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I thought of numerous times to write this to help you folks prepare for the exam 70-743 (Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA: Windows Server 2016) but never had the time to do it. Hope this still finds you well in time!

When I received the invitation for the beta exam last year I immediately accepted it and scheduled it for August. This was my first beta exam and I never really understood how much effort I had to put into the exam until it was a week or two before the exam day. I usually start with instructor-led video tutorials and end with cross checking that I have covered everything that is mentioned in the exam blueprint. Man, this was brand new, in beta, and I could hardly find anything to get going except the blueprint. I like challenges and I don’t usually give up; wasn’t planning to start with this one either. I jotted down the blueprint and started mapping the online content the best I could to expand each of those key components, which ended up being my guide, followed by a small lab environment built over Hyper-V and also a few years of experience with Windows Server and PowerShell under the belt.

I thought of sharing this sooner but I wanted to wait until I see that I have passed the exam myself before I send others down a path of unknown fate. I’m ready to share it now and hopefully this helps you in getting through the exam. I am certifying the quality of this guide with my fresh “Charter” status on the certification. 🙂

Fair warning, I prepared this guide for the beta version of the exam and the blueprint may have changed since then. Make sure you are always up to date with the exam blueprint that you can find here. Also, this exam has more weight on knowing how to do most of the things via PowerShell and working with containers and Docker.

I wish you all the very best in your certification attempts and if this helped you pass I would be really happy to know about it! Share the good news with me if time permits.

70-743 Self Study Exam Guide

You can find this guide in a well formatted manner in the PDF:  70-743 Self Study Guide

Install Windows Servers in host and compute environments

  • Install, upgrade, and migrate servers and workloads
    • Determine Windows Server 2016 installation requirements; determine appropriate Windows Server 2016 editions per workloads; install Windows Server 2016; install Windows Server 2016 features and roles; install and configure Windows Server Core; manage Windows Server Core installations using Windows PowerShell, command line, and remote management capabilities; implement Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) to install and maintain integrity of installed environments; perform upgrades and migrations of servers and core workloads from Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2016; determine the appropriate activation model for server installation, such as Automatic Virtual Machine Activation (AVMA), Key Management Service (KMS), and Active Directory-based Activation
  • For TP 5
    • Windows Server Edition Family (Datacenter): 6XBNX-4JQGW-QX6QG-74P76-72V67
    • Windows Server Edition Family (Standard): MFY9F-XBN2F-TYFMP-CCV49-RMYVH
    • Windows Server Essentials: NYK9H-Y2FDB-2XKGC-F2XHK-WTT88

Implement storage solutions


Implement Hyper-V


  • Install and configure Hyper-V
    • Determine hardware and compatibility requirements for installing Hyper-V, install Hyper-V, install management tools, upgrade from existing versions of Hyper-V, delegate virtual machine management, perform remote management of Hyper-V hosts, configure virtual machines using Windows PowerShell Direct, implement nested virtualization
        • Disable DM: Set-VMMemory -VMName <VMName> -DynamicMemoryEnabled $false
        • 2 packet routing options:
  • MAC Spoofing at the virtual switch of the physical host.
  • Use new NAT switch at the “middle VM”.
  1. Aggregated: IOPS limits are shared across all assignee VHD’s.
  2. Dedicated: IOPS are dedicated to individual assignee VHD’s.
        • Create policy:
          • New-StorageQosPolicy -Name Desktop -PolicyType Dedicated -MinimumIops 100 -MaximumIops 200 [-PolicyId 24735331-0a1b-4a69-a973-dd6dd74ea07f -MaximumIOBandwidth 10MB]
        • Set policy:
          • Get-VM -Name “VM Name” | Get-VMHardDiskDrive | Set-VMHardDiskDrive -QoSPolicyID $storagePolicy.PolicyId
        • Confirm that the policies are applied.
          • Get-StorageQoSFlow
            • Uses an average of each counter using a 5-minute sliding window.
        • Remove policy:
          • Get-VM -Name “VM Name” | Get-VMHardDiskDrive | Set-VMHardDiskDrive -QoSPolicyID $null
      • sQoS Normalization
        • Get IOPS normalization size:
          • Get-QoSPolicyStore
        • Set IOPS normalization size:
          • Set-QoSPolicyStore -IOPSNormalizationSize 32KB
      • sQoS Monitoring
        • Get-StorageSubSystem -FriendlyName “FriendlyName” | Debug-StorageSubSystem
  • Configure Hyper-V networking
    • Add and remove virtual network interface cards (vNICs), configure Hyper-V virtual switches, optimize network performance, configure MAC addresses, configure network isolation, configure synthetic and legacy virtual network adapters, configure NIC teaming in VMs, configure virtual machine queue (VMQ), enable Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) on network adapters bound to a Hyper-V virtual switch using Switch Embedded Teaming (SET), configure Bandwidth Management

Implement Windows containers


  • Deploy Windows containers
    • Determine installation requirements and appropriate scenarios for Windows containers, install and configure Windows Server container host in physical or virtualized environments, install and configure Windows Server container host to Windows Server Core or Nano Server in a physical or virtualized environment, install Docker on Windows Server and Nano Server, configure Docker daemon start-up options, configure Windows PowerShell for use with containers, install a base operating system, tag an image, uninstall an operating system image, create Windows Server containers, create Hyper-V containers
  • Manage Windows containers

