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Microsoft's MCSE Private Cloud and new virtualization certifications

The expanded list of Microsoft certifications now includes MCSE Private Cloud. Admins worth their salt should get familiar with the changes now.

If you haven't recently taken a look at current Microsoft certifications, now is the time to familiarize yourself with what's available -- including the new MCSE Private Cloud.

Are you a Hyper-V pro? Prove it! Microsoft virtualization certifications help you document your knowledge, both to yourself and to your current and future employers. I have used various certifications to challenge myself to learn a topic with which I have limited experience. Simply put, certifications are blueprints for learning a topic, as defined by industry experts.

Virtualization and cloud computing are two of the hottest topics in technology today. Individuals with certification and experience in those areas are in high demand from employers around the globe.

Microsoft's MCSE Private Cloud

With the release of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Microsoft has really upped its virtualization game. Additionally, the release of System Center 2012 has proven Microsoft as a strong private cloud computing vendor. Microsoft is subsequently upgrading its certification programs around these areas.

The newest cloud certification program from Microsoft is the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) Private Cloud, which covers Windows 2012 Hyper-V and System Center 2012. Yes, Microsoft has brought back the MCSE in honor of the cloud. The old Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) exam was retired a few years ago and replaced with the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), which will now be retired.

This new MCSE certification not only covers private cloud, but also Windows Server and applications such as SharePoint and Exchange. It requires you to take the following certification exams:

  • Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 -- Exam 70-410
  • Administering Windows Server 2012 -- Exam 70-411
  • Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services -- Exam 70-412
  • Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 -- Exam 70-246
  • Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 -- Exam 70-247

Additional reading on IT certifications

Alternatives to VMware VCP

Is a virtualization certification worth the effort?

Virtualization certificates: Getting started

These exams cost $150 each, bringing the total cost of MCSE Private Cloud accreditation to $750. Once you pass all five exams, you'll have a MCSE Cloud certificate.

Virtualization-specific certifications

Aside from this cloud-specific certification, there is also a series of Microsoft virtualization certifications, including the MCITP: Virtualization Administrator. To date, Microsoft has not updated the certification for Windows Server 2012
Hyper-V and it remains a Windows 2008 R2-level exam. To obtain it, you need to pass the following exams:

  • TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization -- Exam 70-659
  • TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization -- Exam 70-669
  • Pro: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator -- Exam 70-693

In addition to the IT pro-level virtualization certification, Microsoft also offers an associate-level virtualization certification called Microsoft Technology Associate: Virtualization Administrator. However, that exam is also still based on Windows Server 2008 R2.

Microsoft does have a number of Windows Server 2012 certification exams available and even Windows 2012 Server certifications. These all include questions about Hyper-V and virtualization, yet none are virtualization-specific certifications. Both the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) in Windows Server 2012 exemplify certifications that include virtualization but are not virtualization-specific. Passing the Hyper-V portion of either exam gives you the title of Microsoft Certified Professional, but that doesn't carry as much weight as MCSA or MCSE.

I suspect that the Microsoft virtualization-only certifications will soon be updated for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, but the vendor has not given any official word.

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