Home > News > New Path to Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft SQL Server 2008

New Path to Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft SQL Server 2008


The Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) certification on Microsoft SQL Server helps provide the most experienced and talented IT professionals with worldwide validation and recognition of their in-depth technical expertise in using SQL Server.

Due to the growing worldwide demand to participate in the MCM program for SQL Server 2008, we have made program changes to ensure that more SQL Server experts who want to validate their in-depth technical skills can do so.

On This Page

The recommended candidate for an MCM: SQL Server 2008 typically has five or more years of hands-on experience in planning complex, mission-critical SQL Server environments. Competencies include designing and implementing high-performance, scalable, secure enterprise environments and troubleshooting the most challenging SQL Server issues.

A candidate should have experience managing multiple instances of SQL Server, including the use of a variety of features and tasks, and have a thorough understanding of SQL Server design and architecture. Individuals pursuing the MCM on SQL Server certification may include senior-level consultants, support engineers, technology architects, senior database engineers, or administrators working independently or for various types of organizations.

The recommended candidate should have a thorough understanding of SQL Server core engine components and dependencies, such as online transaction processing, high availability, disaster recovery, performance-tuning and optimization, SQL Server operating system (SQLOS) internals, storage engine, relational engine, security, manageability, and data distribution technologies.

2. Prerequisite certifications

Candidates must hold the following two prerequisite Microsoft Certifications in order to be awarded an MCM: Microsoft SQL Server 2008:

3. Requirements for achieving an MCM certification

To obtain an MCM: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 certification, a candidate must comply with the Microsoft Certification requirements and pass the following two MCM exams:

The Knowledge Exam has a multiple-choice format. The Lab Exam is a hands-on lab. A candidate must pass the Knowledge Exam before the Lab Exam.

4. Exam topics

For candidates to prepare for the Knowledge Exam and Lab Exam, it is recommended that they have hands-on experience and knowledge in the skill areas detailed in this section. Some skills will be tested in the Knowledge Exam and others in the Lab Exam.

 

Note Microsoft reserves the right to determine which objectives are tested in which exam. Microsoft also reserves the right to periodically modify the requirements and content of the Knowledge Exam and Lab Exam in order to preserve the integrity of the certification program.

4.1 Recoverability and integrity
The candidate should have a thorough knowledge of SQL Server recoverability and data integrity concepts and should be able to design, implement, and troubleshoot specific scenarios. The candidate should also be able to determine an appropriate data recovery solution that minimizes disruption and data loss.

4.2 Manageability
The candidate should have experience with deployment and enforcement of policies and configurations. The candidate should also have experience designing, deploying, and troubleshooting maintenance strategies, monitoring solutions, build-out standards, data retention processes, and consolidation strategies based on application and business requirements.

4.3 Security
The candidate should be able to derive security requirements based on organizational compliance needs and requirements. The candidate should also be able to articulate and apply SQL Server security best practices, identify vulnerability scenarios, and remediate security issues.

4.4 Performance
The candidate should be able to identify performance issues and determine the appropriate solution. The candidate should also be able to distinguish root-cause issues from lower priority side effects, and evaluate diagnostic output in order to assess the health of an environment. The candidate should be familiar with capacity planning, baselining, and benchmarking techniques. The candidate should have an in-depth understanding of performance tuning and troubleshooting techniques and their effect on system resources.

4.5 Availability
The candidate should be capable of designing and implementing an availability strategy based on business and application requirements. The candidate should also be able to identify, troubleshoot, and resolve availability issues.

4.6 Developer support
The candidate should be capable of recommending appropriate schema design, query tuning, and query technology methods based on application and business requirements. The candidate should also be familiar with the various SQL Server data movement and distribution methods and be able to apply them appropriately based on application requirements.

4.7 Scalability
The candidate should be capable of defining a scalability strategy and applying appropriate technologies and features based on business or application requirements. The candidate should also understand the implications of interoperability between features and be able to identify and resolve scalability implementation issues.

