Sunbelt W2Knews Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Oct 15, 2001 (Vol. 6, #79 - Issue #314)
You Get To Keep Your MCSE
This issue of W2Knews contains:
- EDITORS CORNER
- TECH BRIEFING
- In Depth MCSE Analysis By Guru Ed Tittel
- NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
- MS Backpedals on NT 4.0 MCSE Decertification
- NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
- Special ISP Offer For W2Knews Subscribers
- Did You Know? Sunbelt has a FREE MCSE LIST
- Put Your NT/2000 System On STEROIDS!
- W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
- PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
- FREE STUDY GUIDES-MCSE Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for Dummies!
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Lesson For Microsoft
Thanks again for your congratulations. When one gets acknowledged
for good work done, it's always an inspiration to continue and yet
again earn one more "attaboy". Sunbelt Software is here to service
you. Our goal is simple. Make your life a bit easier and help you
solve NT/W2K problems. Our staff in France, Germany, Holland,
Sweden, the U.K. and U.S. are ready to help and support you.
Other companies would also be wise to continue to remember this.
Microsoft is one I have in mind. Their first allegiance is to
their customers, but despite the fact that it is filled with very
smart people, they sometimes seem to forget that. Two examples
come to mind: Licensing 6.0 and MCSE.
From my perspective, it is you and me that have made Microsoft
a monopoly. There is actually nothing bad or illegal about a
monopoly in principle. As long as you don't misuse the privilege.
It is just that we as a market like to have things compatible
with each other. We like standards because it makes things more
manageable. We gave MS a 'public trust' to manage and expand
these standards. Pretty much like elected officials.
In turn, MS needs to be aware that they have the responsibility
to care for these standards and service us. We have given them
economic stewardship of these standards, and their job is to serve
us to the best of their abilities. When they violate that trust,
they will lose market share.
THIS is their first responsibility, and their allegiance is to
US, not Wall Street. Many public companies seem to forget that
after a while, and start dancing to the Street's tune. Let's just
remember the simple fact that the market (we) made MS into a
monopoly to begin with.
Let's also hope that MS confronts that fact and stops denying it.
The old rule applies: perceptions are facts. The market now thinks
you are a monopoly so you are one. You are voted in and out of power
with people's pocketbooks. No matter how much they are 'locked in',
they will leave if you continue to anger them. Behave responsibly
and prevent them from voting with their feet.
How? Well, MS could have avoided a whole river of bad blood by
doing their homework: market research. Here is another old rule
that they forgot in some important cases: "Know Before You Go".
They should have done sufficient research, by external, objective
experts that are not afraid to give MS an earful of bad news.
Industry analysts and dedicated outfits like survey.com come to mind.
The heavy-handed MCSE tactics stank from day one, the market in
general did not like it, and the press had a field day with all
the controversy. Up front research, well executed, could have
prevented the MCSEgg on their face and the black eye of Licensing
6.0. So I have just one word of advice for Microsoft: SURVEY! And
then act upon the results, even if they are not what you would like.
And if you want to see how close Microsoft's new policy is to what
I suggested in W2Knews #293 last August, after we surveyed the
market about the new MCSE policies, just read that Editorial over
FULL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: Sunbelt is not soliciting any survey
work for MS, we have done these regular surveys since 1996 for
free as a service to the market. They are not charged for, not
sponsored and free from interference by an person or organization.
Stu Sjouwerman, the Editor of W2Knews does not own any stock in
any of the companies discussed including Microsoft, and has not
owned any in the past, except his stocks in Sunbelt Software.
(email me with feedback: [email protected])
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In Depth MCSE Analysis By Guru Ed Tittel
On October 11, 2001, Microsoft stunned the certification community
by announcing that certifications based on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
will not expire or retire on 12/31/2001 as the company had originally
planned. Instead, Microsoft is moving to a "version designation"
system for MCP transcripts that will identify certifications with the
version of the operating system or other relevant software to which
that certification is related. At present, Microsoft has two such
* ...on Windows NT 4.0, which designates the related certification as
based on Windows NT 4.0. This designation applies to the following
certifications: MCP, MCSE, MCSE+I, MCP+I, and MCP+Site Building.
