Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Microsoft System Center 2012 is RTM!

For some time now I was under strict NDA and therefore not allowed to blog about it. Other bloggers weren’t under NDA and noticed it some time ago already: Microsoft had released – silently  - the RTM bits of all System Center 2012 products, and told about it on their blogs.

However, Microsoft decided not to put it into the spotlight but wait until the 17th of April 2012 where Brad Anderson would officially announce the System Center 2012 products to be RTM and GA (General Available):
(I followed most of the keynote live at MMS but had to leave early since I had to do exam 70-246. Sorry Brad! :) )

Since it’s the 18th of April, I am finally not restricted anymore to blog about it, so here it comes (what many of us already knew):
Microsoft System Center 2012 – also referred to as Microsoft Private Cloud – is since April the 17th officially RTM and GA!!!!
Much has changed in the 2012 release of the System Center products. Microsoft positions it as ‘…a cloud and datacenter management solution that provides a common toolset to manage private and public cloud applications and services…’.

In order to put their money where their mouth is, they have dramatically changed the licensing model. In the ‘old’ days – for the previous System Center products – there were over 200 different SKUs. Now for System Center 2012 there are only TWO SKUs where a single license entitles you to install ANY System Center 2012 product with SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard SP1 included for free! Go here if you want to know more about the details.

Say what? MCSE certification is BACK?! Uh… Yes and NO!
On top of it, Microsoft has changed the certifications as well. Now one can’t do separate exams for the System Center 2012 products anymore. Instead, most of the products are combined into two separate exams: Exam 70-246, Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012, and Exam 70-247, Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012.

In conjunction with the exam which certifies one as a MCSA Windows Server 2008, it creates the certification MCSE Private Cloud. In this case however MCSE means: Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert. This website tells you more about it.

Mind you however, exams 70-246 and 70-247 are still in beta. While attending MMS 2012 one can do these beta exams for free. I did both and boy, these exams are really tough. Because now, all the products are related to each other. So only a good understanding of OM12 or any other System Center 2012 product won’t suffice anymore.

No way! One has to know every System Center 2012 product AND how they relate to each other. For me personally Exam 70-246 was doable. But exam 70-247 really filleted me. I feared the Next button since many questions were mumbo jumbo to me. So there is a lot of new grounds for me to be covered in order to pass for this exam.

Since these exams are beta, one doesn’t get to see the end result (failed or passed) at the end of the exam. After a few weeks (6 to 8 that is…) I’ll be notified. Exciting times…

MVA? Never heard about it?
In order to get to grips with the new technologies and the way Microsoft positions them, one needs to gain a lot of knowledge and experience as well. Gladly there are already very good resources to be found like:
  1. MVA - Microsoft Virtual Academy
    MVA is an online (and FREE!) collection of resources where one can train and learn all about the latest Microsoft Technologies at your own pace. 
    This is an awesome source of much knowledge and real life experience. There are tracks all about the Private Cloud and the related System Center 2012 products. Every track consists out of multiple parts. Every part consists out of a comprehensive video and the related transcript in pdf-format. Every part tests your knowledge by asking some questions in multiple choice format. Only when enough questions are answered correctly, one can start the next part of that track.

    Again, MVA is free and can be found here. I strongly advice you to go there and follow the tracks related to your job as is today and the tracks required for job as it will be tomorrow. Seriously, in our trade one needs to plan ahead and stay up to date.   
  2. Private Cloud Jumpstarts
    A nine part video series all about the Private Cloud (Microsoft System Center 2012 products) how to deploy and operate them.

  3. TechNet Virtual Labs
    Without a doubt there are more to be found, but this one I know. TechNet Virtual Lab: System Center 2012 Operations Manager: Infrastructure and Application Performance Monitoring.
Also new books will come out, all about preparing for the new certification and the related exams.

Wrap up and some words of advice
As you can see, these are exciting times. New products, new positioning, new certifications and new exams. Our trade isn’t boring at all and introduces many new challenges. The journey to the (Private) Cloud has started, whether we like it or not, it’s up to you to board that train. When you don’t or fail to be there on time, you’ll have a fair change to find an empty platform and a deserted train station as well.

Our trade is changing fast and we need to reinvent ourselves. When we don’t we’ll most certainly become obsolete and find ourselves replaced by very advanced tooling. In order to stay on top of things we need to master the skills required to master the very set of tools which could throw ourselves out of business. This way we have prolonged our future in the IT.

1 comment:

Byty said...

I have tryed also 70-246. You coud say.... that is nice :))