Today a nice box of author copies of “Exam Ref 70-345 Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016” arrived at my door. What a title. I have begun referring to in conversation as the “Exchange 2016 certification guide.”
Holding a physical copy of the book in my hands marks the end of a long process for me, which started in March this year when I signed a contract to co-author the book for Microsoft Press. Hopefully it marks the beginning of a new certification journey for many of you reading this.
The Journey to Publication
This year has taught me that traditional book publishing is a very different beast than the self-publishing we’ve been doing for the likes of Office 365 for IT Pros. When we publish eBooks we write, write, write, edit, produce, and then ship as soon as the book is ready to go. Then we fix anything that needs fixing afterwards, because no book is ever perfect. The experience of my first book with a traditional publisher (Microsoft Press) wasn’t the same. Not better or worse, just different. With the contract signed in March I needed to wrap up some other commitments first, then did most of my writing in May and June, which were hectic months of working late nights and weekends to meet my deadlines.
Things suddenly get very quiet after you hand in your first drafts for editing and review. There’s little jobs like writing introductions, acknowledgements, and bios, but nothing substantial. Until the publisher comes back with comments and questions that need fast turnaround, so there’s another flurry of activity to address all the feedback items. After completing edits there’s one last burst of activity when the final proofs are sent to you for review. The only changes that can happen at this stage are minor corrections, nothing substantial that would impact the layout of the content on the pages. As it turns out, I did miss at least one typo that has made it into the final print of the book and will haunt me forever. But such is life in the world of print publications.
After proofs were reviewed everything went quiet again. I was assured that the layoff of Microsoft Press editorial staff would not impact this particular book, and to my relief it looks like it hasn’t (although who knows what went on behind the scenes to get this project completed). The change from “pre-order” to “in stock” happened with little fanfare. Last night I was surfing around Amazon and noticed the book was now listed as in stock, and is already a “hot new release” in the Microsoft certification category (behind what I’m sure is a mis-categorized Python book).
Is Certification for Exchange Server 2016 Worth It?
I know that some of you might be wondering whether Exchange 2016 certification is worth pursuing these days, considering the clear trend towards Office 365. If you’re already interested or perhaps still considering it, I’ve got an offer towards the end of this blog post that might be helpful to you.
Some of you are already convinced it’s not worth certifying for an on-premises product in a cloud-first world. For IT pros who work for customers that are well into their cloud journey, I happen to think that Exchange 2016 certification is still of great value, even though Office 365 adoption is growing so fast.
The on-premises Exchange product is the same code that runs in Exchange Online. While it’s true that cloud services take away a lot of the concerns of deploying and managing on-premises infrastructure, there’s far more to Exchange than building servers, managing storage, troubleshooting DAGs, and other tasks that Microsoft takes care of for you when you host your email in office 365. The features of Exchange that provide a lot of the business value to customers and end users are yours to administer whether you’re on-premises or in the cloud.
To break that down, here’s the exam objectives for 70-345:
- Plan, deploy, manage and troubleshoot mailbox databases (15-20%)
- Plan, deploy, manage and troubleshoot client access services (15-20%)
- Plan, deploy, manage and troubleshoot transport services (15-20%)
- Plan, deploy and manage an Exchange infrastructure, recipients, and security (15-20%)
- Plan, deploy and manage compliance, archiving, eDiscovery and auditing (10-15%)
- Implement and manage coexistence, hybrid scenarios, migration and federation (10-15%)
Of those objective, the first three (mailbox databases, client access, and transport) are perhaps 20-40% directly relevant to Exchange Online customers. But even so, there’s value in understanding how Exchange infrastructure works to provide resilience and high availability, rather than be a mysterious cloud service. For example being able to speak confidently about how Native Data Protection, and how Exchange Online doesn’t use traditional backups (gasp!), is helpful for consultants dealing with clients who are unsure about “the cloud”, or IT teams pitching to internal business customers.
For the other three exam objectives I would say they are more like 70-80% directly relevant to Exchange Online customers. Topics such as managing recipients, RBAC roles, auditing, retention policies, data loss prevention, rights management, federation, hybrid, and eDiscovery are as important in the cloud as they are on-premises. And not all of those topics are covered by the Office 365 certification exams, so if you want to learn them and gain an acknowledgement of your proficiency in those areas, then Exchange 2016 certification is a good way to go.
And as an added bonus, there’s only one Exchange 2016 exam, instead of the two separate exams that have been required for Exchange 2013 and earlier versions. So if you’re contemplating an Exchange exam to fulfill an MCSA/MCSE requirement, or to fulfill a Microsoft Partner requirement, it might be faster to just do the Exchange 2016 exam.
One last thing! When you get your hands on your copy of the book, take a selfie and tweet it to @ExchServPro to let me know. I can’t wait to see people reading the book and passing their Exchange 2016 certification exam.
Thanks for your support, and good luck!
