Home » Posts tagged 'Windows Server 2008 R2'
Tag Archives: Windows Server 2008 R2
This article was originally published in June, 2012. Due to the relevance and current interest in certifications I decided to republish. -MDG
When I found out that Microsoft Learning was (again!) revamping the certification stack, I thought to myself that after all these years it might be time to stop chasing certifications. After all, when they created the MCTS/MCITP model I had to essentially start from scratch, and if they were doing that again it might not be worth the effort.
Let me clarify that statement… Certifications are extremely valuable and necessary to an IT Pro, but at a certain point you have proven yourself… I have by now passed over 35 Microsoft exams, and expect that by now people know that I am established.
I stated in an article earlier this month that certifications are not for our current job, they are for your next job. Unfortunately, as a contract worker, I am always working for my next job. That means that I always have to maintain my certifications current, or at least I cannot let them get stale… Once I became an MCITP: Enterprise Admin on Server 2008 I might have gotten away with not taking my exams for Windows Server 2012… but because the new generation revolves around solutions rather than products I expected I would need at least my MCSE: Private Cloud… then people looking at my credentials would know I knew at least Windows Server 2008 R2 and System Center 2012.
As I stated earlier, the requirements for an MCSA: Windows Sever 2008 are the same requirements you previously needed for the legacy MCITP: Server Administrator. It is three exams, and you are certified. I assume that when Windows Server 2012 comes out there will be a new MCSA for that platform, and I have no early insight into what that will look like, nor how many exams will be required.
My point is this though. Now that the junior certification is now three exams deep, it is going to be harder for people to claim the title. When I first got certified any exam you took earned you the title Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). I knew people who passed one exam, and coasted on that certification for years. Heck, I was one of them for about a year… at least the first exam that I took was for Windows 2000 Professional, and not a sales-related exam, which gave you the same MCP title.
That problem was supposed to be resolved in the next generation, the MCTS/MCITP era. At the beginning there was talk that not every exam would earn you that MCTS certification, and I believe that on the dev side there were a couple of those. However on the IT Pro side there was never an exam that did not give you a cert… so when I passed three exams to get my MCITP: Virtualization Administrator cred, I had three certs, including two MCTS and the one MCITP.
I was asked this morning by Veronica Sopher of Microsoft Learning what I thought of the 70-246 exam, and my first response was it was ugly. However that was my way of saying that it was tough, and that it tested your knowledge of a lot of different products in a relatively small number of questions. In truth I am glad that it was as tough as it was (now that I have passed) because it means that Microsoft is trying to make earning your senior certifications more difficult, which means that you will really need to know your stuff. A step in the right direction, no doubt!
As for the Master level – the Microsoft Certified Solutions Master – I assume this is still going to be out of my grasp, until I decide to take a job running the infrastructure for a major international company. I like what I do, so I don’t know that is in the cards. However If you are an MCSM (equivalent to the former Microsoft Certified Master / MCM) then you are certainly recognized as a very top expert in the technology.
If the MCSM is anything like the old MCM then you not only have to know the technology, you then have to spend several weeks in Redmond on the Microsoft Campus learning from the product team, and then have to pass a series of exams and boards. There is a reason they are called Masters… it is not for the faint of heart!
I appreciate Microsoft Learning’s revamped certification plan. It makes it harder to ‘just get by’ and easier to distinguish IT pros by the exams they have passed. I think it’s a step in the right direction, and look forward to seeing what other MCSE tracks will be revealed as the next generation of Windows operating systems launch later this year!
On July 5th I published an article titled A Response to VMware’s ‘Get the Facts’ page comparing vSphere to Hyper-V & System Center’. In the seven weeks since it went live it has become the 4th most read article I have ever published (in seven years as a blogger), as well as being by far the most commented on, discussed, and shared article I have ever written.
André Andriolli, a former VMware field engineer and now a Systems Engineer Manager with VMware in Brazil, responded very well. One of the first points he made was:
we should start by comparing what’s in the market TODAY with what’s in the market today: I mean vSphere 5 versus Hyper-V 2, or vSphere 5.1 with Hyper-V 3. Since vSphere 5.1 news are not in the street yet, we should go with the first. Comparing a future MSFT release with what VMware customers are running for over 1 year now is simply not fair, to me at least.
While I did not entirely agree with this at the time, I accept that it is a valid point. I am looking forward to hearing comments in the next few weeks though… as Windows Server 2012 (with Hyper-V 3.0) becomes generally available on September 4th, and vSphere 5.1 becomes available on September 11th.
My opinion is simple… VMware still makes a great product, but so does Microsoft; the benefits of the former, in my opinion (and that of many VMware customers I have spoken with), simply are not worth the the difference in cost over the latter. While it will be a relief that VMware is abandoning their Virtual Memory Entitlements (commonly referred to as the Memory Tax), I think the last year will have left a sour note with a lot of their customers, and given them an opportunity to see for themselves just how good Hyper-V really is.
I do like the fact that both platforms are being released at the same time though; I once made a comment that I regretted right away that of course one would always be ahead of the other because one would come out with a new feature, and the other would take that feature and include it in their next release, along with whatever else they were planning, and that would continue on. For the next year the two will be compared as equals.