Thus, this MCSE would formally be called "MCSE on Windows NT 4.0."
In two related announcements, Microsoft also released the following
* ...on Microsoft Windows 2000, which designates the related certification as based on Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, or Windows
Server .NET. This designation applies to the following certifications:
MCP, MCSE, MCSA, and MCDBA (except for the latter, it's called "MCDBA
on SQL Server 2000" instead). Here, this MCSE would formally be called
"MCSE on Microsoft Windows 2000."
The most obvious consequence of this announcement is that MCSEs who
don't recertify by 12/31/2001 no longer have to worry about "losing"
their MCSE status. But this announcement has numerous other implications as well, which I'll discuss a little later. But first, I want
to introduce the new Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, or
- Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) now have until May 1, 2002, to
obtain their MCSE on Microsoft Windows 2000 credentials.
- Microsoft has released a formal "Discontinuation of Exams" policy,
available online at Microsoft Training and Services. Here, they indicate that any new MS exam will have a life of at least
2 years, and that they will inform the certification community at
least 12 months in advance of the discontinuation of any certification exam.
Introducing the MCSA
The MCSA is a nuts-and-bolts, hands-on, operational certification
aimed at people who work on Windows systems and networks every day.
This certification requires passing four exams, of which 3 are Core
exams, and a fourth that is an elective. The three Core exams fall
into two categories:
Core Category 1: Client Operating System Exams
To meet this category's requirements, candidates must pass one
exam, which may be either the 70-210 Installing, Configuring, and
Administering Windows 2000 Professional test, or the equivalent
70-270 Installing, Configuring, and Administering Windows XP
Core Category 2: Networking System Exams
To meet this category's requirements, candidates must pass two
exams, one on either Server version valid for ...on Microsoft
Windows 2000 designated certifications, and another from a pair
of new exams on managing Microsoft networks on either Server
version. To be more specific, candidates must pass one exam from
each of the following two pairs of exams:
Pair 1: Server OS Exams
Pair 2: Network Management Exams
- 70-215 Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft
Windows 2000 Server
- 70-275 Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft
Windows .NET Server
- 70-218 Managing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Environment
(Available January 2002, according to the
MCSA Requirements page)
- 70-279 Managing a Microsoft Windows .NET Server Network
Environment (Available later in 2002).
Candidates must pass one exam from the following list, with
certain substitutions allowed. First, I cover the list, then
Two kinds of substitutions are possible. Those eligible to
take 70-240 Microsoft Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for MCPs
Certified on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, may substitute that
single exam for any or all of 70-210, 70-215, and 70-216.
Anyone who has taken and passed the CompTIA A+ and Network+
exams, or the CompTIA A+ and Server+ exams, may substitute
those exams for the MCSA elective exam as well.
- 70-028 Administering Microsoft SQL Server 7.0
- 70-081 Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Exchange
- 70-088 Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Proxy
- 70-216 Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows
2000 Network Infrastructure
- 70-224 Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft
Exchange 2000 Server
- 70-227 Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft
Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000,
- 70-228 Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft
SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition
- 70-244 Supporting and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows NT
Server 4.0 Network
I think the MCSA will be well-received in the certification
community. Because it requires fewer exams (4 versus 7) than
the MCSE it can serve as a resting place for those who want to
pause on the way to obtaining an MCSE. But the MCSA should also
be a pretty successful credential in its own right, especially
for those MCSEs for Windows NT 4.0 who may not want to upgrade
their MCSEs but who may also want Windows 2000 credentials on
their MCP transcripts.
For the complete, official story on the MCSA, please visit the
MCSA page on the Microsoft Web site.
What Does It All Mean?
In closing this issue's column, I'd like to comment briefly on why
I think Microsoft is changing its tune on Windows NT 4.0 certs, and
what the change really means.
In essence, certification programs are very much driven by numbers.
