Allure Media's IT manager Ben White is an alpha geek, a technology guru and the first person to install every beta going around. How is the Microsoft Virtual Academy site helping him master Windows Server 2012?
Our in-house servers at Allure Media run Windows Server 2008, so I've been following developments with Windows Server 2012 pretty closely. As soon as the final trial version was available for testing, I downloaded a copy and installed it as a VM so I could get a feel for how it worked.
The install process went very smoothly, and the new Windows 8 interface makes it easy to get around. But I quickly realised that learning Windows Server 2012 in-depth and working out how it could improve our business systems would require more than just some casual clicking about, especially after I got exposed to some of the more advanced features of the platform at TechEd Australia 2012.
That's where the Windows Server 2012: Technical Overview course on Microsoft Virtual Academy comes in. I've been able to work through the modules I'm interested in and test my knowledge when I'm done. Having video content is more effective for me than just reading through a bunch of files, though there is plenty of detail if I want to check something more specific. The ones that immediately interest me are the server virtualisation and automation tracks, but it's good to know I can pick up on other aspects when I need them.
Lifehacker, Gizmodo and Kotaku keep me pretty busy (not to mention my life outside of work), so committing to a formal course of study would be pretty much impossible. With the Virtual Academy materials, I can take time out for education when it suits, whether I'm at work or on the train home. The self-assessment module means I can check whether I've absorbed everything, but there's no pressure and I can learn at my own pace. That said, the fact that there's a leaderboard does appeal to my inner gamer! Maybe I'll tackle that identity management module . . .