Three Windows Server 2008 Training Kit Updates – #bookreview

Microsoft Press recently has updated three of its self-paced training kits for Windows Server 2008.  These 2nd Edition books each cover Windows Server 2008 R2. Below are short reviews of the books.

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Configuring Windows Server 2008 Active Directory (MCTS Exam 70-640)
By Dan Holme, Nelson Ruest, Danielle Ruest and Jason Kellington
(Microsoft Press, $69.99, paperback)

Configuring Windows Server 2008 Active Directory (2nd Edition) is a hefty, well-illustrated, 1000-page preparation guide for Microsoft Core Technical Certification (MCTS) exam 70-640.

The book focuses on learning how to:

  • Deploy or upgrade domain controllers, domains, and forests with Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • Use Windows PowerShell to manage user accounts and groups.
  • Configure domain name system (DNS) settings and zones.
  • Manage authentication.
  • Plan and manage Active Directory replication.
  • Monitor and ensure the availability of directory services.

Numerous real-world scenarios, exam tips and suggested practices are included in the book. And the accompanying CD (positioned inside the back cover) presents more than 200 practice questions. One key feature of the CD is that it provides detailed explanations for correct and incorrect answers.

The book also contains a discount coupon for 15% off the cost of one exam in the Microsoft Certified Professional Program.

To perform the practice exercises in this book, you will need at least one computer (and sometimes two computers) able to run Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1. The book explains how to download evaluation versions of the software that will remain usable for up to 180 days.

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Configuring Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure (MCTS Exam 70-643)
By J.C. Mackin
(Microsoft Press, $59.99, paperback)

To help you prepare for MCTS Exam 70-643, this well-structured 595-page training kit focuses on showing you how to:

  • Deploy Windows-based clients and servers across networks.
  • Configure virtrual machines and virtual networks by using Hyper-V.
  • Configure storage and high availability solutions.
  • Learn how to manage the web server role — IIS 7.5 — in Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • Configure SMTP and FTP services.
  • Configure Streaming Media services, as well as Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010.

Configuring Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure (2nd Edition)
includes a variety of real-world case scenarios, plus quick checks (with answers), lesson reviews and lesson questions and answers. The accompanying CD (positioned inside the back cover) presents more than 200 practice questions. As with other MCTS practice test CDs, detailed explanations are offered for correct, as well as incorrect, answers. And customized learning recommendations are generated, based on your results.

The book also contains a discount coupon for 15% off the cost of one exam in the Microsoft Certified Professional Program.

Only one physical computer is needed to perform the exercises in the book. However, it must be able to run Windows Server 2008 R2 and the software’s Hyper-V virtualization platform. The author cautions that you must have a copy of Windows Server 2008 R2 either on DVD or as a .iso file. You also must have the Windows Automated Installation Kit, either on DVD or as a .iso file.

One other caution: “The default network adapter assigned in Hyper-V is incompatible with network-based applications. For this reason, you must replace the default adapter with  the Legacy Network Adapter.” Instructions are provided for how to do this.

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Windows Server 2008 Server Administration (MCITP Exam 70-646)
By Orin Thomas and Ian McLean
(Microsoft Press, $69.99, paperback)

This 715-page self-paced training kit is for readers preparing to take the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certification exam 70-646.  Windows Server 2008 System Administrator (2nd Edition) is designed to show you how to:

  • Plan Windows Server 2008 R2 installations or upgrades.
  • Configure DNS and IPv6 connectivity.
  • Plan Active Directory, application and certificate services.
  • Plan server-management strategies, including Group Policy, RDS and delegation.
  • Provision applications, data and file and print servers.
  • Implement high-availability, storage, backup and recovery solutions.
  • Monitor and manage security services and updates.
  • Monitor and optimize server performance.

The book has many screen shots and step-by-step procedures, as well as lesson summaries, lesson reviews, practice exercises and other learning features. Its accompanying CD has a large pool of practice test questions “similar to those that appear on the 70-646 certification exam.” 

“It is possible,” the authors state, ” to complete almost all of the practice exercises in this book using virtual machines rather than real server hardware.” They note that “[i]f you intend to implement several virtual machines on the same computer (which is recommended),” you should have “a computer with 8 GB of RAM and 150 GB of free disk space….”

Evaluation versions of Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition and Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate edition can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center, they add. A link is provided.

The authors emphasize that Windows Server 2008 R2 has several standard editions, ranging from editions targeted at small to medium-sized businesses to an enterprise edition, a web server edition and several others others. Their book provides a Microsoft link where features can be compared by edition and help you “determine which edition of Windows Server 2008 R2 best meets a particular set of needs.”

The book, like the others, comes with a CD inside the back cover and a coupon for %15 off the price of a Microsoft Certification exam fee.

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The three updated training kits are well-illustrated and well-designed for self-paced learning. All of the books also provide convenient access to “fully searchable eBook” versions, so you don’t always have to lug around the hefty paperbacks after you’ve bought them.

Si Dunn

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