Implement high availability


  • Implement high availability and disaster recovery options in Hyper-V
  • Implement failover clustering
    • Implement Workgroup, Single, and Multi Domain clusters; configure quorum; configure cluster networking; restore single node or cluster configuration; configure cluster storage; implement Cluster-Aware Updating; implement Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade; configure and optimize clustered shared volumes (CSVs); configure clusters without network names; implement Scale-Out File Server (SoFS); determine different scenarios for the use of SoFS versus clustered File Server; determine usage scenarios for implementing guest clustering; implement a Clustered Storage Spaces solution using Shared SAS storage enclosures; implement Storage Replica; implement Cloud Witness; implement VM resiliency; implement shared VHDX as a storage solution for guest clusters
  • Implement Storage Spaces Direct
    • Determine scenario requirements for implementing Storage Spaces Direct, enable Storage Spaces direct using Windows PowerShell, implement a disaggregated Storage Spaces Direct scenario in a cluster, implement a hyper-converged Storage Spaces Direct scenario in a cluster
  • Manage failover clustering
    • Configure role-specific settings, including continuously available shares; configure VM monitoring; configure failover and preference settings; implement stretch and site-aware failover clusters; enable and configure node fairness
  • Manage VM movement in clustered nodes
    • Perform live migration; perform quick migration; perform storage migration; import, export, and copy VMs; configure VM network health protection; configure drain on shutdown

Implement Domain Name System (DNS)

  • Install and configure DNS servers
    • Determine DNS installation requirements, determine supported DNS deployment scenarios on Nano Server, install DNS, configure forwarders, configure Root Hints, configure delegation, implement DNS policies, implement DNS global settings using Windows PowerShell, configure Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), configure DNS Socket Pool, configure cache locking, enable Response Rate Limiting; configure DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities (DANE), configure DNS logging, configure delegated administration, configure recursion settings, implement DNS performance tuning, configure global settings using Windows PowerShell

Implement IP Address Management (IPAM)

ALL: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-docs/networking/technologies/ipam/ip-address-management–ipam-

  • Install and configure IPAM
    • Provision IPAM manually or by using Group Policy, configure server discovery, create and manage IP blocks and ranges, monitor utilization of IP address space, migrate existing workloads to IPAM, configure IPAM database storage using SQL Server, determine scenarios for using IPAM with System Center Virtual Machine Manager for physical and virtual IP address space management
  • Manage DNS and DHCP using IPAM
    • Manage DHCP server properties using IPAM, configure DHCP scopes and options, configure DHCP policies and failover, manage DNS server properties using IPAM, manage DNS zones and records, manage DNS and DHCP servers in multiple Active Directory forests, delegate administration for DNS and DHCP using role-based access control (RBAC)

Implement network connectivity and remote access solutions

Implement an advanced network infrastructure

  • Implement high performance network solutions
    • Implement NIC Teaming or the Switch Embedded Teaming (SET) solution and identify when to use each, enable and configure Receive Side Scaling (RSS), enable and configure network Quality of Service (QoS) with Data Center Bridging (DCB), enable and configure SMB Direct on Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) enabled network adapters, enable and configure SMB Multichannel, enable and configure virtual Receive Side Scaling (vRSS) on a Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ) capable network adapter, enable and configure Virtual Machine Multi-Queue (VMMQ), enable and configure Single-Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) on a supported network adapter
      • VMQ:https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/networking/2016/01/04/virtual-machine-queue-vmq-cpu-assignment-tips-and-tricks/
      • RDMA&SET:https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt403349.aspx
      • RSS or VMQ can be used at a single time on a NIC.
      • “RssBaseProcNumber” represents the CPU core a NIC should use for processing and should always be set to a value so that it steers the network processing from the core 0 that is mostly used by the system processing.
      • SET load balancing
        • Hyper-V port: best when VMQ is used.
        • Dynamic: based on “flowlets” and egress flow is rebalanced in real time.
      • DCB enables QoS and flow control.
      • QoS for SMB Direct
        • Install-WindowsFeature Data-Center-Bridging
        • New-NetQosPolicy “SMB” -NetDirectPortMatchCondition 445 -PriorityValue8021Action 3
        • Enable-NetQosFlowControl -Priority 3
        • Disable-NetQosFlowControl -Priority 0,1,2,4,5,6,7
        • Enable-NetAdapterQos -InterfaceAlias “SLOT 2*”
        • New-NetQosTrafficClass “SMB” -Priority 3 -BandwidthPercentage 30 -Algorithm ETS
      • New RDMA vNIC for SMB Direct
        • New-VMSwitch -Name RDMAswitch -NetAdapterName “SLOT 2”
        • Add-VMNetworkAdapter -SwitchName RDMAswitch -Name SMB_1
        • Enable-NetAdapterRDMA “vEthernet (SMB_1)”
        • Verify RDMA capabilities: Get-NetAdapterRdma
  • Determine scenarios and requirements for implementing software-defined networking (SDN)
    • Determine deployment scenarios and network requirements for deploying SDN; determine requirements and scenarios for implementing Hyper-V Network Virtualization (HNV) using Network Virtualization Generic Route Encapsulation (NVGRE) encapsulation or Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) encapsulation; determine scenarios for implementation of Software Load Balancer (SLB) for North-South and East-West load balancing; determine implementation scenarios for various types of Windows Server Gateways, including L3, GRE, and S2S, and their use; determine requirements and scenarios for distributed firewall policies and network security groups

Install and configure Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)

  • Install and configure domain controllers
    • Install a new forest, add or remove a domain controller from a domain, upgrade a domain controller, install AD DS on a Server Core installation, install a domain controller from Install from Media (IFM), resolve DNS SRV record registration issues, configure a global catalog server, transfer and seize operations master roles, install and configure a read-only domain controller (RODC), configure domain controller cloning

Implement identity federation and access solutions


Additional Resources