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What is Microsoft’s 70-417 Exam, and Why Do I Care?

Hey everyone. Today I would like to give you the story behind Microsoft exam 70-417,  Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012.

This mega-test (actually three tests in one; more on that in a moment) serves as an upgrade for Windows administrators who currently hold one of the following Microsoft titles:

  • Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA): Windows Server 2008
  • Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2
  • MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: Lync Server Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 2010
  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7

If you pass the 70-417 exam, you become a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) in Windows Server 2012. Don’t be confused by the MCSA designation—the Server 2012 MCSA is a completely separate entity from the Windows Server 2008 MCSA.

As I alluded to earlier in this blog post, the 70-417 is a composite exam that consists of three free-standing but related testlets. These testlets, in turn, contain material from the following Windows Server 2012 certification exams:

  • Exam 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
  • Exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012
  • Exam 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services

The testlets are individually timed, but you are forced to take them one after the other with no extended break in between. You receive an overall pass/fail score at the conclusion of the third testlet.

As you can tell from the exam titles, the 70-417 content runs the gamut from Windows Server 2012 installation to configuration and troubleshooting. You’ll notice a decided emphasis toward PowerShell v3 on these tests. Therefore, you want to make sure you are fluent in PowerShell prior to sitting for your 417 exam.

Microsoft seems to have an issue (in my humble opinion, anyway) with adding needless complexity to their IT certification portfolio. To that point, passing the 70-417 exam qualifies you as an MCSA in Windows Server 2012; however, there are two more credentials that rate higher on the “Microsoft prestige scale” than the MCSA:

To upgrade your Windows Server 2008 MCITP to the Windows Server 2012 MCSE in Desktop Infrastructure, you must pass the following tests in addition to 70-417:

  • 70-415: Implementing a Desktop Infrastructure
  • 70-416: Implementing Desktop Application Deployments

To bring your Server 2008 MCITP into the realm of the Windows Server 2012 MCSE in Server Infrastructure, you must pass these exams in addition to the 70-417:

  • 70-413: Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure
  • 70-414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure

My CBT Nuggets colleagues Don Jones, Greg Shields, and James Conrad and I have all the Windows Server 2012 certification exams covered for you. Specifically, I am currently finishing a training course on the 70-417 exam. You are in good hands with us. 🙂

Happy studying! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave them in the comments portion of this post.


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