To a large extent, Microsoft's change of position is a "reality check,"
driven by the relatively slow upgrade progress of MCSEs into their new
program. I believe that the company's realization that the number of
MCSEs (currently over 398,000 as per the certification counts of 8/1/2001
at www.mcpmag.com) would drop dramatically--perhaps by as much as 80
per cent--when the Windows NT 4.0 MCSEs expired en masse on 12/31/2001
has as much to do with this phenomenon as any amount of listening to
customers and partners might. I helped spearhead an "Open Letter to
Microsoft" with the folks at www.examcram.com that advocated this position
in March, 2000, and we were by no means alone in asking for the very
solution that Microsoft has now adopted. But it's the numbers that have
made this position inevitable, since Microsoft has no intention of
relinquishing its position as the biggest and most successful of all IT
MCP Magazine's report that only "about 47,000" MCSEs currently qualify
as "MCSEs on Microsoft Windows 2000" means that it's unlikely that more
than 60,000 to 70,000 will achieve that designation by the year's end.
To see the numbers of MCSEs drop from nearly 400,000 to under 100,000
would deal a serious blow to Microsoft's position at the top of the
But that's not all: Microsoft newly-revised "Discontinuation of Exams"
policy states that all exams will have an active life of at least 24
months from here on out. It also states that that any exams planned for
discontinuation will be announced as such at least 12 months in advance
of the planned discontinuation date. Couple this change with the
resuscitation of Windows NT 4.0 certification credentials, Microsoft's
announced policy of maintaining Windows 2000 and Windows XP/Server .NET
credentials in parallel (meaning that the Windows 2000 exams can't be
discontinued until the Windows XP/Server .NET exams are likewise
discontinued) and I see the following influences also at work:
From all this hoopla, I draw the conclusion that Microsoft wants to
protect the value of its certification programs, and that it has decided
to officially recognize the slow uptake of its newer workstation and
server software in the marketplace. Although late in coming, I see this
as a welcome sign of intelligent life in Redmond, and a recognition of
the status of its software in IT infrastructures.
- Customers have not been as quick to upgrade to Windows 2000 as
Microsoft had hoped. Windows NT 4.0 remains very much in use today.
Microsoft has decided not to ignore this huge installed base.
- Certified professionals have been understandably nervous about
upgrading to Windows 2000 exams, only to be forced to upgrade
again to a newer version of exams for XP/Server .NET.
- With upgrades to Windows 2000 only now seriously underway, the next
generation probably won't gain serious momentum until late in 2002
or 2003, if not later.
Do you see something in these events and announcements that I don't? If
so, please e-mail me at [email protected] and I'll be glad to take your comments, suggestions, and criticisms into account.
NOTE: This column was originally written for Issue #65 of the Exam Cram
Insider, a free bi-weekly newsletter for the certified professional.
Please visit the Website at http://www.examcram.com/insider, and sign
up for this newsletter today!
(c)2001, Exam Cram Insider and Coriolis. Reproduced by permission of the publisher.
NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
MS Backpedals on NT 4.0 MCSE Decertification
Just after the deadline of our Thursday Issue, MS publicly backed off
their policy to revoke the MCSE title from anyone that had not done
the W2K track by the end of this year. Just in time Microsoft! But
not without MCSEgg on your face. It's been all over the press already.
They will now recognize two separate MCSE titles. If you certified
for NT 4.0 Server you will retain your title indefinitely and it
will be MCSE for NT 4.0. That's a fair way to handle the issue.
If you passed the way more difficult W2K exams you'll be able to
sport the formal title of MCSE on Microsoft Windows 2000. This will
allow you to charge premium fees. The new approach in two separate
tracks is valid for Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) as well.
Microsoft stated that in the past it did retire credentials on older
versions of its certifications. "With the increased complexity of
IT environments, however, it has become difficult for the company
to accurately predict the appropriate timing for such retirements,"
the company said in a statement.
