How to get certified on Microsoft System Center

by [Published on 2 Dec. 2010 / Last Updated on 2 Dec. 2010]

Learn the certification options and the best certification resources to get certified on Microsoft's flagship enterprise management product line - MCTS certification options.

Introduction

In a recent article, Overview of Microsoft System Center product line and how it can help you, I covered the critical facts of System Center. As a follow up to that article, let's talk about certification! Microsoft System Center is Microsoft's flagship enterprise management product line, made up of 6+ major products. As this is both a critical product for Microsoft and a critical product for enterprises that adopt pieces of the System Center suite, Microsoft offers MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist) certification options for System Center. While I don't see a way to use these exams toward a MCITP, you will still have a MCTS in a System Center specialty. Specifically, there are 3 different certification tracks available for System Center which covers just 3 of the 6+ System Center products (but 3 of the major SC products).

MCTS: Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, Configuration

Formerly known as SMS (Systems Management Server) in previous versions, SCCM is used to manage the PC, laptop, and server hardware and software (including applications and operating systems) of a mid to large size enterprise. Microsoft Exam 70-401 covers a number of important SCCM 2007 skills. Specifically, the exam covers things like:

  • Deploying SCCM
  • Configuring SCCM Infrastructure
  • Managing Resources
  • Distributing Applications
  • Deploying Operating Systems
  • Securing a Network Infrastructure
  • Managing and Maintaining SCCM Infrastructure

(For the full list of SCCM Exam 70-401 test topics, click here)

As for training material, here are some recommendations:

MCTS: Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007, Configuration

Formerly known as "MOM" (Microsoft Operations Manager) in previous versions, SCOM is used to monitor performance capacity resources (and alert) across all devices in the enterprise. Microsoft Exam 70-400 covers skills like:

  • Configuring SCOM
  • Deploying and Configuring Management Packs
  • Building and Deploying Custom Management Packs
  • Maintaining SCOM
  • Configuring Client Monitoring

(For the full list of SCOM Exam 70-400 test topics, click here)

Some of the best resources available to prepare for your SCOM certification test are:

MCTS: Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Configuration

The last of the three MCTS certifications covering System Center products is the MCTS covering Virtual Machine Manager. SCVMM or VMM is a centralized management product for the Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization platform (it can also manage VMware ESX Server). With VMM, the ability to perform many new advanced features of Hyper-V is possible.

To prepare for Microsoft Exam 70-403, I recommend the following resources:

  • Installing SCVMM - server components, administrative console, self-service portal, pro tips
  • Administering SCVMM - configuring user roles, setup self-service, maintain VMM library, configure hosts, monitor jobs
  • Maintaining and Monitoring hosts - configure VM hardware, manage virtual instance checkpoints and patches, monitoring and reporting on VMs
  • Deploying and Migrating VMs - convert P2V, move VMs between hosts, deploy VMs, deploy HA in VMs

(For the full list of SCVMM Exam 70-403 test topics, click here)

One of the best certification resources I have read on this lately is the Train Signal Certification Guide for  Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM Exam 70-403). In fact, that certification guide recommends the following resources to prepare for the SCVMM 70-403 exam:

Of course, the best preparation for any certification exam is actually using the product (and especially in the "real-world" on a production network, if possible).

Summary

In this article we covered what the various Microsoft System Center certification options are, what they cover, and what resources are available to help you prepare for the exams. System Center is a critical product for Microsoft and for the enterprises that have implemented it. By proving your knowledge in System Center, you will be a ready to manage it and a more competent Windows Admin.

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