Microsoft’s New Windows Hosting Certification Exam
Microsoft have announced earlier this month the launching of a new certification exam; “70-501 TS: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Hosted Environments, Configuring and Managing”.
This new ‘Technology Specialist’ certification was introduced for beta testing in October 2006 and has come to the final version on February 6th, 2007.
Most of web hosting providers provide Linux or UNIX hosting and Windows hosting. This certification is aimed to alleviate the use of Microsoft Windows Server as a hosting solution. Microsoft recommends that test takes have 2 or more years of experience in managing a Microsoft windows-based network and at least 12-18 months hosting experience.
The topics covered in this exam are:
* Plan a Hosted Environment
Define requirements for hosting services.
Plan the hosted architecture. Considerations include security, server purposing, monitoring and reporting, web and data hosting, and service provisioning.
* Deploy a Core Hosting Infrastructure
Automate server deployment.
Configure monitoring and reporting.
Configure a storage system and disk quotas.
Configure a logical Active Directory structure.
* Deploy and Configure IIS
Configure isolation. Considerations include application pool configuration, and user isolation.
Configure and secure FrontPage Server extensions.
Install and configure ISAPI filters.
Configure HTTP.sys for a hosted environment.
Install and configure ASP.Net. Considerations include security.
* Deploy Hosted Services
Deploy and configure a Web farm. Considerations include replication, publishing, and network load balancing.
Install and configure streaming media services.
Install and configure database services.
Deploy and configure publishing and administrative services. Considerations include Terminal Server, FTP, Web folders, delegated administration, and Front Page Server Extensions (FPSE).
Install and configure Windows SharePoint Services.
* Design and Configure Automated Provisioning
Design the provisioning process.
Design the provisioning infrastructure. Considerations include scripting, Microsoft Provisioning System (MPS), and other technologies.
Implement resource management. Considerations include plans, profiles, and quotas.
Configuring provisioning services.
* Administer, Manage, and Optimize Hosted Solutions
Prevent performance issues.
Move users within hosted environments.
Configure high availability technologies.
* Troubleshoot a Hosted Environment
Troubleshoot Web hosting issues.
Troubleshoot data hosting issues.
Troubleshoot provisioning issues.
According to these topics announced at the Microsoft site, the holder of this certification will have the knowledge adequate to design, implement, and troubleshoot Microsoft Windows Hosting solutions.
I believe that an MCSE holder will go smoother in such an exam. And I think that in order to master the Windows Server environment, you will have to go for MCSE first because this certification alone is not enough.
It’s a good move from Microsoft to introduce such a certificate to strengthen its existence in the hosting market because the market is moving slowly towards Linux and UNIX solutions for various reasons. Probably the first reason that pops up is stability. Maybe this new training and certification will get the Windows Server hosted solutions to be more stable in the future.
“The lack of trustworthy standards and certifications has hurt the hosting industry in its attempt to move into the enterprise mainstream,” said Dan Golding, vice president and research director at Tier 1 Research. “There is no doubt that complex hosted environments are significantly different from standard architectures and require their own set of specialized skills and in-depth technical knowledge. Microsoft’s willingness to offer this exam as part of a comprehensive hosting strategy is exciting and will help the hosting industry move forward.” I believe that what Dan Golding said is in another direction of certifications. What we need is to have a certification for hosting companies not only their staff members. What really hurts the hosting industry is the lack of professionalism in many hosting companies. The certified staff members can not solve strategic problems or managerial problems that affect the company policy.
Nancy Phillips, chief operating officer and co-founder, ViaWest and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, said “As a participant in the development stages of the Windows Server 2003 Hosted Environments, Configuring and Managing certification, we are confident this certification will not only strengthen ViaWest customer offerings but strengthen the hosting industry as a whole.” I think this is way overrating this certification. This certification might improve Microsoft’s stand in the hosting market, as I have mentioned earlier, but I do not believe that its will strengthen the hosting industry. It is nice to be enthusiastic about what you do, but it is nicer to be realistic.
The exam price is the same as the price of the other MCP prices, which is a good thing. Actually its one of the things I like about Microsoft certifications, although I dislike Microsoft itself, is that their exam cost is not that big, especially in the Middle East.
And another good thing about this certification is that it is a single-exam certification. This means that passing the 70-501 exam will get you the “Technology Specialist: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Hosted Environments, Configuring and Managing” certifications.
As an overall, this certification is good to have for people involved in the Windows hosting environment. If you are currently working in such an environment, the exam will be easy for you.
For further reference, please visit:
70-501 Exam Preparation Page