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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

Exam 70-659: TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization – Done!

Exam 70-659: TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization – Done!

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Verdict: Tricky.

I’ve just got back from sitting the 70-659 TS exam, on WS 2008 R2, Server Virtualization, and thankfully, I passed!  To anyone thinking of sitting the exam, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s really difficult, but it’s the little aspects of the technology, like the features and functionality you don’t necessarily use very often, that may catch you out.

If we take a look at the skills being measured, from here: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?ID=70-659#tab2

Skills Being Measured

Installing and Configuring Host and Parent Settings

  • Add the Hyper-V role on Windows Server 2008 R2.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: installing and configuring Hyper-V on Server Core, verifying BIOS settings (i.e. DEP), adding the Hyper-V role using Virtual Machine Manager, configuring Hyper-V Server R2, identifying hardware requirements
  • Enable remote management.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: deploying Virtual Machine Manager Agent, configuring firewall rules, configuring Virtual Network Manager settings
  • Configure virtual networks and VLAN security.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring Media Access Control (MAC) address pools, configuring network locations, configuring VLAN tags, configuring VLAN security, configuring virtual networks
  • Configure storage.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring Multi Path Input Output (MPIO), executing the mpiocpl.exe command, dynamic I/O redirection, iSCSI initiator, executing the iscsicli.exe command

Configuring Child Settings

  • Configure child resources.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring disks, networks, CPU, and memory
  • Configure child storage.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring Dynamic VM storage, creating differencing disks, configuring pass-through disks, taking snapshots, managing GUIDs, managing logical unit numbers (LUNs), editing VHDs, copying physical disks to VHDs
  • Configure child network adapters.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: creating synthetic and emulated network adapters, configuring MAC spoofing, configuring VLAN ID, configuring Jumbo frame, configuring TCP Offloading Engine (TOE)
  • Create and deploy virtual machines.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: creating, cloning, deploying, and saving virtual machines using Virtual Machine Manager; creating virtual machines using Hyper-V Manager, configuring Self-Service Portal, scripting and deploying virtual machines using Windows PowerShell

Managing and Monitoring Virtual Environments

  • Solve performance and resource issues.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO), monitoring the environment by using System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, configuring event triggers, allocating resources by using Virtual Machine Manager, monitoring performance and diagnosing issues by using Performance Monitor or Resource Monitor
  • Configure delegation of rights.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: creating user policies for Self Service Portal, creating and managing templates, managing and replicating libraries in Virtual Machine Manager
  • Create roles and configure authorization rights.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: creating roles and delegating rights using Authorization Manager (AzMan), delegating rights manually
  • Manage non-Hyper-V-aware virtualization hosts.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: managing ESX/VI3 VMware hosts by using Virtual Machine Manager, managing Virtual Server 2005 R2 hosts using Virtual Machine Manager

Ensuring High Availability and Recoverability

  • Manage snapshots.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: taking, reverting, merging, deleting, and applying snapshots; configuring storage locations
  • Manage backups.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: managing online and offline backups by using DPM, Windows Server Backup, or Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS)
  • Perform non-clustered migrations.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: performing a SAN migration of child partitions, performing a network migration of child partitions
  • Configure quick and live migrations.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring network and storage for clustered Hyper-V setup, enabling Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV), configuring dynamic I/0 redirection

Performing Migration

  • Perform physical-to-virtual (P2V) migration.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring Virtual Machine Manager Intelligent Placement, performing online and offline migrations
  • Perform virtual-to-virtual (V2V) migration.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring Virtual Machine Manager Intelligent Placement, performing online and offline migrations
  • Perform import/export migration.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: migrating virtual machines between Hyper-V hosts using the Export/Import feature in Hyper-V

Configuring Remote Desktop (RD) Role Services Infrastructure

  • Configure RD session host.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring session host settings, network-level authentication settings, license settings; restricting users to single remote session; allowing time zone redirection; configuring resource redirection, configuring encryption, configuring multi-monitor support
  • Configure RD licensing.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: activating and deactivating Remote Desktop License Service, installing and revoking client access licenses (CALs), reporting on CAL usage
  • Configure RD Connection Broker.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: installing the RD Connection Broker, configuring DNS for Connection Broker, configuring Connection Broker farms, integrating with RD Virtualization Host role service
  • Configure RD Gateway.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring RD Gateway, integrating RD Gateway with network access protection (NAP), configuring authentication authorization
  • Configure RD Web Access.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configuring RD Web Access, configuring authentication options (forms, single sign-on), configuring per-user RemoteApp program filtering, configuring public and private computer options

My Advice

The majority of the pieces of information above, are focused on the core features and functionality around the products, Hyper-V, SCVMM and RDS, however, in my particular exam, there were a number of questions around lesser features, which may, if you’re like me, be less frequently used, and these are the ones that will catch you out if you’re not au fait with them.  If there’s any on the list above that you think “hmm, I don’t know that 100%!”, I would advise you to read up on it, or it will catch you out!

So, specifically for me, I wouldn’t say I'm a frequent user of CMD tools, like scconfig, icsicli etc, but I would recommend you brushing up on the relevant information around these commands, and having a good old play with a test box if you can get your hands on one.  You could do this virtually between 2 VMs if need be.

