Exam 70-743, Upgrading MCSA Windows Server 2016 experience

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I will explain quickly my experience regarding the Exam 70-743, Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA: Windows Server 2016 exam from Microsoft I took last April.

It’s been a while since I took an exam from Microsoft (the latest was in 2013 I think) where you probably know that these kind of exams are multiple-choice or single-choice.

Through my career, I saw a lot of people cheating with these exams by memorizing the questions you can find on the internet and finishing it in just 20 minutes.

Despite I envied these persons because they weren’t putting the same effort as I did, in the end, this was translated in almost no knowledge about what they practiced nor familiar with all the features that Windows Server offers.

So, I encourage you to study the materials and practice in order to learn and bring value to yourself if you want to use these technologies from Microsoft.

The blueprint and webpage for this exam is the following one: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-743.aspx

 

About the exam

In my case, although I am experienced with Windows Server this kind of upgrade exams, which consists in a 3 in 1 exam, can be scary for someone who’s new or hasn’t touched many roles that Windows Server has.

Even I installed almost all roles from Windows Server 2016 there are some of them that aren’t so common and you should practice it in a homelab (best way to stick in your mind).

There are around 60 questions (the quantity may differ) chosen from the following exams:

Regarding the questions there is a mix of Drag and Drop, Radio buttons, Checkboxes, …you know, the usual ones in this kind of exams.

Important: Be aware that the feature “Nano Server” was removed/deprecated in Windows Server 2016 time ago, here is the official post from Microsoft: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/deprecated-features

Also read the changes that this exam suffered, in the official change document that Microsoft provides (is in the blueprint): https://query.prod.cms.rt.microsoft.com/cms/api/am/binary/RE2IoQP

So, even if you see a lot of information about Nano Server in guides or courses in my case I didn’t find any question in the exam related to it (as it was deprecated years ago).

 

Resources and suggestions

As a resource, I mainly used this course from Pluralsight (not free): https://app.pluralsight.com/paths/certificate/upgrading-your-skills-to-mcsa-windows-server-2016-70-743

There are a lot of videos there, I checked the ones I felt more insecure and practiced in the lab. Also, I do recommend that you use Powershell to install and configure everything you can and in this way, you will get used to it.

As this is a 3 in 1 exam, the range of features and roles to know is huge, knowing a bit of everything will help you to pass but, without practice, you won’t get anywhere…

Having experience helps a lot but if it’s not your case, focus on the roles and features you never used or are not used to use (ADFS, NPS, RRAS, Hyper-V, etc.).

 

So…

To conclude, I can say it’s a fair exam and a bit challenging maybe but if you practice a lot with all the roles that Windows Server 2016 offers and know the differences from Windows Server 2012 R2.

Also, the most important I think…practice with Powershell. It won’t only help you with the exam also, in your future!

 

 

 

 

 

Azure – Backup and restore SQL DB using SSMS

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A quick post talking about how to backup and restore a SQL database on Azure using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

First, you will need to install SSMS. You can download it here: https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=875802

Once installed, in order to access the database, you will need the server name where is installed. So, you will have to check the Server name in Azure Portal (you can also do it by Powershell of course):

Now, open SSMS and access the server name (you gathered the information before):

Export/Backup Database

Once you logged in, select the database you want to export -> Export Data-tier Application

In the new window > Next > Select where do you want to save the DB (you can do it locally or in a Storage Account), in our case Local Disk:

In the Advanced tab you can choose which tables you want to export, we will Select All:

Finally, we have a Summary of the process before exporting the database:

Then it will start to export the database, depending on the size of your DB will take more or less time to export:

Finally, we will have a file with .bacpac extension.

Import/Restore database

The process is almost the same but now we select Import Data-tier Application:

Continue selecting the file with .bacpac extension we exported before:

Then, with Database settings, here you can choose different options as you can do on the Azure portal:

Summary of the imported database:

Finally, it was imported successfully (it took a while for a 10 MB DB):

In consequence of the restore, it will appear the restored database (Restore_DB) in SSMS:

 

Therefore, I posted a quick way to export and import a SQL database by using SSMS. You could use it as a backup (please, not in local) or for example, to overwrite changes from UAT to PROD.

 

Azure – Error when adding new rule on NSG

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hello everyone!

It’s been a while since I wrote something, but I was so busy with other things (University) and I wasn’t able to allocate time to write anything.

Today I’m going to talk about an issue I found on Azure when trying to add new rules to some NSGs.

To create rules in Azure I used this script from TechNet Gallery: https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Create-Azure-Network-5f5c5332

Problem

I was trying to add some rules in an NSG with the address 193.23.120.230/30 and, when I execute the code, the output was:

Set-AzureRmNetworkSecurityGroup : Security rule has invalid Address prefix. Value provided: 193.23.120.230/30.
StatusCode: 400
ReasonPhrase: Bad Request
OperationID : ‘b2f7-b2f7-b2f7’
At line:4 char:55
+ … efix 193.23.120.230/30 -SourcePortRange * | Set-AzureRmNetworkSecurityGroup
+                                           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo          : CloseError: (:) [Set-AzureRmNetworkSecurityGroup], NetworkCloudException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Network.SetAzureNetworkSecurityGroupCommand

Tried again and again, and this only happened in certain NSGs, so well I thought there was a problem with the command line, I tried the same with the GUI and… the same.

Solution

Investigating the error it didn’t match with any of the new rules I was trying to add. Address 193.23.120.230/30 seems correct but if we use a subnet calculator, you will see this:

The right address should be deleting all ones after the netmask because it doesn’t care about what is after the netmask bits.

This means that the new address is 193.23.120.228/30 because we put zeros instead of ones after the netmask bits.

So, it seems a CIDN error! Seems that Azure let me add this rules in the past, but now it’s not accepting it so, if we change it the way that subnet calculator does, problem resolved!

Solution? Had to delete the non-compliant CIDR rules and added the new ones CIDR compliant. Executed the same in other NSGs and worked like a charm.
All rules are finally shown in Azure Panel:

Well, seems that Azure didn’t comply with CIDR addresses in the past and now it’s mandatory if it founds any non-compliant CIDR rule. An easy mistake that we can avoid checking our addresses before we try to add them to Azure.

And that’s all, Happy New Year!