A free guide to exam prep resources 70-296: Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment for an MCSE Certified on Windows 2000
Needed to upgrade a Windows 2000 MCSE to Windows 2003
Passed on 6/29!
Passing score is 700 -- I think that's standardized across MS exams now.
I saw lots of GPO questions, lots of CA questions, lots of DNS questions. I wasn't really prepared for the Intrusion detection questions of which I got 2 or 3.
The Vue testing center I used was open an extra day this week due to lots of MCSE upgrade candidates, so I guess I'm not the only one!
The push is on, for me at least, to hurry up and complete the upgrade of my MCSE. With Windows Server 2008 (or whatever Longhorn is eventually called) coming pretty soon, many of us need to finish this thing up. If we finish the certification by June 30, 2007, we get 40% off the upgrade to Longhorn!
Daniel Petri provides a good overview of the upgrade requirements. As far as I understand, MS does not intend to decertify current MCSE's. But this exam and 70-292 are available for those who want to stay with the latest technology and upgrade their certs. Under the 2003 track, the requirements for an MCSA are a direct subset of those for an MCSE. This probably means that one would be advised to take 292 before 296 ... but until I've taken them, I can't say for sure. Microsoft's MCSE FAQ covers several of the general questions as well. I hope you find this guide helpful in your test preparation, as well as my other lists.
Jon N's 70-296 Exam Study Notes are excellent.
Good luck & good studying to all.
Microsoft Press has a book out,
Introducing Windows Server 2003, which looks good as far as I've gotten in it.
I have used
Sybex' Windows 2003
MCSA / MCSE upgrade book.||
Every Server 2003 administrator will want the Resource Kit on his desk. I'm linking
to the online version for certain points, so you can start using it before
buying from Amazon.|
The software to play withThe Windows Server 2003 Trial Edition is available from Microsoft for free. It has a 180-day license - long enough to practice & take at least a couple tests. Until July 31st shipping of the CD is free as well, for those who want the CD or don't want to burn all that bandwidth downloading it.
General info on Windows Server 2003
Online resources by exam objectivePlanning and Implementing Server Roles and Server Security
Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Network Infrastructure
Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining Server Availability
- MS explains Scalability in Windows 2003. Whitepaper -- so it's a lot of fluff w/ some good info & diagrams thrown in.
- OK, clarify a distinction here ...
- Server Clusters are for stateful applications (e.g. SQL Server, Exchange).
- Network Load Balancing Clusters are for stateless applications, IIS being the primary example. I read that VPN's can also use NLB clusters ... interesting. Also Terminal Services ... see below.
- What about websites that do maintain state, usually via session variables? That gets you into the NLB details ... specifically the Affinity settings on the Port Rules tab.
- Component Load Balancing can still be added with Application Center 2000.
- Server Cluster architecture in 2003. If you just want to know how to set it up, start at page 26. Until then, it goes a little deep in the architecture for this test, but interesting ... to a software architect, at least!
- Clustering Services under 2003. Server clustering, NLB, etc. List of what's changed from 2000.
- Storage Area Networks in 2003 clusters. SAN's weren't addressed that much under 2000 as those who took
70-226 as their design elective will recall.
- SAN's are now fully supported by server clusters.
- There are some definite Do's and Don't's associated with them -- begin about page 22 for those.
- This paper is a great introduction to SAN's.
- I don't think there's a thing in the paper you need for the test.
- 2 types of quoroms in clusters.
- Multi-site load-balanced clusters -- Want to
split your application (Exchange, SQL Server, etc.) cluster across sites? Now you can!
- Multiple NLB clusters are still "balanced" via round-robin DNS.
- MS answers dozens of questions about NLB
- Brian Madden and Ron Oglesby explain NLB cluster configuration for Terminal Servers
- MS discusses settings for Terminal Services on an NLB cluster
- MS explains a workaround for a problem putting Terminal Services on an NLB cluster
- Planning and deploying a load-balanced Terminal Services farm using Session Directory
- Hardware Notes:
- Dynamic Disks are not available for the shared storage in a server cluster.
- Neither are GUID Partition Table (GPT) disks -- though 64-bit computing is encouraged.
- MS provides a basic backup plan checklist. This one's more for W2k ...
- MS offers best practices for cluster backup and recovery. This one covers several scenarios and is well worth review.
Planning and Maintaining Network Security
- Secure ICMP traffic (like PING).
- Secure multi-cast or broadcast traffic -- it can't.
- Secure 802.11 wireless traffic. Instead use WPA or WPA2 with 802.1X authenication.
- Secure the home network. Policy, NAT, wide ranges of dynamic IP's, and use of multi/broad-cast will give you fits.
- MS provides a 37-page chapter on troubleshooting IPSec from their book Server and Domain Isolation Using IPsec and Group Policy. Good troubleshooting info, but does not appear to help for this test.
- MS addresses Using Microsoft Windows IPSec to Help Secure an Internal Corporate Network Server in another 122 pages. Good resource for the test, though in much greater depth than should actually be necessary.
- MS describes describes best practices for deploying Active Directory domain controllers in segmented networks using IPSec.
- Windows Server 2003 has removed most default IPSec exemptions and a registry setting can be changed on W2k and XP to do likewise.
- That is because IPSec Default Exemptions Can Be Used to Bypass IPsec Protection.
- With the default exemptions in place, some traffic cannot be secured by IPSec.
Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining Security Infrastructure
- Designing a Public Key Infrastructure -- print each section. MS doesn't seem to know what "printer-friendly" means in this section.
Planning and Implementing an Active Directory Infrastructure
- Marcin Policht explains dealing with unavailable or remote global catalog servers.
- Dan DiNicolo begins his look at AD features that are new for 2003 with Domain and Forest Functional Levels
Managing and Maintaining an Active Directory Infrastructure
- Overview & download the Domain Rename (RENDOM) tool.
- Understanding how Domain Rename works -- 32-page Word Doc
- Step-by-step Guide to Implementing Domain Rename -- 88-page Word Doc -- I don't think I'm reading all of that since renamin a Domain isn't really one of the objectives. Appears to be a good reference, though.
Planning and Implementing User, Computer, and Group Strategies
Planning and Implementing Group Policy
Managing and Maintaining Group Policy
If you know of more resources which should be listed here, please email a link to me. I very much appreciate other resources to study and will be sure to acknowledge you on this page.