Pardon my French, but that is PR-BS. They went along and tried to
strong-arm all existing MCSE's into upgrading with the threat of
losing their credentials. This strategy backfired with a vengeance
and alienated a very high percentage of loyal MS users. What they
tried to solve was the "Paper MCSE" problem but like in many cases
the cure was far worse than the disease. The policy change will not
affect the retirement of the 70-240 Win2K Accelerated Exam, which
will still happen Dec. 31, 2001. The free voucher for this exam
also ends Nov. 1, 2001.
Microsoft finally acknowledged this week that up to now, there are
just 47,000 W2K MCSEs. That's around 12 percent of the about 400K
total MCSEs. And, they introduced the new title: MCSA just like I
suggested in August. This is a good intermediate level that I think
a lot of people are going to like. Microsoft Certified System
Administrator is something what will also communicate well to Human
Resources departments. A new Microsoft exam is being created for
this certification track, Exam 70-218, Managing a MS Windows 2000
I'm glad MS came to their senses. Here are a few good links with
more data. First is MCPMagazine:
Second is the MS explanation on their Training and Services Site
THIRD PARTY NEWS
Special ISP Offer For W2Knews Subscribers
W2Knews brings you a special deal together with IntNet.net (A national
ISP). IntNet.net and W2Knews would like to do our part in assisting
our country and helping the victims of New York.
In order to help raise funds, the two companies will donate $2.00 A
MONTH for each person who signs up with IntNet.net for dial-up ISP
Access. IntNet.net will donate the money to one of four charities
which you yourself can pick. They are: The American Red Cross,
International Association of Firefighters, September 11th Fund,
NY Fraternal of Police WTC Fund.
In addition to the above, the first 100 new customers will receive a
FREE patriotic T-shirt. Sign up with IntNet.net today and a portion
of your monthly bill will go to help those who need it now. You can
securely sign-up on-line. Apart from this offer, Sunbelt has donated
10% of September profits to the American Red Cross. Sign up here:
Did You Know? Sunbelt has a FREE MCSE LIST
Sunbelt Software hosts this list to invite the free and open discussion
of MCSE Certification Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to
discuss how to obtain Microsoft Certification.
What does that include? Anything you can think of (study methods,
tools, scripts, hints & tips, exchange of knowledge and experience,
suggestions to solve problems) to get certified.
- Discuss MCSE related problems and/or challenges, how to, what to,
why to, type questions.
- Discuss third-party MCSE study products, websites, aides, flashcards,
etc. and your experiences with them.
- Discuss new directly Microsoft related certification like Cisco (or
other coming platforms)
We allow Vendor involvement in the list. Vendors are requested to not
blatantly promote products. Sunbelt reserves the right to now and then
make the list aware of a new product as an exchange for the bandwidth
we provide. If vendors don't address the issue in a technical fashion
their subscription will be revoked. Any participant flaming another will
get one warning from the LIST ADMINISTRATOR. The next time
their email address and/or domain will be banned from the list.
- Violate any non-disclosure agreements you have signed.
- Try to exchange Transcender disks as this violates your license
agreement with Transcender and could get Sunbelt in legal hot water.
- Post large articles to the list, web pages were made for that. Send a
link with the URL!
- Generate noise (off-topic stuff), voice your upset, flame, or make
inflammatory remarks. Save that for offline or better yet, do not do
it at all.
As you see, this gives you a very wide range of topics to discuss in
a professional environment. Sunbelt hopes that the list proves useful
to you and your organization. This list has saved a lot of people a
lot of time and all of you that are contributing are much appreciated!
TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LIST (Tell your friends!)
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"Continuing improvements in performance and reliability are key areas
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This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
A cool little tool to Backup/Restore network configuration, ideal
for admins and mobile users. Free from MS:
Microsoft gave Windows Product Activation to Deloitte & Touche
Auditors to see if they transmit confidential data. Results:
SecureTips. A good site with a bunch of useful hints and tips
[Public Service Announcement]: Is your child diagnosed with ADD?
You might want to see the video's on this site in that case
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
FREE STUDY GUIDES-MCSE Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for Dummies!
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