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Ace MCSE Exam 70-217: Directory Services Infrastructure

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You've heard all about Active Directory, but do you know all about it? You'd better if you want to pass this test. This exam covers two key areas: Active Directory and Group Policy. Exam 70-217 will challenge your understanding of the design, implementation, and administration of Active Directory. This article by expert Joseph Phillips will give you a compass through the confusion.
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Ace MCSE Exam 70-217: Directory Services Infrastructure

Active Directory is one of the largest, if not the largest, change in Microsoft networks. Exam 70-217 will test your knowledge of the design, implementation, and administration of AD (Active Directory) in various circumstances.

When you begin to study for this exam, invest time in learning the nomenclature for the parts of AD and what they're responsible for. Once you've got the terminology down, create a test lab in which you can experience each one of the objectives rather than just reading about them.

The exam itself is a typical Microsoft exam; nothing too out of the ordinary. You'll encounter plenty of tough, long-winded, multiple-choice questions. Don't be surprised if you see drag-and-drop questions, questions with exhibits, and the new scenario-based questions that require your analysis of a proposed solution to a problem.

For the most part, this exam covers two key areas: Active Directory and Group Policy. If you're sketchy on either of these areas, spend more time studying before you spend $100 only to fail the exam.

Now that you know about the exam mechanics, let's discuss the objectives.

Installing and Configuring Active Directory

A thorough understanding of Active Directory concepts, design, and theory is required prior to installing AD. You'll need to know the architecture of AD: forests, trees, and domains; and how to create each. Once you're familiar with the concepts, install AD on a couple of servers, and begin creating resources within your domain. You should create a flow of OUs (Organizational Units), and assign resources to each. You'll need an understanding of how to automatically install domain controllers: think sysprep.

You'll need to have a working knowledge of sites, subnets, site links, and connecters to pass this exam. You'll need to configure site membership and work with the global catalog. Spend time creating sites and site link bridges in your lab—if you have enough servers. It'll pay off when it comes to this exam.

Know your operation master roles: relative ID Master, PDC emulator, infrastructure master role, schema master, and domain naming master; and how to transfer these roles from server to server. In addition to the GUI tools, such as AD Users and Computers, learn the command-line utility ntdsutil.exe and how it can control any of these transfers.


Study Hint: Know the syntax of the available commands in the ntdsutil tool, and what it can and can't do.

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