It’s important to understand the subtleties between the different types of networks that Hyper-V provides, and how these can be configured around isolation.  Understanding the 2 different types of VM NIC, along with IDE/SCSI controllers inside VMs is also important.  You also need to know your storage, and by that, I don’t just mean iSCSI/Fiber, but more specifically around VHDs, Pass Through Disks and so on.

A relatively high proportion of my exam was focused on VMM, which included looking at delegated administration, through to the usage and configuration of the self-service portal, again, features that I personally don’t use all the time, hence you become rusty around those areas over time, so sharpen up!  Also, I don’t tend to use VMM to manage VMware infrastructures, yet, as it lists above, it’s a core piece of SCVMM, so even if you can’t try it out, I would definitely recommend brushing up your reading around that!

Sticking with the management theme, because I use SCVMM the majority of the time, and that provides me with pretty much all I need from a control and administration perspective, I’ve never actually used Authorization Manager, or AzMan, which is more specific to Hyper-V.  If you’re in the same boat, I’d strongly consider reading up on it.  Again, I’ll reiterate what I said earlier – it’s the little things that will catch you out!

Obviously snapshots are an important consideration in a Hyper-V environment (and one that can sometimes bite you in the backside if you’re not careful!), so I would say ensure you understand the subtleties around snapshots, and also backup.  You may never use things like SAN Migration, but again, it’s important to know the details around it.

In my role, it’s rare that I need to perform any kind of P2V, and in fact, I’m yet to perform one with SCVMM 2008 R2, but I wish I had before I sat the exam!  Again, it’s the little details, like Service Pack levels, FAT disks, Minimum RAM etc that can catch you out, but also, and more specifically for Offline P2V, troubleshooting drivers etc, which I would recommend brushing up on.  If you’ve never done a P2V, you don’t technically need a Physical machine to test it on – you can use a current VM, and do it from that if you like.  P2V aside, it’s also important to have a play with the Export/Import side of things.

Final part, and something that came as a bit of a surprise to me, was the RDS bits.  If you’ve watched any of my RDS videos, you’ll have a good idea about what the different components with RDS look like, and have a reasonable idea of how they work together, and are installed/configured, but I’d recommend having a deeper look at the bits above, especially things like the RD Gateway, with it’s RAP/CAP options  There’s some good information on TechNet about the RDS side of things.

If you’re thinking about sitting the exam, best of luck!



Comments
  • Hey Matt,

    Congratulation for your success

  • Thanks Amit - I appreciate your kind words!

  • Hey Matt,

    I also want to take the exam.

    In the Skills Being Measured Page of this test i can't find any information about the tested versions of Hyper-V or SCVMM.

    Is it just around Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V R2 and SCVMM 2K8R2? No questions about Hyper-V in Server 2008 or older versions of SCVMM?

    Greetings from Germany.

    Andi

  • Hey Andi,

    Thanks for getting in touch.  Within my exam, I don't recall any questions on the previous versions of Hyper-V and SCVMM - there were separate exams for that (70-652, and 70-403), so this exam is a rollup of those two exams, and is focused on R2.  Don't forget though, SCVMM 2008 R2 can manage Hyper-V R1, so that's something to have in your mind as you're preparing for the exam, just in case you get a question here or there that refers to it in a mixed environment.

    Hope that helps!

    Matt

  • Thank you Matt, this is very helpful for me!

  • Matt, once again a very useful blog post.

    I had a quick internet search last night to find out about the 70-659 exam and stumbled over this post only to find that RDS was a topic on the exam. Lets just say some last minute cramming paid off well.. I owe you one

  • I Passed this exam a few days ago and agree with your very helpful tips above. The majority of questions, as you say, are around Hyper-V, although I do recall one, maybe two on ESXI.

  • Hi Matt,

    Is there any study material out there or forthcoming?

    Thanks,

    John

  • Hi John,

    I would say a good place to start is TechNet, with it's Learning Plans for that exam: learning.microsoft.com/.../Catalog.aspx if you take a look, it gives you some useful guidance on different resources you can utilise, such as books, articles and courses.  I'd also recommend this www.amazon.com/.../0470876530 and this: blogs.msdn.com/.../free-ebook-understanding-microsoft-virtualization-r2-solutions.aspx - they may not be focused on the exam, but they certainly provide lots of useful information.  If you're a Microsoft Partner, if you log into the Partner Learning Center inside the Microsoft Partner Network website, and do a search for Virtual Exam, there is a set of recorded sessions which present an exam cram session, with demos, to help you understand the requirements more.

    Hope that helps!

    Matt

  • I just passed this exam today, and I wanted to thank you for your blog post. I only had the 70-652 Training Kit from Microsoft to use, along with the list of Skills being Measured from the 70-659 info, but it helped to see your points about the 'little things' and RDS; otherwise I wouldn't have boned up on them as much as I did.

    Interesting that there's still not much info out on the web from people who've taken this exam.

  • hey guys im a bit nervous i've never written an open book exam on 70-659 how do they test u?

  • Hi ndiphiwe,

    Don't worry, it's multiple choice, but i don't think it's open book - i certainly couldn't take any materials in with me!

    Matt

  • HEY GUYS IM READY TO TAKEON MY 70-640 INTERNATIONAL ON THE 9 DEC ANY LATEST LINKS I CAN CHECH OR BLOGS?

  • For 70-640, I would suggest the resources on this page: www.microsoft.com/.../exam.aspx

    Hope that helps!

    Matt

  • Just curious why Microsoft has not issued official books for exams like 70-659. It ould make the process a bit easier.

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