I took these two beta exams this past week, and let me start off first by saying, Wow! These are quite possibly some of the most polished exams I’ve ever seen!
The content was clear and concise, the questions were spot-on, and the delivery was amazing! I had no comments to offer other than "Wow, great exam" (I’m paraphrasing!:))
However, going past that, we get into the depths of the Post-Mortem.
071-451 was an excellent exam, the questions were very focused on your ability to Design, Optimize, and continually work on making sure that your data was delivered in a consistent fashion while also validating for performance and a number of other figures. If you’re a day-in-day-out DBA who looks at improving your SQL Data, then this is the exam for you.
071-450 was also an excellent exam, the questions were very focused on your ability to actually manage your data, be it in clusters, clustered and non-clustered indexes, mirrors and especially the ability to back up your data. If you happen to wear the hat of managing the databases and spending less time writing queries, this exam is spot-on and will be a breath of fresh air to you.
In all, I have nothing special to offer you outside of "If you know you’re stuff, you’ll be ready for these exams"
However, I did encounter something disturbing. While taking 071-450 an exam focused on "Designing, Optimizing, and Maintaining" a database environment, I encountered a considerable volume of "How do I back this up" type of question, equally followed by a series of "How do I restore and get back into operation" type of questions.
Which leaves me to think, it’s 2008 already, is this seriously still a question? I hear it in the field all the time as well, and I’m seriously disturbed. The amount of data we have is growing, our windows – shrinking. There are options and opportunities to ensure you have a quick, efficient and effective backup, restore and operational window. When it’s still a question on the table – especially in an emerging product like SQL 2008, I have to seriously ask, Are we taking steps backwards instead of adopting the innovations available to us over the years?
Yes I work for NetApp, and yes I’ve seen the light offered by amazing solutions like SnapManager for SQL, and SnapManager for Oracle, and a series of other products to protect everything important within every small, medium and enterprise business. And to be honest, this isn’t rocket science (Rocket Science is FAR easier) especially when you compare it to the number of "backup" options available to "try" to protect your SQL environment only to leave you scratching your head and still unsure about your availability and recoverability.
And to be honest, this isn’t a commercial, whereas in reality that test was a wake-up call of "WTF is going on?!" I don’t want to be in this same position 2 years from now in 2010, and 12 years from now in 2020 and having it still be a question on the table of "How do we protect and recover our data?"