Now, this is one place where VMware has a slight advantage… insofar as they have a one-year product cycle, and Windows Server has a 3-year product cycle. This was adjusted last year when they took the rare step of adding new (and major) functionality into Service Pack 1 of Windows Server 2008 R2. For now, frankly I am not sure that pound for pound Hyper-V (with System Center) is not already the better product. I guess we will find out what the market says though…
If you are in Toronto, we would love for you to join us for the Windows Server 2012 Launch Event on September 5th, or if you are in another city across Canada, later in the month. Check out Ruth Morton’s blog to see the dates, and to click to register. We hope to see you there!
- A Response to VMware’s ‘Get the Facts’ page comparing vSphere to Hyper-V & System Center (garvis.ca)
- Is it true? The Memory Tax is gone! (garvis.ca)
- Windows Fever… Catch It! (garvis.ca)
I have been a virtualization guy for a long time, so when Microsoft released Hyper-V 2.0 with Windows Server 2008 R2 I was among the first to ask why they weren’t including it in the client OS. In my opinion it was a no-brainer.
With the launch of Windows 8 with the client-side Hyper-V, they made a Layer 1 hypervisor available to the masses. True, there have been free Layer 1 hypervisors for years (Hyper-V Server, ESXi and others), but they required another machine to manage them, and those machines had to be properly networked. There are people out there who do not have multiple systems to play with. When it comes to doing demos outside of your office environment not only would you need two systems, but they would both have to be portable. For most of us, this was unmanageable.
Of course, Windows 7 did have Virtual PC, and even Windows XP Mode. These were great solutions for what they were, but Virtual PC never supported 64-bit guests, which meant that in order to run a x64 OS (such as Windows Server 2008 R2) you needed a third-party virtualization platform. It also meant that, as an MCT, if you wanted to run the Microsoft Official Curriculum courses on your system you needed to be running Windows Server 2008 as the base OS.
Alas, in Windows 8, Windows XP Mode is no more; however that doesn’t mean that if you need to run Windows XP you cannot simply build a Hyper-V machine running that OS. Same is true for Windows 7, which I run in a VM for two distinct reasons: so that I can answer questions for the vast majority of people who are still running that platform, and because Windows 8 no longer supports desktop gadgets. (If this second reason sounds a bit peculiar, then you should know my secret: I use the Windows XP End of Support countdown gadget to keep you all informed as to the number of days left until #EndOfDaysXP ).
In my professional capacity I have needed Hyper-V on my laptop for several years; I have used one of three methods of achieving this need: Dual Boot, Boot from VHD, and occasionally Native Boot. All of this because I also needed the Windows client on my laptop. Now, however, I can run my virtual machines (32-bit or 64-bit) from Hyper-V in Windows 8, and I don’t have to decide how I am going to boot my laptop each time I start up.
In addition to installing Hyper-V in the Native Boot Windows 8, you can also install it in a Boot from VHD environment, as well as on a Windows To Go (WTG) key. However on those you should be even more aware of where you are storing your VMs, because storage space will be more scarce.
In addition to the native hypervisor, you might also want to install the Hyper-V Management Tools (either GUI or PowerShell, or both) on your client. By doing this you can now manage remote Hyper-V servers from your desktop (in the same way that you could do in Windows 7 by installing the Remote Server Administration Toolkit).
To install these features, simply open the Windows Features screen, and select the desired features (Hyper-V Platform, Hyper-V Management Tools).
- From the Windows 8 Start Screen type Features. Ensure that Search is in the Settings context.
- Click Turn Windows Features On or Off.
- The Windows Features window will appear (pictures at left). scroll to the Hyper-V context.
- Expand Hyper-V, and select the desired features.
Just as is needed in Server, Windows will install Hyper-V, and then will need to reboot twice (See the article Layer 1 or Layer 2 Hypervisor? A common misconception and a brief explanation of the Parent Partition).
Once the reboots are complete, you will be able to create and start virtual machines, just as you would in Windows Server. You can import and export them, pause, save, and snapshot them… just like you would in Windows Server!
Now it is important to remember that the same hardware requirements for Hyper-V apply to the client. Your CPU needs to support hardware virtualization, and it must be enabled in the BIOS. For that reason I don’t expect that MacBook users will be taking advantage of this option. You also need to have Second Level Address Translation (SLAT). However if you bought your PC within the last five or six years (and it doesn’t have an ATOM processor) then I expect you will be fine.
By the way, while I was writing this article I was made aware of a similar one in Windows IT Pro Magazine. Check out Orin Thomas’ article on the Hyperbole, Embellishment, and Systems Administration Blog called Windows 8’s “Killer Feature” for Microsoft Certified Trainers.
Good luck, and may the virtual force be with you!
- Hyper-V on the Client: How to install the hypervisor on Windows 8 (garvis.ca)
- Windows Fever… Catch It! (garvis.ca)
Hyper-V is, as I have mentioned in this space before, going to be a game changer. I am really looking forward to the new maximums both of the host and guest machines. However those of you who have become familiar with Hyper-V over the past couple of years, you will be able to hit the ground running because there really isn’t much of a learning curve because as you will see in this demo, the basic functionality is as it used to be… with a couple of very minor changes. Watch! –M