Monday, March 24, 2014

Exchange 2013 Ultimate Bootcamp

We are excited to announce the arrival of a new class from VMTraining. Although this now means more work for me. The class has taken many months in the design and implementation to get the class ready.  We did our first delivery last week and it was a success. We only did a limited run to 10 students while the course was in beta.

The premise for the course is the following. How to properly run Exchange 2013 while running in a VMware environment.

For those that don't know me I don't teach much any more, I primarily do consulting. I have been an Exchange consultant and Trainer for almost 18 years now. I have done Exchange migrations and/or implementations for some of the largest companies in the world to include SanDisk, PepsiCo Bottling Ventures, Yahoo, Smith & Nephew, American Kennel Club, BB&T Bank, Capital Broadcasting Company, and many more.

The idea for this class came when I was talking with one of my Exchange trainer friends.  We were talking about how most of the implementations are being rolled out on VMware and we were talking about some of the configurations that must be done to make it work correctly.  Needless to say he was unaware of any of these changes.  So here is a guy who has trained hundreds if not thousands of Exchange students and 85% of them are running on VMware however they have no clue how to truly configure it.

It made me wonder. Why are people taking classes using Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) and it is built on top of Hyper V when their environments are running on VMware?  The answer. There are no other options out there. When you are taking a MOC class it is the same whether you take it from Global Knowledge, or New Horizons or any other school.  Your sole basis of buying the class is based upon price. Schools will argue how much experience and how great their trainers are, but ask them what they have done.  As someone told me before trainers train, they don't consult. 

So here were numerous issues that we have addressed with our class.
  1. We built our Exchange 2013 class on VMware vSphere 5.5.  We talk about how to configure storage, SANs, virtual and physical networking, backups, deployments, antivirus, and much more in a VMWare environment.
  2. Our class is being taught with real world consultants.  So we are actually doing this not just talking about it.  I finished the first class on Friday and Monday I have a meeting with a customer to actually upgrade their Exchange 2010 servers to Exchange 2013.
  3. Labs.  I believe that a student learns by doing, so we currently have 38 labs in our class, compared to 11 in the MS 20341 Core Solutions of Exchange class.  By the next class we will have at least 45 and my goal is over 50 high quality labs on live real equipment not on some desktop.
  4. Lab Access.  Our labs are available to you 24 x 7 during class.  However, we have tons of labs and you might want to go through them more than once to reinforce learning new concepts.  We make our lab environment available to you after class so that you can continue to work on labs.  Also when new labs become available we let you have access to these.  Your learning doesn't stop on the last day of class.
  5. Third party tools integration. We also talk about integration with products like Symantec Enterprise Vault (ask some of those trainers if they even know what that is without googling it).  We talk about complex backups using various scenarios and backup software like Commvault, Netbackup, Veeam, and many others.  How do you want to handle things if you are running a SAN like Netapp.  How are you going to manager SNAP drive, SNAP Mirror, Flexclones, and much more.   Is that darn BES thing still around?  How do you implement that with Exchange?  How about if I want to implement Mimecast?
Someone asked me a question.  "I am not running Exchange on VMware, so I guess this class isn't for me"  Absolutely not!!!  yes, we built this class with an emphasis of running it on VMware but we also talk about Hyper V and Physical.  So if you want the best Exchange class in the world we believe we have that.  If you want the ONLY class running and teaching on VMware we are that.

Another question I got was "I found an Exchange class from new Horizons for $2200 and that is cheaper than yours."  My response.  "Shop around I guarantee you that you could get it for under $2000."  We aren't competing against them on price, because we don't have an equivalent product.  The same way a Ferrari doesn't compete with a Ford Pinto. 

So you have to ask yourself if you are in the market for a class, do you want to settle for a mediocre class from a MS training center or pay a tad bit extra to get all of these benefits.

I hope to see you in a future class.