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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beta Exam 70-331, Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013

Thoughts after taking the Beta Exam 70-331, Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013.

To receive the MCSE SharePoint certification, you will need to pass the MCSA Windows Server 2012 certification, then pass 70-331 (Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint server 2013) and 70-332 (Advanced Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013).  The new solutions expert path requires the Windows Server 2012 cert.

You can count on answering questions covering other core technologies that SharePoint depends on.  Techs like:
  • Active Directory
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 and later
  • Internet Information Services (IIS)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 and later

Even though this is the recommendation, I noticed most of the questions were focused on the latest techs and not past versions.  So things like Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2012, etc.

Questions centered around designing a SharePoint topology based on reading an overview of a case study for a company.  Planning security, installing and configuring the SharePoint Farm (in some cases, integrating multiple farms were mentioned for an enterprise). Creating and configuring web applications and site collections, and maintaining a core SharePoint environment.

Items mentioned below were covered on the beta exam.

Alternate access mappings.  How it's used, why it's needed.
Ins and outs of configuring search services.
Various powershell commands - how to gain reference to a service and store in variable, then modify the service.  Many basic powershell tasks like this.
Setting up various farms based on unique requirements - 3 case studies covering different companies and technical requirements.  Some have an issue and you are required to know the steps to fix.  Some of the issues related to clustered database configuration issues (active, passive, witness server - moving a failing service to another database), search issues, workflow server, how to set up separate apps domain for apps store use.
Config Search results based on doc creation dates - on all searches only return docs between certain dates.
Various questions related to configuration of SharePoint with Office 365
Authentication questions related to when and how to use SAML, oAuth, Claims, Kerberos, etc.
Know in what situations you would use psconfig or farm wizard, based on the type of configuration change that's needed.
A few questions relate to upgrading from a 2010 farm to 2013.  What steps would you take if it was a database upgrade or upgrade based on CUs. Upgrade site collection process, know powershell script behind upgrade.  For example, need to test if upgrade can complete before performing upgrade. Know my sites upgrade process.
Assorted end-user permission questions.  Know the differences to Contribute, Full Control, Read-Only, Inheritance, etc.
Setting.up blob storage external to SQL- use external  hard drive like SAN,  etc.  How is this done, what steps are needed in SQL, apps server, central admin, etc. to accomplish this?  What is the benefit to this outside of storing large files in SQL.
My site configuration how to change what news a user is subscribed to and which users this user follows.  Know how to do this as an admin in central admin.
Test would show a screen shot of an area of central admin with a list of links in that area and ask what to click on in central admin to config or setup X.

How to setup auth for ad fs, kerberos, ntlm, oauth when to use sts. How to config authentication between servers.

How to add additional site collections and sites
Config aam, DNS cnames, etc. when to do this and how, related details.  How to setup domain, subdomain, etc.

After viewing network tracing details, answer which port is used for central admin, front end site, https based site, etc. for a typical company.

How to communicate between separate farms - passing users and authentication, etc.

Two way and one way forest trust settings
Allow users on domain 1 access to collection a and b but users on domain 2 access only to collection a. How this would be configured in a farm.

Form based authentication
Steps to allow outside vendors access to site or collection that aren't a part of domain
Adding to visitors group with read-only access, setting up aam for the extranet, etc.

Know details covering sts oauth saml.

Configure email storage on library and incoming email / email address to be used with library.

Step by step how to limit all users from purchasing and installing apps.

Design focus on information architecture
Plan managed site structures
Plan term sets
Plan information management policies
Design keywords, synonyms, best bets, and managed properties
Design an intersite navigational taxonomy
Design site columns and content types

Know basic design behind a logical architecture
Know the hierarchy to a farm > web applications > explicit managed paths / sites wildcard managed paths > top-level sites > child sites.  Know web application > site collection - How to create a site collection based on an existing web app or create a web app and then create a site collection within that application.

From requirements, be able to plan web applications and application pools, software boundaries, content databases, host-header named site collections, and plan zones and altername access mappings.  Be able to describe the process to map incoming requests to a web application.  Link translation and publish to internet.

Study steps behind designing a physical architecture. Storage architecture, configure basic request management, define individual server requirements, define service topologies, plan server load balancing, plan a network infrastructure.

Know basic hardware and software requirements behind SQL database server and SharePoint with web server or application server in a three-tier farm and beyond.  Know minimum hardware requirements for SQL database including small and medium deployments, RAM, and hard disk space requirements.

Front-end application server requirements, including prerequisites for software.  Things like .net framework 4.5, Microsoft WCF Data Services 5.0, MSIPC, WIF 1.0, CU Package 1 for Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server (KB 2671763), etc.

Know browsers supported, for example, IE 6 & 7 are no longer supported.

Request management.  how to control handling of incoming requests, how this plays in to network load balancing, rule configuration behind request management, status if off by default, and scoped at the web application level.  Request management used to configure rules to perform the denial of potentially harmful requests from entering a SharePoint farm, route good requests to an available server, and you can manually optimize performance.

Know what's new with service applications.  New service applications available like Machine Translation service, work management and app management.  Several service applications derecated or changed, like search, MMS, office web apps and web analytics.  MMS is now more robust, tags now have properties, and the navigation is term-based.  Request management architecture and configuration is included, as well as creating routing rules in PowerShell.

Office 365 planning with SharePoint online is a large part of the exam.

Authentication default is claims - know how to plan and configure authentication, identity federation, configure claims provider, connections to access control service.

This covers pretty much everything I could remember after taking the beta exam.

Sections of the exam:

Core Solutions Exam

Design a sharepoint topology 20-25%
Plan security 20-25%
install and configure sharepoint farms 20-25%
create and configure web applications and site collections 15-20%
maintain a core sharepoint environment 15-20%

Advanced Solutions Exam

Plan business continuity management 20-25%
plan sharepoint environment 15-20%
upgrade and migrate sharepoint environment 20-25%
create and configure service applications 20-25%
manage sharepoint solutions, BI, and systems integration 15-20%

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Search Engine Marketing through Back Links

If you are interested in gaining new business through your company web site, you need back links.  The number of back links to your site determine the authority of your site in search engines.  The more back links you have from high quality, highly ranked web sites, typically the higher you will rank in search engines or the more fertile your site will become for high rankings.  Several other factors impact your organic placement on search engine results pages, like content, optimization of keywords and phrases and more, but anyone can add back links to their site.  Make sure you are listed at the following sites.  They are free, have a long reputation with major search engines, and will impact your search engine marketing campaign. - create a business page - create a page - for the right type of business
google maps
co-pilot - bing local - google places

There are literally 1000s available, but this will get you started.