5. Language availability

At this time, Knowledge Exams and Lab Exams are only available in English.

6. Knowledge Exam and Lab Exam scheduling

Candidates schedule and register for exams via the Prometric website.

7. Score waiting period

To ensure exam integrity and security, Microsoft will not immediately reveal Knowledge Exam and Lab Exam scores.

7.1 Waiting period for Knowledge Exam results
The waiting period to receive the Knowledge Exam score (pass/fail) from the test provider is up to 30 business days (approximately six weeks). Candidates who pass the Knowledge Exam must wait 14 days after receiving the passing score before scheduling the Lab Exam.

7.2 Waiting period for Lab Exam results
The waiting period to receive the Lab Exam score (pass/fail) from the test provider is up to 30 business days (approximately six weeks).

8. Retake attempts

There is no limit on the number of exam retakes that candidates can attempt if they do not pass an exam. However, they must pay the associated exam fee for each retake exam.

9. Retake waiting period

Candidates must wait a minimum of 90 days before retaking an exam that they did not pass.

10. Exam attempts for already passed exams

Candidates cannot retake any exam that they already passed.

11. Exam agreements and policies

Candidates are solely responsible for understanding and complying with the Non-Disclosure Agreement and General Terms of Use for Microsoft Certification exams (Exam Agreement), Microsoft exam policies and procedures, and the test provider’s exam policies and procedures.

Prior to taking an exam, candidates are required to accept the Exam Agreement.

Microsoft Certification exams, including questions, answers, and diagrams, are confidential and proprietary to Microsoft and are protected by intellectual property laws.

Any candidate who violates the Exam Agreement or engages in any misconduct will be prohibited from taking any Microsoft Certification exams, and Microsoft may revoke their existing Microsoft Certifications.

12. Upgrade process for an existing MCM on SQL Server

As a benefit to people who already hold an MCM on Microsoft SQL Server, there are reduced requirements to achieve consecutive versions of the certification. The process is as follows:

  • An existing MCM on SQL Server may follow the upgrade path to the consecutive software version.
    • For example, a candidate can upgrade from an MCM on Microsoft SQL Server 2005 certification to an MCM on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 certification, and can also upgrade from an MCM: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 to the next major version of Microsoft SQL Server.
    • To upgrade to the consecutive version of Microsoft SQL Server, the candidate is permitted by Microsoft to bypass the Lab Exam requirement and only pass the Knowledge Exam for the consecutive version of Microsoft SQL Server:
      • If the candidate passes the Knowledge Exam, the associated MCM: SQL Server certification will be granted to the candidate and added to their transcript.
      • If the candidate does not pass the Knowledge Exam, he or she will be permitted to attempt an exam retake after a 90-day waiting period.
  • An existing MCM on SQL Server must pass both the Knowledge Exam and Lab Exam if he or she wants to skip from an MCM on Microsoft SQL Server 2005 to a SQL Server version later than 2008.

13. Certification and exam retirement

An MCM on Microsoft SQL Server certification will retire when Microsoft ends mainstream support for the particular software version. Exam retirement will be announced one year in advance.

14. Pricing

Pricing for the MCM: Microsoft SQL Server exams is as follows:

Exam Price
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master: Knowledge Exam US$500
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master: Lab Exam US$2,000

15. Test locations

Knowledge Exams and Lab Exams are only available at select, highly secure global test centers. Some test centers might only deliver Knowledge Exams, not Lab Exams. Test centers and the exams they deliver are subject to change. Candidates are responsible for confirming via the Prometric website as to whether their regional test centers currently deliver which exams.

Note MCM: SQL Server exams are only available in English, regardless of where the exam is taken.

