Monday, 19 October 2009

83-640 Exam “Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring”

MCTSI passed 83-640 “Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring”  today. The exam is a replacement of 70-640 with exactly the same tested skills. This was my first Microsoft exam with with a simulated testing environment so I thought I’d write a bit about it.

The exam itself is split into three parts, two Virtual Labs followed by the more familiar multiple choice questions, there were thirty questions.

The VM labs, in my case were identical, and most of the tasks are fairly simple to complete. I got caught out on a CA question that I couldn’t remember a command for. Things like adjusting the dataset of the Global Catalog, configuring site replication and bulk update of AD objects should all be fairly common place for most administrators.

The multiple choice questions posed no major difficulty. There were the odd one that I wasn’t familiar with, but some of the answers were obvious.

My main problem with the test was the speed of Virtual Labs. The machines are somewhere on the internet, and proudly show the speed of the VM CPU as 7MHz with 1024Mb of RAM on the desktop using BGInfo. Believe me, they are slow mouse clicks take seconds to register and MMC consoles take minutes to open. Even though this was an annoyance, there is still plenty of time in the exam to complete the tasks.

The best part of the new VM testing method is that help is available as it would be on a normal install. While this isn’t always a help, on one VM Task it saved my bacon.

Generally though, after sitting the exam, if you’ve learned about the new features of 2008, Rights Management & Federation services and update your knowledge of PKI’s you should be fine. Everything else is the same as the 2003 exam.

Next up is 70-642, a couple of weeks revising for that and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

SharePoint 2003 Restore Problem

I’ve blogged about this before, but I managed to loose the document from my server. I’ve had lots of emails requesting the document. So I’ll try to keep this short and sweet.

I encountered a problem when restoring a SharePoint 2003 portal to a newly built server.

All three SharePoint databases were stored on a SQL cluster and we relied upon backups of the SQL server for disaster recovery.

A failure on the SharePoint server required us to re-build another server and restore the SharePoint portal. We’d done this a number of times before with no problems, but on this occasion, we received the error “Unable to find entry for Portal Site” when restoring.

As this was a newly built server we instantly thought there was corruption in the SQL Databases. We restored them from a backup before the failure occurred with no success. We then moved backward to a weekly backup from five days before the failure, still with no success. We had earlier backups but didn’t roll back further because the data in them would be too far out of date for a useful recovery.

With no obvious solutions found on the Internet we turned to Microsoft. They spent some time with us looking at the problem and came up with a document instructing us how to correctly populate a single field to allow the restore to proceed.

Solution Document from Microsoft

I know this information is for a product that is fairly out of date, but SharePoint 2003 is still has a large user base.