MS Press Training Kit Exam 70-462 – A Review

This is a review of Training Kit Exam 70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases. It is written by Orin Thomas, Peter Ward, and boB Taylor (that’s how it appears on the book, not sure if it’s a typo) , and was published by Microsoft Press. This should be one of your main resources if you are working towards the new 70-462 Exam. It’s well written and covers the new stuff that’s in the latest SQL release. I recommend it to all SQL test takers.

The SQL Exams have changed for 2012. First off, there’s more of them, and more acronyms too. To get your MCSA you’ll need the 462 exam plus 461 (Querying SQL 2012) and 463 (Implementing Data Warehousing). Then there’s MCSE, which comes in 2 flavors; Data Platform (MCSA plus 464 on Developing SQL Server and 465 on Designing Solutions) or Business Intelligence (MCSA plus 466 on Data Models and Reporting and 467 on Designing BI Solutions). There’s also upgrade paths if you hold earlier SQL certifications. You can read more here.

If you’ve read any previous Training Kit you’ll recognize this one. It lays out chapters based on exam points. Each chapter is further broken down into lessons. At the end of each lesson is are walkthroughs, a lesson summary and some question that review the material. Each chapter also has Case Studies, where you are given a few scenarios to think about. The book also comes with a CD with additional content; an ebook copy and a testing engine supplied by Measure Up that allows you to take practice exams.either in Certification or Study mode. The test questions are multiple choice and in Study mode you can configure the test to be limited to certain exam objectives or a set number of questions. From my past experience these questions do a good job of preparing for the real exam but they are nothing like what you’ll see there. But then again they aren’t meant to be.

The TK for 70-462 goes into great detail about setting up an environment for all the walkthroughs. There’s detailed instructions on how to set up a domain with a DC and 4 member servers. You’ll need these computers if you want to test Mirroring and Replication (Chapter 7) or Clustering and Always On (Chapter 8). I found these steps very helpful in setting up my SQL lab.

Besides the chapters on Mirroring and Clustering there are chapters on installing and configuring the different SQL 2012 components, working with logins and roles, troubleshooting, and much more. All the new features that were released with SQL 2012 are here. For instance there’s a section on how to install SQL on a server running Windows 2008 R2 Server Core. I didn’t notice any enhancement that was missing from the book.

The last chapter contains a set of 4 Code Case Studies. These are somewhat similar to the scenarios at the end of each chapter, but here you are given a short description and a T-SQL script. After that is a set of questions related to the code, followed by the answers explaining why each choice is correct or incorrect. This is a good practice if you’ve worked mostly with Management Studio to perform tasks. It’s helpful in seeing the sequence of events.

Another feature of the book I found very useful was the URLs for different topics. To cover everything involved with SQL would contain a series of books, not just one volume. So to help you get more information there are different More Info sections that contain links to that section in Book Online. There you can see what Microsoft says about the topic. Very helpful since it is a Microsoft exam after all.

I feel this Training Kit for 70-462 is an excellent resource for anyone studying for the exam. It may be all you need if you’re already familiar with earlier editions of SQL. There’s enough of the basis that haven’t changed. You’ll still need to know which feature is available in what edition, and you still need to know what’s new with 2012, and this book seems to cover that. But if you haven’t worked with SQL before, or if you haven’t received a certification yet, you may want to pair this book with others that covers some of the material in greater detail.