Recently, I’ve been catching up on my Exchange Server Skills, courtesy of Microsoft eLearning and the state of Washington. I enrolled in the Configuring and Managing Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Collection which includes courses deploying Exchange and a deep dive into the various Exchange Server Roles such as the Mailbox server, Client Access server, Message Transport server, and Edge Transport server roles. Additionally the course covers, managing recipients, Backup/Recovery, Security, and High Availability.
This course is presented by Stanley Reimer, Exchange MVP, Consultant and Trainer. The collection of courses follow the same formula as other courses I’ve taken; that is three or four main sections covering the course topic with subsections, quizzes and video demonstrations illustrating the topic. The most important part of each course is the Virtual Lab.
The Labs are implemented as two or more virtual servers on a common network running Windows Server 2008 Enterprise. Each server plays a role in the scenario illustrating the material covered in the course. You’re presented with the course assignment sheet to try it cold. Another section – the cookbook – contains the step-by-step recipe used to complete the course. The nice thing about this training is that you have over a year to complete the course and review/revisit any section that interests you. The labs are live, so you get the chance to actually use powershell and the Exchange 2010 Management Console to complete the assignments. Since this is on a common network, you have the ability of testing / validating your work.
I’ve been somewhat satisfied with prior courses. The material is presented in the standard Microsoft robotic format – dry and a cure for insomnia. The most disappointing element I’ve found is in the lab delivery. I’m on a standard Internet connection provided by my cable company at 8MBPS. Sometimes, the interaction on the servers in the lab is slow resulting in long waits for the server to respond to clicks in the management consoles or typographical errors in a command / powershell environment.
In this particular course, I was able to establish a connection to the first lab and have not been able to access the other course labs. I’ve got a support ticket in to the eLearning Support group. So far there is no resolution. I’m hoping for a miracle because this is really a key course that I want to get some hands on experience.
Know anyone who has an AD infrastructure with mailbox, client access, message transport and edge servers available. Oh, that would be Microsoft Online Services. I’ve heard of that …
Latest Update 2/16/2011:
As I mentioned previouslt, I submitted a ticket on 2 issues, 1) the labs wouldn’t launch and 2) on one occation I was successful in launching a lab that required two Exchange servers. Only one of the servers had Exchange 2010 deployed. The second one had Exchange in stalled but it was either damaged or an attempt to remove it eas made that proved unsuccessful. The first group sent instructions for clearing the IE browser cache and running the MSLabs diagnostic tool to verify connectivity and sent me a link to another group at Element K that handles provisioning and support for the platform. I followed the instructions and all checks passed. I connected to the lab and verified through screen shots the fact that the second server configurtion was damaged.
I assembled a package detailing the steps taken and the resulting screen shots. I opened a support ticket with the new group referencing my prior experience and attaching my diagnostic package.
After a day or so, they confirmed my experience and were going to fix it. This is the interesting part: this course was published in mid 2010 and no one has reported a problem!!?? Hard to believe that this course is so popular!
I followed up the week of 2/6/2011 and they said the labs were set to relaunch on 2/14/2011. Here it is, 2/16/2011: tried launching the lab and get the “connection failed error.” Followed instructions to clear the IE browser cache and still am unable to do so.
The story continues…stay tuned.This posting is provided “as is” with no warranties, guaranties or any rights whatsoever. All content is based on the author’s experiences and opinions and is not intended to influence the actions of the reader.