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The Top 10 Topics You Need to Know in Order to Pass the 70-169 Exam

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With the advent of the 70-169 exam, there are many more topics regarding Windows Small Business Servers that are tested than in previous Windows Server exams. In this article, Dave Leaver highlights ten topics of study you should focus on when preparing to take the Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard, Configuring exam.

The Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2011 Standard, Configuring exam (70-169) is the latest Small Business Server exam from Microsoft. As with the previous SBS exams, you are expected to know not only Windows Server 2011 operations (actually Windows Server 2008 R2) but also the multiple infrastructure roles that are installed as part of an SBS installation. This includes Windows core roles such as the Active directory and DNS, and the usually segregated roles like SharePoint 2010 and Exchange Server 2010. With so much information to learn for one exam, I've selected ten specific topic areas you should focus your studies on.

1. Installing and migrating SBS 2011

The standard installation of SBS 2011 is quite straightforward, as much consideration is taken care of for you with a number of helpful wizards to guide you along the way. That being said, it is worth downloading a trial copy of SBS 2011 to view the installation firsthand. The real focus on the SBS 2011 exam is on the migration of an existing SBS installation, from the previous versions such as SBS 2003 and SBS 2008. Since SBS 2008 Microsoft now includes the SBS migration tool, which allows you to migrate from previous versions of Small Business Server, this makes migrating a much simpler process than it was previously. One thing you should take note of though, if you didn't know already, is that SBS does not allow more than one primary domain controller on a single domain. Therefore, making the transition from one SBS server to another is a slightly more complicated process than a standard Windows Server transition. As you will find with much of the 70-169 exam, everything is very wizard-driven, and the installation/migration is no different. One of the first tools you should learn in the migration process is the SBS Best Practice Analyzer. Running this tool ensures that your network is ready for the migration process and should eliminate further errors once the installation begins.

2. Joining computers to the domain

As in Windows SBS 2003, adding computers to the domain can be done using the Connect to the Domain wizard. Although the computers can be added in the traditional manner by using the PC system properties, for the exam you should really learn to use the wizards that Small Business Server provides. The answers to the questions will be based around things being done the SBS, way not the standard way.

3. Understanding SBS groups

When you first login to a SBS 2011, everything looks very much the same as the traditional standard Windows Server. The same applies to the management consoles, such as active directory and DNS, as these include all of the normal groups you would expect to see, with the added benefit of an already designed OU tree structure. However, there are additional groups that you should be aware of, and all of these groups are prefixed with the Windows Small Business Server name. When you are placing users into groups within a Small Business Server, ensure that you use the Windows small business marked group folders to apply permissions, for example if you want to add users to the Remote Web workplace group then you need to add them to the Windows Small Business Server remote Web workplace group, not the default remote Web workplace group, as the permissions required will not be applied. In fact, to ease the confusion, managing users and groups using the Small Business Management Console will help you setting permissions and access the SBS way.

4. Remote Web Workplace

This is another feature carried over from previous SBS versions, which is designed as a one-stop shop to allow users access to all of their SBS resources. Make sure that for the exam, you know all of the components of the Remote Web workplace, as there are bound to be questions related to this Small Business Server key feature. Once the user has logged into the web interface with their standard domain credentials, they can access their files and folders, SharePoint, and Outlook Web App for their e-mail; they can also Remote Desktop to an on-site terminal server or their own desktop PC if access has been allowed. There are also some instructional documents placed here for setting up Outlook anywhere or generally navigating the Remote Web Workplace site. By default, the site uses ports 80, 443, 987 and 3389 for external access, which may prove useful when troubleshooting access to a RWW site.

5. Exchange Server 2010—Part One

For the purposes of the 70-169 exam, you do not need to know the detailed installation instructions for installing Exchange Server 2010, as this all occurs during the installation of the SBS itself. The installation of Exchange Server 2010 is what Microsoft classes as a typical installation, so by default it does not install the edge server or unified messaging server roles, which in reality are unlikely to be used in a Small Business Server domain. This is otherwise a fully functional Exchange Server 2010 with all the same features of a standard exchange server installation, and if you have already taken the 70-662 exam, you'll be more than ready to answer questions related to exchange here. By default, some features are already turned on, such as Outlook Anywhere, as well as some areas already preconfigured by the SBS 2011 wizards, such as the default receive connector and send connector.

