Start Preparing Today for the SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Certification Exam

If you plan to take the upcoming “Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition” (Exam 70-228) exam, which is scheduled to be released in January 2001, you will want to start preparing now. I has fortunate enough to be invited to take the beta test for this exam last November, and while I cannot tell you what’s on the test (I signed a non-disclosure agreement), I can at least provide you some guidelines on how to prepare for the test. Your first step in preparing for this test is to review the Microsoft Preparation Guide, which describes all of the topic that are covered on the test. Most of the topics you will find familiar, but there are a few new twists. One of the first twists is that SQL Server performance tuning and optimization is now a big part of the test. Unlike previous tests (which I also took), you need to have a good background in how to tune and optimize SQL Server. As you know, there are not many good resources on this topic, so I highly recommend you review this website before you take the exam. Sure, you may learn a lot that is not on the test, but you will also broaden your knowledge of SQL Server performance tuning and optimization, and also pick up some very important information you will need to pass the test. As a part of improving your SQL Server tuning skills, you will want to be sure you know how to read complex SELECT statements, and evaluate them for potential performance problems. I would suggest getting some practice by evaluating some complex queries you work with on a daily basis in Query Analyzer, using the Show Execution Plan option to help you better understand how they work, and see if you can figure out any ways to improve them. The more practice you have at this, the better prepared you will be for the test. If you are a DBA preparing for the test, you may have gotten in the habit of using Enterprise Manager to do a lot of your work, such as creating new databases, expanding databases, creating and modifying filegroups, building indexes, creating jobs, and so on. Enterprise Manager is great for many of these tasks because you don’t have to remember complex Transact-SQL to perform them.

Unfortunately, this test takes the opposite approach. Instead of you having to know how to perform most administrative operations using Enterprise Manager, you need to know how to perform them using Transact-SQL instead. So if you are a little weak on your Transact-SQL skills, I would definitely brush up on them before taking this exam. In fact, for every administrative topic listed in the Microsoft Preparation Guide, you should plan to know how to accomplish it using Transact-SQL. As you might have guessed, this test covers topics new to SQL Server 2000 that were not available in previous versions. This includes such new features as XML and Log Shipping. As you probably know, there is not too much information on these new features yet. I highly recommend you read the SQL Server 2000’s Books Online to learn more about these two new features. The information provided there should be more than enough to prepare you for the questions on the test. But don’t spend all of your time focusing on learning the new features of SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition before you take the test, you may also want to brush up on some parts of SQL Server that have been around for some time, especially if you don’t deal with them much. For example, you should get some hands-on experience (assuming you don’t have any recent hand’s on experience) in these areas:

  • Using SQL Server Profiler, and learning how to read a trace

  • How to set up SQL Mail and SQLAgentMail

  • How to set up linked servers

  • Using DTS

  • Setting up multi-server administration

  • Managing users and security

  • Upgrading 6.0, 6.5, and 7.0 databases to SQL Server 2000

As with all new Microsoft certification tests, this one is not easy. If you easily passed the SQL Server 7.0 certification test, you are probably in good shape for this test, although you do need to review the new features of SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition, and be sure your performance tuning skills are well polished.

If you have not taken a SQL Server certification test before, you will want to prepare thoroughly, and practice all of the topics (using both Enterprise Manager and Transact-SQL) listed in the Microsoft Preparation Guide before taking your first shot at this test.


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