16. Benefits

Achieving an MCM: Microsoft SQL Server certification provides the following benefits:

  • Use of the associated MCM: Microsoft SQL Server logo, subject to the logo licensing terms and conditions.
  • After filling out a survey, the candidate will receive a custom-made plaque reflecting the Microsoft Certified Master achievement.
  • The candidate will be given the choice to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement and release. If the candidate chooses to sign this agreement, the candidate will receive the following access:
    • Inclusion on an email distribution list that the MCM: SQL Server community uses to communicate with one another and which is also the vehicle for incoming community communications.
    • Invitations to ongoing education sessions (typically delivered monthly), which are often delivered by program managers and developers on the Microsoft SQL Server product team.
    • The option to be listed on the MCM public directory and MCM blogs.

Microsoft may, at its sole discretion, revoke a candidate’s Microsoft Certified Master certification or suspend access to certain benefits if the candidate becomes employed by a company that makes competing software for which the candidate receives confidential information under the Microsoft Certified Master program. Microsoft reserves the right to modify program requirements and benefits at any time.

17. MCM: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 readiness

Although the most effective preparation is real-world, hands-on experience, there are a number of training resources that can help prepare a candidate for the Knowledge Exam and Lab Exam. This section details some readiness resources.

Note This is not an all-inclusive list, but instead represents coverage of the overall certification topic scope.

17.1 Instructor-led training courses

Microsoft Learning is planning to release four new instructor-led training courses in the first half of 2011. The courses will cover advanced SQL Server topics and will be delivered through select Microsoft Learning Partners. The following is a preview of the courseware topics:

  • Advanced SQL Server 2008 R2: Tuning a Scalable and Performance-Optimized Database Environment This four-day, instructor-led, 300-level course focuses on performance and tuning tasks: architecture, memory, waits and events, storage, CPU, DML processing, concurrency, TempDB considerations, and diagnostics toolsets in a scale-up or scale-out infrastructure. Through labs and demos, students practice tuning components of the SQL Server 2008 R2 environment. The course includes “deep dives” into key areas required for building scalable and performance-optimized database environments in real-world scenarios.
  • Advanced SQL Server 2008 R2: Managing and Monitoring Database Server Deployments This three-day, instructor-led, 300-level course provides students with the skills to help them efficiently manage their Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 database server. The manageability features include policy-based management, storage optimization, resource governance, and automating administrative tasks. Best practices and methodologies are shown in demos and lab exercises, with special emphasis on managing and maintaining databases larger than 10TB. The students will especially benefit from the depth of content.
  • Advanced SQL Server 2008 R2: Building a Secure Database Environment This three-day, instructor-led, 300-level course focuses on security features available in SQL Server 2008 to help students satisfy their compliance requirements, whether from HIPAA, PCI DSS, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or any other industry-governing body. Through labs and demos, students practice applying security principles by using tools in SQL Server 2008. Participants learn configuration tasks: security granularity, secure communications, database encryption, and methodologies for tracking database activities, including auditing. Security best-practice methodologies are also addressed. The course includes “deep dives” into key areas required for building a secure database environment in real-world scenarios. Feature availability in SQL Server editions (Developer, Standard, and Enterprise) are discussed as well as feature differences between SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008 R2.
  • Advanced SQL Server 2008 R2: Implementing and Managing High-Availability Database Server Deployments This three-day, instructor-led course provides students with the skills to help them manage their highly-available Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 database server deployment. The high-availability features include failover clustering, database mirroring, peer-to-peer replication, and log shipping. This course includes demos and hands-on labs to ensure that the students understand the high-availability solutions. The students will especially benefit from the depth of content.

Authorized Microsoft Learning Partners The following Microsoft Learning Partners are authorized to offer high-level courses on SQL Server.

17.2 Books

Note Some of the preceding links go to third-party sites. Such sites are not under the control of Microsoft, and Microsoft is not responsible for the contents of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site, or any changes or updates to such sites. Microsoft is not responsible for webcasting or any other form of transmission received from any linked site. Microsoft is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of Microsoft of the site or the products contained therein.

17.3 SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) readiness videos
To help candidates with their exam preparation, Microsoft Learning has published several hours of freely accessible MCM-level instruction delivered via video. Take advantage of this valuable training experience delivered by some of the top SQL Server instructors in the world.