6. Exchange Server 2010—Part Two

There is no real reason that you cannot introduce the more advanced features into Exchange 2010 on an SBS or separate the exchange server roles out completely; however, this is beyond the scope of this exam. Also outside the scope of the exam are Exchange premium features that may be used with an enterprise premium cal, as a Small Business Server really doesn't focus on these areas. Make sure that you know that you can also configure certain parts of the exchange server (such as the POP3 and IMAP connectors) by using the SBS console, which loads at start-up when you first login to the SBS 2011 Server. You can also use this console to manage and change the default connector settings within hub transport in Exchange Server 2010 and install the required SSL certificates for remote users to connect securely to your exchange server and retrieve their e-mail. Once again it is important to stress that hands-on practice with the Small Business Server and Exchange Server 2010 in order to see how all the features were together will be invaluable to your study.

7. The center of all wizards—the Small Business Server console

The SBS management console is designed to be a centralized management portal to the entire Small Business Server network. From here you get an easy-to-follow graphical interface that allows you to navigate to all areas of the Small Business Server. If you have a traditional Windows Server background, your first instinct will be to ignore the console and use all of the traditional administrative tools as you have previously; however, it is an important consideration for passing the exam that you do not ignore the wizards held here. The main reason for this is because many of their Small Business Server wizards are responsible for administering the core roles of the server, such as Active Directory, DNS, and Exchange Server. In turn, many of the solutions to the questions you will be asked in the exam will be looking at the wizards as a solution.

8. SharePoint 2010 for Small Business Servers

SharePoint Server 2010 is another Microsoft server role that also has an exam all to itself, and learning the full functionality of SharePoint 2010 is far beyond the scope of this exam. However, you are expected to have good knowledge of managing SharePoint within a Small Business Server domain, and many of the features that it includes. Essentially SharePoint Server is an intranet site for the internal network which houses documents, blogs, calendars, forums, and team sites in one location and presents them to the internal domain users. SharePoint has been a core feature of the Small Business Servers over the last few years and is Microsoft's number one document collaboration system, so you are bound to be asked questions on it. Again, I have to stress that getting hands-on experience with SharePoint on a Small Business Server will be key to your studies especially as there are a number of customizable features within SharePoint 2010 which Microsoft may well question you on, such as creating bespoke pages and securing editing using domain access control lists. Also be aware that SharePoint also collaborates with other roles, such as Exchange Server 2010 and Microsoft Office products.

9. Backup and Restore

The backup and restore tool within Small Business Server 2011 has changed dramatically from the original NT backup and SBS 2003. Once again, it is a very wizard driven tool and it is fairly limited in its choice of options; thus, it would probably not be the number one backup software used in a real-world environment. However, for the Microsoft exam, you will need to know all of the features of the backup tool, which can be managed by its own console or via the SBS management console (discussed earlier). In previous versions of the SBS backup tool, you could specify certain files and folders and a system state data backup. Within the new Windows backup tool in SBS 2011 you can only choose the backup to local disk such as the USB drive and you can only choose to backup an image of the entire disk drives in the server itself, no network storage can be used. You can have alternate backups on additional drives, but these drives are dedicated to backing up server, are not visible within Windows Explorer, and cannot be used for anything else. Outside of these limitations, you can still schedule backups in the same way and receive notifications.

10. Windows Update services and Security

One of the main features of the Small Business Server console is notifications, either related to required updates for the server, required updates for the computers, or because of a lack of security features on the server itself, such as antivirus and the software firewall. This can be useful when monitoring the security on your Small Business domain. Although many of these features are turned on and configured by default in SBS 2011 at the installation phase, you should also know how to configure them and edit them should you need to, as you may well get questions on these in the exam. One feature that continues into SBS 2011 is the reporting and monitoring tool that you can set out to notify the administrator of any issues in regards to updating and security. These also include any issues with core services running on the network, any high processes running on the server, and anything affecting system resources, such as low disk space or high memory usage. Along with the event logs that are created when these issues occur, these notifications and alerts can be very useful in troubleshooting an issue and in turn will be a likely topic for an exam question.

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