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Study Plan: Microsoft 74-409 – Server Virtualization w/ Hyper-V & System Center

I thought I’d share my study plan for the Microsoft 74-409: Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V with System Center.

After recently passing the 70-410 exam, the Hyper-V material was still fresh in my mind so I decided to tackle the 74-409. I haven’t posted my study plan for the 410 yet since many of my free nights were spent labbing/reading, however, I hope to do so very soon.

My ultimate goal is to earn an MCSE in Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (formerly Server Infrastructure). The path I’m taking requires you to pass a total of 4 exams (at least for now). I’m halfway done at this point.

Back to the plan.

I’ll break this down into 3 sections:

  1. List of Materials/Resources Used
  2. Study Process
  3. Personal Notes

— 1. List of Materials/Resources Used —

Text and Lab material:

Video material:

Practice Questions:

— 2. Study Process —

To start, I pretty much used these 3 in lock-step: MVA course, Veeam Guide, and the TechNet Online Lab (SC 2012 R2: Lab 1). All 3 were tabbed in the same window.

Why? Because I was able to read it, watch it, then do it.

1) I started by reading a chapter of the Veeam Guide. Then I used the lab to tinker with the features/components discussed in the text. Then I’d watch the MVA videos that corresponded to the chapter I read and features I labbed. I did this until I completed the Veeam PDF Guide and the MVA video series. All while taking notes into a spreadsheet. Also note the PowerShell cmdlets.

2) Once I got a good overview of Hyper-V and System Center (DPM, VMM, SM, and OM), I supplemented my knowledge with the Pluralsight videos listed in section 1. Although I did not watch every single clip in each series (except for the 70-410 Hyper-V), I watched the ones I thought I needed more help (such as VMM and OM).

3) Then, I went through and drilled down on each exam topic. This is where Romans list helped. I went straight to TechNet for each topic and studied the key features and the requirements. This is critical. You have to know the requirements and capabilities (ie: What’s a Gen 2 VM capable of doing? What’s a Gen 1 VM incapable of doing? What are the differences between Node Majority vs Node and Disk Majority? How about Node and File Share Majority? What’s needed for the cluster to retain quorum? Or, the difference between a Tenant Administrator, Application Administrator, and Fabric Administrator in VMM). You’ll notice that the Orin Thomas’ Veeam Guide parallel’s TechNet articles a lot. He doesn’t go into detail, but he states the key points, which makes his guide a good starting point.

4) Next, I went through all the Measureup practice questions, making sure I understood why I got a question correct and why the incorrect answers were incorrect. Again, I used TechNet articles as support. At the same time, I went through the practice questions from the MVA video series and Veeam Guide.

5) Finally, I spent the final few evenings reviewing my notes from an excel sheet I created, along with the MVA PowerPoints and doing more practice questions.

— 3. Personal Notes —

If you are diligent in your studying and labbing you should do well. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get into the environment and play with Hyper-V, Failover Cluster Manager, and System Center.

Some additional tips:

Know where everything is located (ex: where do you create Port Profiles in VMM? Where do create Guest OS Profiles? Where do I click to Enable and/or change the default Library refresh interval? Where do you enable Power Optimization? Where do you go to Validate a server or a cluster? Where do you Enable Replication? Where in FOC Manager do I click to create a Scale-Out File Server?

Also, be sure how all of the SC components tie together. How does OM tie into VMM? How about VMM and SC? What agents need to be deployed and where?

I’ll post my excel note sheet w/ PowerShell cmdlets soon. Hope all of this helps for now.