#60Days2MCSE Challenge – The Plan – The Resources

Challenge Summary:

On April 15th @MichaelBender challenged the readers of MS Learning’s Born To Learn blog. The challenge is to complete the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Private Cloud Certification. This certification requires five exams, I have completed three of these already so I decided that I will take on the challenge of completing two of these exams by/at Tech Ed! I am required to complete two exams, however there an extra exam that is a possible substitute. The exam is the 70-659 (Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization), which will count as the 70-247. Throughout this blog post I am going to outline my tentative schedule and some of the learning resources I’ve already gathered.

Quick Tips:

  • Read Born To Learn
  • Follow Hash Tag #60Days2MCSE
  • DO LABS! – This is the best way to learn is by doing!
  • Watch Videos – I personally gather more watching than reading

The Plan:

To complete a task like this you need to have a plan, and my plan is in the form of resources I will be using and a schedule I will be following, the schedule isn’t going to be easy considering I am graduating from college in 22 days, and I am at the beginning of finals now.

The Schedule:

Week 1:

This week will consist of mostly planning and gathering, considering I will only be doing my studying for week 1 for the next two days because of school/work obligations. However I have already started by deciding to take this challenge and gathering the resources I am going to use in this post. This week I will begin by watching the Train Signal Videos for Microsoft Server Virtualization Training available for purchase at Train Signal.

Week 2:

Week 2 will be pretty simple, I plan to continue knocking out the Train Signal videos however considering there are 25 videos equaling nearly 14 hours I should be finishing this somewhere around the middle-late week 2. If I complete the Train Signal videos I will continue by finding supplemental reading materials about this exam most likely through technet. For week 2 I will also be working on acquiring the hardware which I’ve already started looking into, you will find my potential hardware build in the resources below.

Week 3:

Time to cram with any possible materials I find, I will be taking Exam 1! Near the end of Week 3 it is my goal to have passed the 70-659 exam, this exam will cover my first exam requirement that I am missing for my MCSE: Private Cloud. This week I hope to have acquired my hardware and will begin building the true lab environment for learning.

Week 4:

Now that I will have the 70-659 out of the way I will switch gears to the newer cooler technology System Center 2012! My first resource I will be reading through and hopefully following through will be the Microsoft Private Cloud: Evaluation Guide, which I have no idea where I found this downloadable PDF, but I have attached it for your downloading pleasure!

Week 5:

I have a feeling I am going to get tired of reading guides so I am going to mix in some of the MMS videos I have linked below in as additional study material. I did not link all MMS videos, just the ones that I believe are close to the curriculum that will be covered on the exam.

Week 6:

We are getting close! Now it is time to learn great details and depth into these systems… that means White Papers! I found this white paper on Microsoft Private Cloud shared on twitter which I plan on at least reading partially and continue watching the videos from MMS that are linked below. I will also be spending a good chunk of my focus on the Microsoft Private Cloud Guided Labs.

Week 7:

Week 7 is going to be me continuing with the guided labs, possibly some videos and making myself comfortable for this exam. I’ll tell you now there is a good chance I’ll have the MMS videos playing while I drive so I can at least listen (I will not watch it and try to drive at same time I promise!)

Week 8:

Tech Ed!!!! Whew this is going to be the most fun week, considering it is the last one (hopefully)! This will also be a short week considering I am hoping to have this done by June 10th. I am going to be driving to Tech Ed, and that means it is a 16 hour 24 minute drive for me. I will be leaving my home (sometime) on the 9th of June, and taking my exam (hopefully) sometime in the afternoon on the 10th.


Microsoft Jump Start! Microsoft Server Virtualization (70-659) – Cost $99 + You get Exam Voucher
Microsoft E-Learning Materials for 70-659
Server Lab Hardware Guide: Blistering Fast Windows Server Parts
Microsoft Private Cloud Evaluation Guide (PDF)
Microsoft Private Cloud Guided Labs
Microsoft Private Cloud Evaluation Software
Private Cloud Jump Start Videos

MMS Videos:

AM-B310 – I’ve Deployed Operations Manager Application Performance Monitoring (APM): Now What?
AM-B313 – Why Should IT Pros Care about Application Management?
AM-B316 – Server App-V: End-to-End Virtual Application Deployment Using System Center 2012
AM-B318 – Operations Manager: Application Monitoring Overview (.NET + Java)
AM-B319 – Managing from the Cloud
AM-B321 – System Center 2012 Suite: Real-World Solutions by CSC and Royal Mail
CD-B207 – Configuration Manager 2012: Getting Started
CD-B311 – Configuration Manager 2012: Application Management Technical Overview
CD-B315 – Configuration Manager 2012: Plan, Deploy, and Migrate from Configuration Manager 2007
CD-B327 – Configuration Manager 2012: Deployment and Infrastructure
CD-B328 – Configuration Manager 2012: Maximizing Security
CD-B329 – Configuration Manager 2012: Operating System Deployment Technical Overview
CD-B330 – Configuration Manager 2012: Overview
CD-B331 – Configuration Manager 2012: Security and Compliance Management
CD-B406 – Configuration Manager 2012 and PowerShell: Better Together
CD-B408 – Implementing Security Compliance Manager for Compliance in Configuration Manager 2012
CD-B409 – Configuration Manager 2012: Application Management Advanced Topics and Troubleshooting
CD-B410 – Configuration Manager 2012: The Expert Quiz
CD-B411 – Configuration Manager 2012: Infrastructure Advanced Topics and Troubleshooting
FI-B307 – Cloud Clustering: Leveraging System Center 2012 for Continual Availability in the Private Cloud
FI-B316 – Operations Manager: Network Monitoring
FI-B317 – Operations Manager 2012: Overview of What’s New
FI-B318 – System Center 2012: Managing Multiple Hypervisors, VMware and Xen, and How They Fit into the Microsoft Private Cloud
FI-B320 – Virtual Machine Manager 2012: Service Creation and Deployment from the Ground Up
FI-B321 – Virtual Machine Manager 2012: Maintenance and Updates to a Service and the Underlying Hypervisor Infrastructure
FI-B322 – Virtual Machine Manager 2012: PowerShell Is Your Friend, and Here’s Why
FI-B323 – Virtual Machine Manager 2012: Feature Drilldown on Libraries, Service Template Import/Export, and More
FI-B327 – Automating Protection and Recovery with Data Protection Manager and the System Center Suite
FI-B328 – How to Build a Microsoft Private Cloud in Your Own Lab in 1,000 Tiny Steps with Free Trial Software
FI-B330 – System Center 2012 Unified Installer
SD-B305 – Operations Manager and Orchestrator: Better Together
SD-B306 – System Center 2012 Self Service: The Future of SSP
SD-B307 – Service Delivery and Automation: Configure and Deploy
SD-B308 – Service Delivery and Automation: Monitor and Operate
SD-B310 – Service Manager 2012: Automated Request Offering in Six Steps
SD-B315 – System Center 2012: Monitoring and Operations Tips and Advice
SV-B310 – Deep Dive: Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Hyper-V Changes – Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX


I would like to thank everyone who may have shared some of these resources on twitter, or other blogs that I stumbled upon. Specifically a big thanks to Phil Schwan of MyITForum for posting how to download the MMS videos and the cementer on his site Joe Gasper for linking them for easy downloading!

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