17.4 Third-party training courses
Microsoft does not sponsor or endorse the following listed vendors or their services or products. However, these vendors may provide you with advanced-level training on SQL Server.

17.5 Third-party readiness resources
Microsoft does not sponsor or endorse the following listed sites or their services or products. However, these resources may be able to provide you with advanced-level preparation.

17.6 White papers and online references
The following are recommended Microsoft white papers and online references that you can use to help prepare for the MCM: SQL Server 2008 certification.

Backing Up and Restoring Databases in SQL Server
Capacity Planning for tempdb
Change Tracking
Data Compression
Data Compression: Strategy, Capacity Planning and Best Practices (sqlcat.com)
Database Administrator’s Guide to SQL Server Database Engine .NET CLR Environment
Database Mirroring Best Practices and Performance Considerations (sqlcat.com)
Database Mirroring Overview
Description of using disk drive caches with SQL Server that every database administrator should know
Disk Partition Alignment Best Practices for SQL Server (sqlcat.com)
Files and Filegroups Architecture
High Availability and Disaster Recovery at ServiceU: A SQL Server 2008 Technical Case Study (sqlcat.com)
High Availability Solutions Overview
Infrastructure Planning and Design (SQL Server 2008)
Introducing Resource Governor
Introduction to New T-SQL Programmability Features in SQL Server 2008
Introduction to Spatial Coordinate Systems: Flat Maps for a Round Planet
Log Shipping Overview
Managing SQL Server Workloads with Resource Governor
Microsoft Support for iSCSI (.DOC file, 168KB)
Online Indexing Operations in SQL Server 2005
Optimizing tempdb Performance
Overview of FAT, HPFS, and NTFS File Systems
Partitioned Tables and Indexes in SQL Server 2005
Physical Database Storage Design
Pre-deployment I/O Best Practices
RAID Levels and SQL Server
Reaching Compliance: SQL Server 2008 Compliance Guide (sqlcat.com)
Replication: Replication Agents Overview
Replication: Replication Publishing Model Overview
Replication: SQL Server Replication
Replication: Types of Replication Overview
Resource Governor Concepts
Running SQL Server 2008 in a Hyper-V Environment ‒ Best Practices and Performance Recommendations (sqlcat.com)
Securing SQL Server
Security Considerations for a SQL Server Installation
Security Overview (Integration Services)
Selecting a High Availability Solution
Service Broker: Performance and Scalability Techniques (sqlcat.com)
Setting Up Windows Service Accounts
SQL Server 2005 Row Versioning-Based Transaction Isolation
SQL Server 2005 Security Best Practices ‒ Operational and Administrative Tasks (sqlcat.com)
SQL Server 2005 Waits and Queues
SQL Server 2008 Failover Clustering (sqlcat.com)
SQL Server 7.0, SQL Server 2000, and SQL Server 2005 logging and data storage algorithms extend data reliability
SQL Server Replication: Providing High Availability using Database Mirroring (sqlcat.com)
Statistics Used by the Query Optimizer in Microsoft SQL Server 2005
Troubleshooting Performance Problems in SQL Server 2008 (sqlcat.com)
Tuning the Performance of Change Data Capture in SQL Server 2008 (sqlcat.com)
Using CLR Integration in SQL Server 2005
Using Replication for High Availability and Disaster Recovery (sqlcat.com)
Working with Tempdb in SQL Server 2005
XML Best Practices for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (sqlcat.com)
XML Options in Microsoft SQL Server 2005
XML Support in Microsoft SQL Server 2005

17.7 Blogs
There are Microsoft SQL Server team blogs as well as third-party blogs that will provide you with real-life experiences and industry perspectives. For a comprehensive list of recommended blogs, visit the MSDN SQL Server blog page.

 

Source: Microsoft (http://www.microsoft.com/learning)

Reference: Aleksey Fomchenko (https://sqlconsulting.wordpress.com)

 

Advertisements
Categories: News Tags: ,
  1. May 27, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Cheers

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: