I am so happy and grateful now that… I passed the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter on the first attempt!
This exam opened first as beta in July 2017. I was one between 300 peoples worldwide that I had the opportunity to sit for this beta exam. Thank You Microsoft!
I did the beta exam in September 2017, and by the end of the exam, I received a message that the result won’t be available until two to three weeks after the exam’s live publication date. You should receive your printed score report by mail within eight weeks (two months) after the exam’s live publication date. But when the exam live publication date is? I don’t know… sit, relax and wait :)
Finally, the exam was released to public by the end of November 2017, and after approximately two weeks, I received the result with PASSING score.
I figured that I would share my experience in this post.
Software-Defined Datacenter… Software-Defined Everything… is a clear message that Microsoft focused on in Windows Server 2016 and beyond.
With the release of Windows Server 2016, users now have access to host new Software-Defined features, giving you a head start in developing, securing and reducing cost of your business.
In this exam, I got something around 55 questions, and the total time for this exam is 180 minutes. The questions do pretty much match the list of skills measured below.
Skills measured on this exam
Exam 745: Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter validates the skills and knowledge to implement a software-defined datacenter (SDDC) with Windows Server 2016 and Microsoft System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). Candidates have experience implementing and managing highly available SCVMM infrastructures as well as implementing Software-Defined Storage (SDS), Compute (Hyper-V), and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) components. This exam focuses on the Microsoft technologies that are used to deploy a Software-Defined Datacenter. You need to understand a number of technologies to master the exam.
The Software-Defined Datacenter is an on-premises anchor of a hybrid cloud strategy, enabling the datacenter to extend into the public cloud and to private hosted clouds while maintaining a single administrative view of the infrastructure and applications. This also enables applications to leverage resources both on premises and in the cloud to add functionality, scale, efficiency, and control costs in innovative ways. Although this 70-745 exam does not focus on implementing a hybrid cloud solution, but having the knowledge of some of the more common hybrid services with Azure will help you as well.
Focus on the expertise measured by these objectives:
Plan and Implement System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) Core Infrastructure
- Install and Configure Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)
- Install and Configure VMM Host Server
- Manage VMM Infrastructure
- Manage VMM Libraries
- Implement Highly Available VMM Infrastructure
Implement Software-Defined Networking (SDN)
- Implement Core Network Fabric
- Plan for and Implement SDN solution
- Configure Network Controller (NC)
- Configure and Manage Software Load Balancer (SLB)
- Configure Windows Server Gateway
- Manage SDN Infrastructure
- Manage Tenant Virtual Networks
Implement Software-Defined Storage (SDS)
- Implement Software-Defined Storage Solutions with Storage Spaces Direct
- Manage Software-Defined Storage
Implement Datacenter Computer Solutions with Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)
- Implement Compute Solutions with VMM
- Implement Service Templates with VMM
Secure your Software-Defined Datacenter (SDD)
- Secure the Compute Environment
- Secure the Network Environment
Monitor and Maintain the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDD)
- Install and Configure System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)
- Monitor and Manage Infrastructure and Virtual Machine Workloads using System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)
Do not take the exam lightly at all!
Overall, I spent one month preparing for this exam. I was early adopter of Windows Server 2016 since Technical Preview 1 came out back on October 1st, 2014. In addition to performing my daily work and going through all of the objectives listed above. Having said that, I took around two hours and half to finish the exam, and did my best.
Lessons learned and preparation
Practice, practice and practice… I cannot stress enough that hands-on experience will help you pass this exam. In fact, when I prepared for this exam in summer 2017, I did not have any preparation materials at hand. Microsoft did not release any preparation options.
I am sure that it is much easier to pass the exam if you have worked with the new release of Windows Server 2016. Download the evaluation versions of Windows Server 2016 RTM and start testing the new Software-Defined features.
You can also order the book Exam Ref 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter which was released on 14/11/2017 (400 pages).
This book prepare you for Microsoft Exam 70-745—and help demonstrate your real-world mastery of skills needed to build and manage software-defined infrastructure with Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). Designed for experienced IT professionals ready to advance their status, Exam Ref focuses on the critical thinking and decision-making acumen needed for success at the MCSE level. I highly recommend to read this book 3 times! Yes, I said three times, repetition is the key to pass this exam. There is a lot of content and features covered in this book.
If you prefer an Instructor-Led Training course delivered in a classroom, Microsoft recommend you prepare for the exam by completing the relevant MOC (Microsoft Official Curriculum) course MOC 20745: Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter.
Good source to read as well is the free book Introducing Windows Server 2016.
If you don’t have the previous MCSA for Windows Server 2012 R2, then you’ll need to pass three exams below, to achieve the MCSA for Windows Server 2016 certification:
- Exam 70-740: Installation, Storage, and Compute with Windows Server 2016.
- Exam 70-741: Networking with Windows Server 2016.
- Exam 70-742: Identity with Windows Server 2016.
After that you can sit for either one of the elective Exam 70-744: Securing Windows Server 2016 or Exam 70-745: Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter and obtain the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE).
If you are planning to take this exam… I wish you all the best and good luck!
Until next time…