?


    What do you think?  Do you like this move?  Does it make sense?  Share your rants in the comments, please.

  • Breaking News: System Center 2012 RTM eval is avalable to all

    Download the tools to manage your private cloud here.Wonderful news!  Today at the Microsoft Management Summit going on in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced the availability of System Center 2012

    You can start your evaluation downloads now:

    Pass it on!

  • Breaking News: New Microsoft Certs Align to Cloud–The MCSE is back!

    Hot off the newswire:

    Today Microsoft announced some changes to the certification program for IT Professionals, in order to address the growing need for people being able to prove their expertise in all things cloud-related.

    MCSE: Lead your organization to the cloud

    “Wait.. you said that “the MCSE is back’.  Huh?!”

    That’s right.  What was the well-known “Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer” acronym MCSE has been re-purposed.  It now stands for “Microsoft Certified Solution Expert

    From the press release…

    Because cloud computing talent is in short supply, Microsoft has reinvented its flagship credential, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, for the cloud. The new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) shows employers and peers that those certified have the skills to do the job in an expanding market. Forecasts show that public and private IT cloud services will generate nearly 14 million jobs worldwide between now and 2015.1The MCSE is the flagship credential for those who want to lead their company to the cloud and is the target credential for established IT professionals and developers who have expertise working with Microsoft technology solutions.

    “The new Microsoft certifications are raising the bar across the industry and reflect industry shifts that require a broader knowledge base and deeper skills across solutions that cloud computing requires,” said Don Field, Microsoft’s senior director of Product Management. “The Microsoft certifications reflect the experience and skills needed to build, manage and evolve solutions in a cloud-based environment, ensuring validation of real-world skills for individuals and helping hiring managers identify the best-qualified job candidates.”

    The new framework will help IT professionals and developers navigate their own path, while also making it clearer for hiring managers to identify credentials that offer the greatest value to their organization’s needs.

    “So… just when I get my MCITP they go and do this?  What happens to my MCITP?”

    Yeah.. I know.  And honestly I haven’t looked into what it means for current certifications.  But if the past is any indication, your existing certs are still valid and valuable.  And if I were still on the path to getting my MCITP: Virtualization Administrator, I’d still do it.  Those skills are still valuable, and will be a good foundation for the new certifications.  (Hint: Take 70-659.  Pass it.  You’ll thank me.)

    “What tests are required for this?”

    The official path to the MCSE: Private Cloud certification is:

    1. Get your MCSA: Windows Server 2008 R2 if you don’t have it already.
    2. Take exam 70-247: Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012
    3. Take exam 70-246: Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012

    Go to the MCSE Page at Microsoft Learning for all the details.  There is also an MCSE path for SQL Server.

    Here’s a video that summarizes the value, too…


    “Are you going to get this private cloud certfication, Kevin?”

    Definitely.  Probably sometime after July 1st.  (Microsoft Employees know what I mean.  Smile)

    Another hint: Get started with System Center 2012.


    What do you think?  Should we start an MCSE: Private Cloud study group?  Are you going to go for it?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

  • MCSE News Update: More Details

    Immediately after my previous blog post about the new cloud-centric MCSE certifications, I received an instant message and an e-mail from the group responsible for it.  They thanked me, and then asked if I would please share some additional information.  So the following text comes directly from that e-mail:

    MCSE PageMove Your Career to the Cloud with the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert certification

    Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is a reinvented certification for today’s technology solutions

    Microsoft has reinvented its certification program by building a broader and deeper set of technology solutions skills validation, starting with cloud-enabled solution skills. As one of the most recognized and respected certification programs, Microsoft is charting the path for IT Professionals and Developers to keep their skills relevant as new technology solutions are released.

    Reinvented, Not Just Renamed

    Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) emphasizes solutions

    Microsoft has reinvented its certifications to validate the skill sets needed to develop, deploy, and maintain Microsoft technology solutions. These certifications recognize IT Pros and Developers who have skill sets that run both broad and deep. Certifications are available at three skill levels:

    Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

    The Associate level is the prerequisite certification necessary to get your Expert level certification. This certification validates the core skills you need to get your 1st job in IT.

    Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) & Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)

    The Expert level is Microsoft’s flagship set of certifications validating that your skills are relevant in the constantly changing tech environment. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is the destination for established IT Professionals who have expertise working with Microsoft technology solutions. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) is the destination for established Developers who have expertise developing solutions with Microsoft tools.

    Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM)

    After you have achieved your Expert level certification, Master is the next destination. This certification is for the select few who wish to further differentiate themselves from their peers and achieve the highest level of skills validation.

    The Cloud Changes Everything

    Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) helps bridge the new cloud computing talent gap

    “With the demand for cloud skills growing quickly, the gap between hiring demand and talent supply across the United States is getting larger and causing more difficulties in sourcing candidates.”
    - Wanted Analytics, Hiring Demand for Cloud Computing Skills Skyrocketing, March 2012

    The need for cloud computing skills has been pushing the market for months. Solution providers are seeking cloud-ready employees to bring their businesses to the next level. The cloud computing market is evolving at such a pace that while the number of job postings is skyrocketing, the talent isn't there to fill the positions.

    In the past 20 years, Microsoft Certifications have been THE tool to address the skills gap. To be relevant, certifications need to continue to be the tool needed and recognized in the market.

    That’s why Microsoft has reinvented its certification program—to certify a deeper set of skills that are mapped to the Cloud and to real-world business contexts. Rather than testing only on a component of a technology, IT Professionals and Developers are now tested on more advanced skills and a deeper understanding of the technology.

    New Certifications Are Available Now

    Private Cloud and SQL lead the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) reinvention

    We’ve posted a lot more information about the reinvented program and the first new certifications: Private Cloud MCSE, Database MCSE & Business Intelligence MCSE:

    You may also wish to encourage your readers to take advantage of a new 2-for-1 exam offer from Prometric:

    Prometric 2-for-1 offer:

  • Breaking News: And the official name of Codename:Windows Server 8 is…

    Ooo!...  Ahhhh!...

    [drumroll, please]

    Windows Server 2012!

    I bet you didn’t see that one coming.

    Download the Beta HERE

  • Breaking News: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 is RTW

    RTW = Released to the Webitubes

    Download the new MDT here

    Wow.. what a big week. The System Center 2012 release, the official naming of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, and now the newest version of the MDT - Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 – is released and available for download.

    For those not familiar with it, the MDT is “a Solution Accelerator for operating system and application deployment.”  Here is the overview from the download page:


    Deploy Windows 7, Office 2010 and 365, and Windows Server 2008 R2 with the newly released Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012. MDT is the recommended process and toolset for automating desktop and server deployment. MDT provides you with the following benefits:

    • Unified tools and processes, including a set of guidance, for deploying desktops and servers in a common deployment console.
    • Reduced deployment time and standardized desktop and server images, along with improved security and ongoing configuration management.

    Some of the key changes in MDT 2012 are:

    Highlighting was my own.  Notice that this is a good start in helping you gear up for your Windows 8 deployments.

    Get it HERE.

    And for even more information, be sure to check out the Microsoft Solution Accelerators page, and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Team Blog.