Thank you for all your information. We just upgraded our Exchange 2010 with Exchange 2016 and planning to do partial Office 365 for the company. Please help me out to decide what exam should i take to get certified with Exchange. Thank you and I need the book too.
I have ordered a copy of this book. I am very excited and look forward to receiving it.
Good luck Brian.
I have just passed 70-345 last week. I went through your entire book. It’s a great tool for on the job knowledge and the test. Thanks again.
I bought this book. This is a great book, it explains nicely with few pages(400 pages compare with 1000 pages).
How does it really cover the 70-345 exam? Because in my experience ExamRef books are more for basic preparation and it doesn’t provide enough to sit exams. Thanks!
The book has complete coverage of the exam objectives. Perhaps what you’re concerned about is the depth of coverage. There’s around 400 pages in the book, which is a lot, but of course you can always write more about a topic and go into more detail.
Could a person *only* read the book and pass the exam? Maybe, depending on their existing experience with Exchange. I think someone already proficient in Exchange 2013 could do it, but a beginner will need more hands on experience. That’s true of every Microsoft exam, and I think at this stage it is well understood that no single book can 100% prepare everyone for an exam.
You might be interested in one of my earlier comments on this topic too:
Just ordered the printed and e-book, look forward to digging in, I’m sure its a gem. Thank you for all your continued contribution to the messaging community and I am glad to support a fellow Exchange enthusiast.
FYI….I sent you my confirmation, hopefully your offer still stands.
Just got mine to read at the IT/DEV conference in Vegas in October. Getting ready for the exam.
The print and ebook are available (an plentiful) in the Microsoft Press Store. Got my combo today for less than $30 USD.
Thanks for your contributions to the community. I’ve been using your content since 2009 and you’ve inspired me to blog for myself as a personal knowledge base.
Vacation read in Thailand and Cambodia.
Thanks for all of the support and assistance to the Exchange community for so long. You have both saved me countless times and I have learned much from your books and posts.
There’s better ways to spend a vacation but thanks for the feedback 😉
I’m currently engrossed in this book. It’s a great read. Could only get the ebook from Amazon so no fresh book smell for me. Thank you for taking your time with this book.
I sent you my receipt yesterday , want to see if you received it ?
Looks like it’s there. I’ll be processing another batch today or tomorrow.
Awesome …. thanks Paul …
Paul, Does an Amazon Kindle Edition purchase of the book count towards the free copy of the Exchange Server 2016 Quick Start Guide eBook offer?
FYI: amazon.de will ship it by September, 15th. So I still hope I might get the free eBook as I preordered a few days ago – too bad amazon.de doe not ship earlier 🙁 Waiting to get my hands on it!
I will keep the free ebook offer running long enough to give everyone a chance. You can send me your pre-order receipt if you like.
Where can i get it? I would like to read first Exchange 2016 Quick Start Guide
I ordered it directly from the US and it will arrive on the 4th of October. Where can I sent the confirmation to get the free ebook? 🙂
exchangeexamoffer (at) practical365.com
Book Ordered. Thanks Paul, Can’t wait to cram in all that new 2016 knowledge and get the exam sorted!.
Is this book is good for beginners?
I would like to start learning the Exchange Server, but I had no contact with him so far.
Depends what you think of as a beginner. The exam is pitched towards people who already have some experience with Exchange (either 2016 or a previous version). I think anyone can learn Exchange, it’ll just take you longer if you’re new to Exchange and email administration in general.
Some of the very beginner level topics aren’t covered in the book, but that’s one of the reasons I’ve offered my Exchange 2016 Quick Start Guide to help people spin up a learning environment so that they can get more hands-on experience with the product.
I have placed the pre-order from amazon UK. Can’t wait. Good work Paul, you make my work easier.
Was able to pre-order on amazon.de – will send the receipt after that date 🙂 Go on with your good work, Paul.
Am planning to make the MCSE, so besides the 345 I will have to take the 346 exam too. Hope it will work out, don’t have much preparation time at the moment.
After September 6, that is (delivery will start then).
You need also exam 347 for the MCSE
only 4 left.. i got mine… thanks
Thanks for your continued support and contribution to the messaging community. Look forward to getting my hands on this book.
Paul, great work. However, this is not available in amazon.in, 🙁 sad part. Waiting for this one to appear in amazon.in 🙂
Hopefully not long to wait. I might need to extend the free eBook offer to give everyone a chance. Let’s see what happens.
I don’t see it on the Microsoft Press Store. Wanted to take advantage of the MCP discount.
I understand 🙂
Looks like it’s available at the MS Press Store now
🙁 Not listed on Amazon.in. Eagerly waiting for the book.
You’re a hard workin man, Paul. I, too, just placed the order. “Only 13 left” on Amazon as of 10 mins ago.
I just ordered the book i expect that it will be as great as all your other Material.
Thanks for the support Bob.